Sunday, October 31, 2010

maliza, maziwa, zaliwa

At this time I have acquired enough Swahili vocabulary that some words blur together in my mind. For instance, the words in the title of this posting sound alike enough that I have to concentrate in order to use the correct one: maliza, maziwa, zaliwa respectively mean to finish, milk, and to be born.

Lately, I have also noticed having to pay particular attention to nguvu, ngumu, nguru which mean strength, hard, and kingfish.

It is as though I am in a kind of vocabulary soup that is thick enough that I am no longer just a beginner, but still too rich for me to handle with ease.

Turning the situation around, though, Tanzanians struggling to learn English have it worse. I recall one of the workers at our school trying to hear the difference between wet and wait. Kiingereza ni ngumu sana (English is very hard). -Earl

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