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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Common Namibian phrases

I was thinking about all the funny sayings I've been hearing over and over since I've been living in Nambia. I thought I would share a few with you all:

  1. I am coming just now - this actually means a person is leaving and will be back in anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours to a lifetime later. It took me until about last week to fully understand what this statement meant.
  2. I am telling you - as mentioned in a previous post, this saying makes me laugh everytime. I've heard it used a lot in story telling as well as informing me about the latest gossip around town.
  3. Neh - a common expression. I especially notice it when I'm talking with someone on the phone. "yes, this is Pamela, neh" However, I haven't incorporated it into my vocabulary.
  4. Full Stop - this is a phrase learners use in the classroom when talking about a period at the end of a sentance. I've also heard it used in the context of dumping a girlfriend or boyfriend: "I put a full stop on him"
  5. You must help me, do this for me, come with me, etc. - I noticed this phrase right away, because I've always used the word 'must' when something is a little more urgent or needs to be done right away. I thought things in Namibia needed to be done in a more urgent manor until I realized many people do not use the word 'should' or 'could'
  6. Is it?! - this phrase is used about every other sentence. "I love your outfit" Is it?! "I went to the beach yesterday" Is it!? you get the picture.
  7. Now Now - I didn't quite understand this one at first too, but I find myself saying it all the time. It simply means right now or hurry up. I often hear it in the context of "I am coming now now" Which usually means the person will be there within a few minutes.
  8. My dear - this is one of my favorites. All the women in my office will be telling me a story, "I am telling you my dear..." I think this one is so sweet :)

I'm sure this list will expand as I pick up more of the Namibian lingo. It's truly fascinating to me because I love hearing expressions and the context they are used. Also, sometimes I don't really pick things up until I talk about it with fellow PCV's and we recognize the phrases that are used over and over.


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