My East Africa, Madagascar & other wildlife photos

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Meaning of Wife

Well, we have day 42 of my trip, yes, but I'm not going to talk about Hitchhikers and Galaxies. This is about languages.
Swahili. Or KiShahili as they call it in KiSwahili. It's a Bantu language totally unrelated to any of the Indo-European languages I'm familiar with.
And through the way people speak other languages you learn about the intrinsics of the other language. By the mistakes Tanzanians make when they speak English.
Swahili does not discriminate. It treats people equally in the language. There is no lion vs. lioness. Just 'simba'. And also the 'general' word (lion) is not also used for the males. Languages like English and even more Dutch make the males more important that way. No equallity.
Well, in KiSwahili there is no difference between girlfriend, boyfriend, his, her or husband and wife. So you can hear a guy saying about a girl's husband 'his wife', where it should be 'her husband'. Not bad, I can understand them. Just confusing at times when they talk about wives and stuff. Already happy that some actually speak some English. My KiSwahili is still not 'safi' at all.

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