Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silly Little Lingo

This week for some reason, more than ever, I am coming to realize that the linguistics of Zimbabwe have crept into my family’s repertoire when we haven’t been looking.  Our conversations have adopted a number of quirky words and phrases that flow so easily off our tongues that we rarely notice anymore. When we first arrived on the continent, words like “tortilla” and “bathroom” got confused stares. Now certain words have entirely dropped from our vocabularies and we find ourselves Africanizing our language without even realizing it. As the locals would say, “Shame, eh.  Shame.”

lost the plot or loosing the plot= loosing it (They sound so similar, but here “loosing it” often gets a blank stare!)

I was so chuffed!= I was so excited!

Roties= tortillas (Impossible to find in the country until about a year ago, now they are in every grocery store!)

Bin= garbage can  

Rubbish= garbage

Make a plan= find a new way, go another route

Aish or eeish= yikes, zowie

Izzit or Wazzit (linguistic stress on the Zs)= is it, or was it

Pampers= a word for any and all diapers

Toilet= bathroom or restroom (I used to cringe at asking for this, and now it’s the only word we say!)

Sweeties= suckers (Not to be confused with sweets, which are any candy.)

Veranda= porch

Sorry= oops (One often says “sorry” to a person if they see that person drop something or make a mistake.)

Till= cash register (This one is unique, as most Shona seem to have a hard time saying the word.  Locals will often say the word as it looks, but the Shona pronounce it something like “Tee-oh.”)