Friday, March 11, 2011

Language Misadventures

Haketo, no hablamos Bamanankan...

Anna and I originally thought we were in for a heavy dose of French before we came here, and maybe would learn greetings, and basics in an African language.  Surprise!  We are learning Bambara (Bamanankan) from the deep end of the pool.  It is fun, but hard.

Needless to say, there have been some amusing mistakes we have made, let me share a few of those with you:
  1. Anna introduced herself as my husband to a group of approx. 100 people at the end of a church service- there were hardy chuckles.
  2. I informed my host family that I recieved a Namasa (similar to the word for bicycle), and wanted to ride it to school.  My family said they didn't understand and told me to repeat it.  I did; that didn't help.  Namasa = Banana
Language pitfalls to avoid (it is only a matter of time before I say these):
  1. "Where are you from?" -->becomes--> "Where is your poop?" if you change the order of one word.  I don't recommend this as a way to get to know someone.
  2. There are two words for hand, for some bizarre reason "hand-washing" changes to "circumcision" depending on which one of them you choose...  Riddle me this.


  1. Oh, I know how it feels to get confused with certain terms/words in a different language...It can be so embarrassing! What a wonderful experience, though. I am so happy for you two. Stay safe! Life is good :) Meytal

  2. George and Anna
    I would totally say the wrong thing repeatedly--especially with those terribly awesome slips available. Freud would have something to say about the development of Bambara if things seem to lead back to the penis and poop. Love you guys lots keep the posts coming!
    Erin and Craig

  3. George please post photo of the banana ride to work!

  4. ha- ha- ha! I just read this post to my husband and we laughed & laughed out loud, . . .seriously, we found this information absolutely hysterical!

  5. Oh my goodness...this is hilarious! Anna and George, I had NO idea you were doing Peace Corps in Mali, but I am SUPER excited to keep up with your blog. Gros bisous et bonne chance! Vous êtes vraiment incroyables!!!