Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Twi Class

So I am taking a mandatory Twi class through my program, and our professor is a linguistics teacher here at the University, and he really seems to know a lot, which is good and makes the class really interesting. There have been a few different things that have happened throughout the class and I have been trying to keep track of some of them and thought I would share them with you all.

Today we were discussing food and the names they have and why. And our professor explained to us that food is meant to be eaten in a certain order, and when two people share a plate, there can be a crash between them because they might want to eat the same thing at the same time. Apɜsie means yam, and if you break the word down, pɜ means to like, and sie means to save, so the word literally means, you save the pieces of yam that you like. But, when two people are sharing the same dish, they might both want to save the same piece they like, so when this happens, there is a CRASH and then you have problems. The best part to this is when we just stared at the professor, and he took our stares of shock and stares of not understanding, so he went to the board and drew different pieces of yam and numbered us, and then showed how if two people both wanted the number five piece of yam, that then there would be a crash. It was really entertaining.

Also, fish in Twi is nsuowunam. Nsuo means water, and nam means meat, so fish translated to: meat in the water. Which is genius! I feel like Twi is giving me a greater realization of how crazy the English language can be.

Kyebom means egg in bread, so it's what they call an egg sandwich, something which I have become addicted to here. It's an egg, cooked up with random vegetables, and put on this delicious sweet bread It's kind of like an omlet, but no cheese. Another common food here is fufuo, which is a combination of casava, yam, and plantain that is all pounded together and generally served with soup. There are three key things to know about eating fufuo: 1) Eat it with your fingers. 2) Dip your fingers in the soup first so that the fufuo doesn't stick to your fingers. 3) Don't chew fufuo, simply swallow it after dipping it in your soup. All these are things that have taken me awhile to learn, but now that I know them, I am apparently a pro fufuo eater. This is according to my Twi professor who says that by the time we leave here, we should all be veteran fufuo eaters, and I apparently am one. Go me.

With some frequency, there are rules or ways of speaking Twi that don't really make sense. When this happens, my professor generally says “who knows, only God can know.” So when I asked where the verb went in a sentence we were saying he says “who knows what happens to the verb, only god can know!” And this was a perfectly acceptable answer. It was great. So next time your trying to learn a language and your confused about it, don't worry, only God can know why it's working that way.

Meka Twi kakra, means, I speak a little Twi. While this sentence is extremely helpful, this always makes people laugh because I probably sound ridiculous when I say it and I'm usually saying it in response to them talking to me in Twi and me having no idea what-so-ever about what they have said to me. So I tell them my one sentence in Twi and they giggle and then try to talk to me again in Twi, but slower. I generally still have no idea what they're saying.

Another fun fact to Twi, many words are spelled the same, but mean different things and are very different words. The only way to know what word the person is talking about is by knowing the context it is being used in. This provides to be a challenge though when you can't understand what they're saying.

And that is more or less my class in a nutshell. This is the last week of it, so only three classes are left, we'll see how many more new things they can cram into our brains.

1 comment:

Ben C said...

Haha, I like your story about the Yams! It sounds like you're having a really good time there, and are learning a lot of new things. Food in foreign countries is always especially interesting to me. Nice to read your blog, Greta!