Es i ke?

Es i ke? is a valuable phrase. It means, “What is this?” Portuguese Creole is a very interesting language, and fun to learn, but it is a little confusing because of similarities with other languages we know, including French Creole and Spanish. I keep wanting to use words from Spanish that don’t work, like cuando and pronto, but I should say kal ora and gosi instead. In Saint Lucian Creole, ka comes before the word to denote progressive, but in Guinea-Bissau Creole it goes before the verb to mean negative. For “to know” I keep wanting to say sabi (in French Creole the verb is sav), but I realized today that when I was saying n ka sabi I was actually saying “I am not tasty” instead of “I don’t know.” But our language teacher and other interlocutors are very nice and patient and don’t laugh at us.

Yesterday (Friday) we had an outing with our language teacher Joel to the nearby market, to practice some phrases we learned and to buy a few little necessities. This picture is of Joel talking with a friend at the market. Yesterday we also recorded, wrote down and studied a monologue Joel gave us about a certain fascinating Balanta rite of passage that we observed. Now we have also recorded, written down and studied two folktales, one about Rabbit and Wolf and one about Monkey and Goat. Before we leave Lendem, we want to be sure to write down another text that we recorded Joel saying, about how rice is grown.

We didn’t have electricity all day, but they turned on the generator at 6:00 and so we have it for a few hours. I’m writing this on Saturday, but it won’t be able to get online until Sunday. But we are not having a problem with a shortage of water. This is the rainy season, and we just have to put a bucket outside to catch the water coming off the roof.

About David Frank

descriptive linguist, linguistics consultant, translator, editor
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2 Responses to Es i ke?

  1. Pingback: Church in Lendem | A Frank Look at Languages and Cultures

  2. Pingback: rice culture | A Frank Look at Languages and Cultures

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