Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Language school- Day 12

Today started out pretty rough. The last two days have been spent attempting to master a concept I still don't understand, especially don't understand it's relevance, and am so discouraged about. I'm sure it shouldn't be this hard, but for some reason it is. Ba Mwiinga's wisdom today was this:

You're like someone who's taken up boxing. In the beginning, you get punched all over. In the end, you at least learn to defend your face!

I've been taking a lot of beatings these last couple of days, but I know it's mainly because we are getting down to the intricacies of the language. The more complicated it gets, the more my brain fights me. BUT. 

There was redemption at the end of the day. We started talking about a certain word, that led us to how that word is most often heard as a name now, and then we had so much fun dissecting Tonga names. To me, it's totally fascinating. Here are the most common names around here (I know oodles of people named all of these names. They are akin to John in America.) and their literal meanings. 
Nchimunya-- the same (given when you've had many of the same gender and then you have another)
Chabonwa-- we see you (you are welcome here)
Busiku--born in the night (someone born between 22:00-24:00hours)
Chipo/Chipego-- gift (you're a blessing to us)
Milimo--much work (born during a time of great busy-ness, like harvest time)
Michelo-- of fruit (the parents had to see a traditional doctor prescribing wild fruits or roots to get pregnant with this child)
Mainza-- rainy season (someone born during rainy season)
Chimuka-- you are late (a baby that comes after due date)
Chilala-- you overslept (another name for an overdue baby)
Twaambo-- many stories (everyone was talking or gossiping about the events leading up to your birth. Usually a pregnancy before marriage.)
Mapenzi-- in trouble (born during a time of trouble in the family)
Malilwe-- much crying (born when someone has just died)
Lweendo or Nzila--born while on a journey
Choolwe--lucky, blessed (usually a child born after the parents thought they couldn't have any more children)
Mutinta (my tonga name!)--in the middle (the only girl in a family of boys or vice versa)
Luyando-- love (a promise between the parents to love each other, like this child is a pact between them)

None of these names are gender specific, which I also find interesting! Anyway, it was fun to work with all of those and a welcome break from predication of demonstratives! 

I continue to feel so grateful to have this opportunity. I've already seen so much growth in unexpected places, but I also know I have a loooong way to go! :)

1 comment:

  1. ❝Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.❞ Today's blog described a rough and difficult road but your companions are teaching you the way.
    : )