19 & 20/07/2017
Dear New Jersey self,
Welcome to Cape Town! The flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the 19th was interesting, educational, and a learning experience. On the flight, I sat next to a little girl, about elementary to middle school age. She wore an “unaccompanied minor” lanyard. At one point, I noticed she kept staring at me so after we were given our meal, I gave in and started talking with her. She told me she was heading back home from her aunt’s in Johannesburg because their school holiday break was ending. I asked her the usual questions such as what was her favorite class, why, what did she find easy and difficult, what would she like to become when she gets older. Interestingly enough, she wants to be a math teacher, an English teacher and one other career I cannot recall. I remember these two the most because Julie was sitting next to me and she wants to be a math teacher so I had them talk for a little bit.
Afterwards, that’s when the little girl and I really talked for the remainder of the flight. She told me she speaks English, Afrikaans and Xhosa (a click language). I asked her to teach me some words in Afrikaans and Xhosa, and it was wonderful to see how excited she was. In Xhosa, I learned ndaim (me), wena (you), unjani wena? (how are you?), nde pleleu (I’m good), undathad na? (do you love me? PS-This is the phrase I have to constantly repeat to get the pronunciation correct), aiwe (yes), unu (no), and lala pa (sleep there). The process of her figuring out what to teach me was interesting to watch because she not only was unsure where to start but also how to spell the words. It felt hopeful that she focused more on love in translation, especially when she became more excited once the idea popped in her head. It is possible that love drives and motivates her global perspective! Next, she taught me the colors in Afrikaans because she did not know the language as well as Xhosa. The order in which she learned languages was English, Xhosa and Afrikaans. Here is what I learned: rooi (red), wit (white; pronounced as vert), pink as pink, geel (yellow but pronounced with a saliva-driven sound), oranya (orange), blou (pronounced as blue), pres (purple; sounds like pehrse), groun (green; sounds like rhul), and bruin (brown; sounds like brrain). Some of the sounds she introduced to me sound like some Western European sounds which makes some sense given the language’s history. After colors, she taught me some phrases in Afrikaans.
-Ek en jy = I and you
-Ek is lief vir my ma = I love my mom
-Hoor is it = How are you?
-Goet = Good
-Baie dankie = Thank you
After this Afrikaan and Xhosa lesson, I taught her the basic colors in Spanish and I was just pleased to hear that she did not have much trouble pronouncing the words. The only word she struggled a bit was anaranjado for orange, but I appreciated that she starred the word so she can practice more. It was just a wonderful experience overall because we were exchanging languages in such a comfortable, no pressure space. I am so glad I gave in to her staring at me so that I can practice what I would like to do in life and also so that she walks away with new knowledge. I am sure we both got something out of that small encounter! To think this happened on the flight alone!
Continue reading “Welkom by(Afrikaans)/Wamkelekile kwi (Xhosa)/Welcome to (English) Ikamva Labantu”