Friday, August 18, 2006

A Funny Language...

Myspace Mood: Curious

Kuma ku bu sta? (How are you, in Portugues Creole)

We have spent a good deal of the last few days trying to get a handle on the language here, and we are making good progress, so I thought I'd let you know a little blurb about it!
Portuguese Creole as nearly as I can tell is the language that the natives learned from the Portuguese colonists... so it's like portuguese lite, lol. It uses a slightly different pronounceation than portuguese, which is a bit different than spanish. Words that end in "o" are pronounced "oo". "S"'s are usually (but not always) pronounced as "sh". But a ton of the vocab is very similar to spanish. For example, the most common response to "how are you?" is "sta bon" (long o - I'm not sure of much spelling since we're really learning to speak it... and even if I was sure I'd be wrong since the language isn't defined anywhere, so no one can really argue that you're spelling it right or wrong, hahaha). Anyway, sta bon is just esta bien. The main greating also came straight from portuguese, but like the rest of the language has been "creolified". So the greeting is "kuma ku bu sta" - kuma is como, the k in ku is que, bu is tu, and sta (though it's pronounced shta) is esta! Interesting, huh??

But now, are you ready for the best part of the whole language??? NO CONJUGATION!!!! The verbs are never conjugated, and there is a simple prefix for past and future tense! So, the verb "to go" is bai. N is I. So, "n bai" is "I go". The prefix "na" makes it future and the suffix "ba" is past. So, to say I will go (or I am going, no difference), it's just "n na bai", and in that case you smash the "n" and "na" together and just pronounce it "na bai", holding the n longer - sweet, huh?? The language is very imprecise, it relies a ton on context. And, if you literally translated it word for word it would sound like a little kid talking, lol. But, all of this makes it easier to learn! We already know enough to greet people, take a taxi, and buy stuff!

Emily and I still have a ton to learn, but we're feeling more comfortable with it everyday. I get to teach my classes through a translator, and Em's classes are conducted totally in English, so we will be fine if we don't have the language perfected when class starts in a few weeks. We're interested to be able to talk to our neighbors though, so we're working on it!

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