Saturday, February 8, 2014

Learn and speak Sesotho!

I've mentioned this before and will say it again, the children have been my best Sesotho teachers.

   Dumela! That's hello in Sesotho, the language spoken by the Basotho people in Lesotho.
   During Pre-Service Training, I was ensconced (love that word!) in Sesotho every morning and afternoon.
   I had two great Sesotho teachers who taught me the basics of the language.
   Sesotho was formed by French missionaries and different variations of it are spoken in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland. Nelson Mandela spoke Sesotho.
   It's a nice language and not too difficult to learn. I'm no Sesotho scholar but can converse with my villagers and get in and out of situations.
   Knowing the language is so important because speaking, especially greeting people, is vital to life here. The Basotho will think you're crazy if you don't greet them.
   Here are some Sesotho basics:

-Dumela (Doo-mel-ah): Hello.
-U phela joang? (U pe-lah jwong?): How are you?
-Ke phela hantle. (Kay pe-lah hant-lay). I am well.
-Ntate (In-tah-tay): Father/Man/Married man
-'M'e (MM-May): Mother/Woman/Married woman
-Ausi (Ah-oo-si): Sister/Young woman/Unmarried woman/Girl
-Abuti (Ah-boo-ti): Brother/Young man/Unmarried man/Boy

   As stated previously, my Sesotho is functional. I do speak it mainly in the village and I have to speak bits and pieces of it in school because some of my students don't know English.
   At home, I sometimes speak Sesotho with my host family because my host mother and host sister speak perfect English.
   Sometimes my host mother will speak in scholarly Sesotho, though, and I'll say, "U reng?"
   That's Sesotho for "What did you say?"

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