Title: كتاب و كتاب الاعمدة من صحف الصادرة فى جوبا. قراءت جيدة
Author: Zakaria Joseph
Date: 30-03-2013, 07:35 PM
الصحف الجنوبية تمتلك اقلام مبدعة باللغتين, الانجليزية و العربية و صرت من الذين يواظبون على متابعة الكتابات الابداعية فى بلادنا.
هنا اقدم لكم الصحفية و الكاتبة المبدعةايوم وول ضال و التى تكتب فى نيو تايمز الانجليزية. طبعا تغليف الاشياء و تجميلها لا يجيدها حتى المثقفين فى الجنوب. الاشياء كما هى.
ايوم فى هذا العمود تكتب هن ظواهر لغوية جنوبية:
New vocabulary for new republic
Guess what! Did you know there’s a Juba word for non-serious girlfriends?
I am a relatively old lady with a very traditional English education. As a result, I am often irritated by usages which are either ugly, or simply sound wrong to me as they contradict the rules I was taught, way back in the last century. Particular pet hates of mine include the new and hideous verbs ‘to friend’ and ‘to unfriend’, which describe the process by which a person becomes a Facebook friend and subsequently the way a Facebook friend falls from favour and is redefined as being no longer a friend -an unfriend, in fact.
I fight such conservative tendencies, due to my real love for the dynamism of language and my awe of the creativity of ‘ordinary’ human beings as they bend it to their needs. Never believe that there is a ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ form of English. What really matters is the way we speak it here and now.
One of the things I love about language is the way it constantly adapts in response to historic and cultural changes. Many versions of English have developed around the world, as a result of its interaction with either local languages, or with the ways its speakers live. Examples include: ‘Chinglish’, (English interacting and mixing with Chinese- see also ‘Spanglish’ which refers to various mixtures of English and Spanish, and ‘Franglais”, English and French); ‘Txtlish’ (English interacting with habitual SMS users who are trying to reduce the number of characters they use); and ‘Jafaican’ (the Jamaican-influenced London English which is so successful that, bizarrely, even very rich white youths can be heard speaking it).
Languages develop naturally as the result of change. South Sudan is in the midst of the most extraordinary changes imaginable and I feel we should start noticing and celebrating our unique new English. Indeed, now is the time for us to reinvent the language to suit our needs. One way to do this would be along the lines of: write a concept note; wait for an international partner to identify consultants to produce the feasibility and inception reports (who must then employ local consultants to tell the international consultants what needs to be in those reports); sit while they schedule consideration of the project for the next inter-agency strategic and program planning workshops (in 2013 and 2014); pray while they identify funds for the funding round 2015-2018; etc, etc, etc. No, as I believe in self-determination and I know we South Sudanese certainly do not lack capacity in talking, we should just get on with the job ourselves.
Below, I list twenty terms which describe aspects of life in the new Juba. These terms come from a variety of sources: some, my friends and I have heard in the course of work and personal interactions, some I made up myself and one was invented by my mother Dr. Christina Abuk, a very clever and funny woman. I have included some phrases which are traditional, on the sole basis that I really like them. Some have their origin in Juba Arabic or Dinka, which are now mixing very thoroughly with English. One originates in the West African diaspora, but is included because it is irresistibly fitting to our situation. The loose rules governing selection are that the terms should be: descriptive; efficient, i.e. shorter or more specific than alternate terms; and/or funny. In case of a clash, the last characteristic over-rules all others. I would suggest that the developing language should be called ‘Jinglish’, though readers may have better suggestions.
I wish to emphasise that this is a humorous piece and contains no allegations against any particular person(s) or organisation(s). However, those who are familiar with my previous writing will know that there is usually a serious underlying point. In this case, that point is that humour and mockery are powerful weapons against those groups and individuals, such as corruptees, exploitative organisations and fraudulent nationality-seekers, working against the best interests of our nation. Should any reader feel they recognize themselves in certain of these definitions, perhaps they should take this as warning that their misdeeds are no secret and that offence is being taken by many of those who observe them. To my readers, use these weapons well and aim them accurately and fairly.
baby beny (noun phrase) Mocking term for a younger close relative of a high-ranking member of government, who despite having no job is regularly seen driving/crashing cars with GOSS plates, living the high life and intimidating low-level service industry personnel with the phrase ‘do you know who I am?’. Usually expects to be accorded the security status, respect and in-service benefits which are rightfully held by the illustrious older relative. Although the term is part Dinka, it is applicable to people of all ethnicities who fit the bill.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012
bamba (noun) Juba term for a mistress or non-serious girlfriend. Derives from the Arabic term ‘bambara’, meaning a lightweight stool with a loosely-woven wire seat, often used in outdoor kitchens or backyards. Suggests that, like such a stool, the lady in question is inexpensive, lightweight, convenient and can easily be put away when no longer needed.
Source: Juba traditional, reported by C Kivy, 2012
bintoo (noun) Pejorative or mocking term for a Diaspora or IDP returnee, in particular one who adopts a boastful and sometimes dishonest attitude towards their exploits abroad and seeks to impose, on their native land, features of their adopted nation. The word is a contraction of ‘been to’, as in ‘I’ve been to places you have not and therefore I know more than you do’. It appears that this term is of West African diaspora origin; however, it is so appropriate for present-day Juba that it merits inclusion here.
Source: reported to Dr. C Abuk, London 1990s
briefcase INGO (noun phrase) Pejorative term for an international NGO which retains such a high percentage of donor funds for its own staff and structures that this appears to be its core business. As in “an INGO that needs to come with a big briefcase, so that it can take away all the money”. The phrase is a riposte to the currently popular phrase ‘briefcase NGO’, meaning an NGO with no local constituency or actual programing, set up largely or solely to attract funding.
Source: local NGO member (name withheld to protect the little funding available), Bahr El Ghazal 2012
Dining Class (noun phrase) Humorous and mocking term for the beneficiaries of the proceeds of corruption. Derives from the verb ‘to eat money’. May be further subdivided to indicate the scale of the misappropriated sums involved, eg: Rakuba Dining Class, indicating low-level diners who have taken so little they must still eat in local rakuba restaurants; Expat Dining Class, indicating mid to high level diners who can afford to eat in expensive, expatriate-oriented Juba eateries; and Serena Dining Class, indicating diners who have taken so much they barely have to stay in Juba at all, and are instead more likely to be found in 5-star hotels in Nairobi, Kampala and beyond. Care must be taken not to confuse the Dining Class with diners who actually work for their money.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012
footing (verb) To travel by foot, as in ‘I am going footing’. This term is part of an honourable tradition of terms for foot travel, which includes another of my favourites, the wry Nigerian ‘Legedez Benz’, as in ‘what car do you drive?’ ‘A Legedez Benz’.
Source: unknown/Juba traditional
gong gong gong Mocking Juba term for the sound made when women with a grown-out and unwashed hair weave knocks her knuckles on her head to relieve an itch which is too deep under the false hair to scratch. Anticipate this usage will rapidly shift, to refer to any woman with such a weave.
Source: modern Juba, reported by C Kivy, 2012
infant soldier (noun phrase) Mocking term for a young man, typically one trying to impress ignorant foreign girls, or a prospective rap star, who claims to have been a child soldier, despite the fact that he is much, much too young to have fought in the war. Often associated with a claim to be a ‘lost boy’, despite never having been involved in any of the tragic overland child exoduses which gave rise to the term.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012
insile (noun) Respectful term for a person who remained in their native land throughout conflict, famine and hard times and was never in displacement or diaspora, ie the vast majority of South Sudanese. Derived from the word ‘exile’, in order to provide a brief term to balance and contrast with it.
Source: Dr. C Abuk, London 1990s
International Relationships, qualification in (noun phrase) Humorous term for the qualifications which might be said to be held by commercial sex workers, particularly those specializing in servicing the UN/INGO market. Can further be sub-divided to indicate the market level at which such workers function, eg: high school diploma in International Relationships (low-end worker, perhaps based in Jebel Market); first degree in International Relationships (mid-level worker, perhaps specializing in the hotel trade, may be ostensibly employed in another service industry, such as hospitality, which affords access to potential clients); Masters (or perhaps that should be Mistress?) degree in International Relationships (high-end worker who may be accommodated in an expensive hotel or apartment, or be the temporary ‘girlfriend’ of expatriate or wealthy local clients, may be ostensibly employed as an office worker or sales rep, occasionally graduates out of the sector altogether with the help of a visa and wedding ring). The sector is marked by extreme fluidity as talented students may readily upgrade their qualifications and those with personality or substance abuse issues may quickly regress to Jebel Market. Modules of such a qualification may include face-to-face marketing, manual dexterity and vehiclular services.
Source: unidentified commercial sex worker (and one clearly in the wrong job), Juba 2011
job inflation (noun) term for the process by which one’s professional qualification is automatically upgraded in conversation, eg a nurse being referred to as ’dictor’/’dictora’, a construction worker becoming an ‘engineer’, etc. Related to the term ‘honorific creep’, describing the process by which, say, a Director may have business cards describing them as ‘Honourable’ so and so, and the way people persist in calling high status individuals ‘Excellency’, despite the fact that the term is properly applied only to a head of state or an Ambassador.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012
Kussii (noun) Juba term for the bottom of the range Toyota Harrier, given to a young lady as a reward for engaging in illicit relations with a wealthy man who is not her husband, though her performance of the act does not merit the gift of a more expensive model. Derives from an Arabic term for a female body part usually involved in such relations.
Source: traditional Juba, reported by C Kivy, 2012
miraya maafi (noun phrase, Juba Arabic) A deeply unappealing and sometimes very rich man, who insists upon chasing ladies who are significantly more attractive than himself. Derives from the suspicion that such a man must lack a mirror (miraya) and thus have no idea of how he actually looks. As in: ‘I’m so sick of that man hitting on me even though I tell him ”no”’. ‘Which man?’ ‘The miraya maafi on the left’.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba, 2012
mith apuol (noun phrase) Juba term for an expensive V8 vehicle. Derives from the Dinka phrase for ‘the children are well’, implying that the possessor of said vehicle (of whatever ethnicity) is doing well.
Source: modern Juba, reported by R Mogga, Juba 2012
native (noun) Offensive term used by some diaspora returnees (see ‘bintoo’ above), to describe all South Sudanese who were not in diaspora (see ‘insile’ above). The term derives from the colonial British usage, where it was used to describe the subjugated indigenous peoples they were exploiting. It came to be associated with the supposedly uncivilized nature of such subjugated people and thus served as a justification for their exploitation, which was said to be in the best interests of the ‘natives’ (ref ‘white man’s burden’). The word ‘native’ actually means a person born in a place (eg Tony Blair is a native of the UK); thus, its use by locally-born bintoos is nonsensical and betrays a regrettable lack of application to whatever educational opportunities they were afforded in their countries of refuge.
Source: a group of mean young ladies, who should know better, overheard in a Juba place of entertainment, 2012
on the road coming (prepositional/locative phrase) Mendacious or wishful phrase used by Juba professional drivers to explain to delayed customers where they are when asked why they are 45 minutes late for a pre-arranged pick-up. The term may in fact be of Ugandan origin, as the majority of Juba taxi drivers appear to hail from there.
Source: unknown/possible imported Ugandan usage
Somehow/somehowly (adjective) descriptive term for the speaker’s state of mind or well-being, the Juba response to the generally rhetorical question ‘How are you?’, as in ‘I am somehow’. Clearly this is not a new word, but its use in this way is new to me, and is most appealing and a little wistful. The phrase is a nice compromise between actually telling the questioner how one is, as in ‘I have a slight headache, my shoes are hurting, I hate my job and my love life is going nowhere’ (always the wrong answer), and simply lying, as in ‘Fine, never better’. ‘Somehow’ sits between those two extremes, is brief and is very useful.
Source: unknown/traditional Juba
Ugandese (noun) Juba term for a Ugandan person (cf the less often heard: ‘Kenyanese’).
Source: traditional Juba usage
wewe (noun) Disparaging Juba term for Swahili-speaking foreigners, the use of which is often extended to include all East African foreigners, as in ‘those wewes over there’. ‘wewe’ is actually the Swahili word for ‘you’, and it is thought the local usage came about in response to the sound of spoken Swahili, which uses the word frequently.
Source: traditional Juba
you are who?/inta minu?/een nga? (salutation) the traditional Juba telephone greeting used by people who call your phone and do not greet you or identify themselves, but rather ask YOU who you are. Found in all known South Sudanese languages; English, Arabic and Dinka examples are given above.
Source: traditional Juba
We at New Times know that Junubin are creative and like to laugh. We are sure that you will have other suggestions, not included in this introductory listing. If so, we invite you to submit those words/phrases, together with their definitions, to: [email protected] or [email protected] . Your suggestions should be either commonly used in South Sudan, or new words you have made up to describe phenomena which are as yet un-named. They should not simply be phrases taken, unchanged, from other countries (eg Sheng). We would be especially interested to hear of new words from outside Juba