09 October 2006

it's a special talent

I just walked down the steepest, tiniest set of stairs I know of, perfectly capably. My feet landed on each step. I did not fall. I did not stumble. I am not a clutz!

Then I took three steps on the solid surface at the bottom, stepped on the side of my foot, twisted my ankle, and fell against the wall. This takes skill, I tell you.

Yesterday the Liberian intern from my summer job called me at 5:23 a.m. just to say hello. And to chastise me for not emailing him. Of which I am, in fact, guilty. I haven't emailed anyone. I INTEND to, almost daily, but it doesn't seem to happen. But I was honored and touched (I am far too young to be using those words in combination) by his spending money he doesn't have to call me.

Then I started thinking (once I actually woke up, hours later) about Liberian English, having just heard it, and how it really isn't just dropping off the ends of the words, even though that is how it is generally described. Educated Liberians do not drop off the ends of the words and yet their accent is still distinctly Liberian. Which made me think about what it really is and I realized that even though I don't know much about Southern US English, from what I know of it, I know that it appears in Liberian English. For example, my name turns from Muh-REE, which is what everyone here says, including me, to MAH-ree, which I actually like better and which sounds distinctly Southern. Really the whole point of this story was that I like the way my name gets skewed in Liberian English. That's all.

1 comment:

Joy Hancock said...

In Liberia, I learned to answer to "Jo-whey" with stress on the 2nd syllable. I was surrounded by kids, so I can't remember how the adults pronounced it.

Hey, it was better than being "Joey" which is how my south carolina friends pronounce it.

Nate was Net
Andrew was On-drew--emphasis on first syllable.
Sarah was Sear-ah--emphasis on first syllable.

This summer when I was visiting, they gave me a Liberian (Kru) name "Tanneh" --so I had to listen for a completely new name.

Have you seen the Liberian-English dictionary on-line?

Find link to it here: