Saturday, April 5, 2008

Amharic Flavors in our Home

When our Ethiopian kids came to us, they were Amharic speakers and not English speakers. Sadly, their Amharic skills faded quickly. There have been a handful of words that have persisted, however, and they are used by both our American and Ethiopian children. Words such as “coy” which means to wait or “asa” which means fish are still with us. It is hard to know why these words have persisted and not others.

One word that we were hoping would fade away was “shint,” which means to go to the bathroom (number 1, if you use that language). With non-crisp English speakers, it was just a little too dangerous of a word for our liking.

Well, it has not faded. Today I was with all of the kids at a playground while Miss Bookworm was scrimmaging in a soccer game nearby. As I was talking with another parent, F.G. came up to me to let me know she had to go to the bathroom. I encouraged her to wait because I did not want to round up the kids into the car to go look for one. She said she could wait. But then I realized an accident would be worse than a car ride.

“Are you sure you can wait?” I asked.

“Yeah. If not, I will just shint in my pants,” she teased, oblivious to how she could be misunderstood.

Needless to say, I felt compelled to explain that one to the parent with whom I was chatting.

1 comment:

jody said...

That almost caused a "shintcident" here while reading from laughing so hard-haha!!