As I turned to leave Ibondo village, I realized I’d forgotten to pray for the interns I was entrusting to Matayo for the weekend. So I turned to the preacher and said (in Swahili), “I want to pray for these guys before I head back to Geita.” Continue reading
Tag Archives: language
Yesterday I mentioned my frustration with (what should be known as) Mothers’ Day being touted as Mother’s Day. That’s just wrong. Now, in that day belonging to Saint Patrick, the apostrophe shall come before the “s.” The same with Lincoln’s Birthday. But when our intent is to celebrate mothers everywhere (plural), clearly the holiday should be referred to as Mothers’ Day. On this I will not budge.
“So,” I thought to myself, “how many of our other holidays have been ruined by poor punctuation?” Well…here’s a list* to at least get us started: Continue reading
This post is not about Vampire Weekend, though to answer their question it’s me who
gives a cares a great deal about an Oxford comma. In fact today’s entire discourse is about commas. Well… commas, grammar and syntax and sentence structure. Do you see what I did there? I left out the serial comma and the contents of this post are not quite so clear, are they?
The Oxford (or serial) comma is the comma which appears immediately before the coordinating conjunction in a list of three or more items. You can see it below in red.
Ex.) My favorite animals are pumas, unicorns, leprechauns, and books about turtles. Continue reading
A short but significant reminder to put into practice the words of God.
The Seven Deadly Sins in chart form to show what happens when they “crossbreed.”
You should breathe into your stomach, you should squat while pooping, and a list of five other things you’re not doing correctly.
Use your mouse to control the sun. [That's kind of a funny sentence.]
Since we’re on the subject of photography, these images are pretty remarkable.
Any fans of Bottle Rocket in the house? There’s got to be. This awesome fan-site has recreated Dignan’s 50-year plan for all to read. The larger site is worth looking at as well. And if you’ve not seen the movie, you’re really missing out.
“One morning, over at Elizabeth’s beach house, she asked me if I’d rather go water-skiing or lay out. And I realized that not only did I not want to answer THAT question, but I never wanted to answer another water-sports question, or see any of these people again for the rest of my life.”
If you’re a fan of linguistics, you’ll really enjoy this site. If you’ve ever wondered what percentage of Americans pronounce mayonnaise like you do, you’ll enjoy this site. If you say “vinegar and oil” instead of “oil and vinegar,” you’re definitely in the minority. And if you don’t call it a firefly or a lightning bug — but instead a “peenie wallie” — then you are just plain strange (and probably from Wisconsin).
image courtesy of heavenawaits
[I'm building a small soccer field in my back yard. We moved a bunch of dirt around to make the yard level. Then we added manure and planted grass. The grass is growing, but it'll be three or four months before we can play on it, I think. But that's all besides the point -- just a little aside.]
Five Tanzanian guys helped to plant the grass on the soccer field; and we got it all done in one day. Christie and I wanted to feed the guys a good Tanzanian meal, so we asked Margaret to cook for the guys — and to cook something they’d really enjoy. She did. And the guys anxiously awaited lunch.
Once we were all washed up and the food was set out, we decided to pray. Not all these guys are religious, so I asked Kulwa (a Christian) to pray before our meal. After some discussion as to whether he should pray in Sukuma or Swahili (Swahili was decided upon), he bowed his head and began by saying:
Translation: ”We should thank him (or her).” Or even “Let’s thank him (or her).”
See that little ‘m’ towards the beginning of the word? That’s a direct object marker; it tells us we’re thanking a single person (or being, in this case). Kulwa could have said, “Tumshukuru Mungu,” and it would have been a very specific, “Let’s thank (him) God.”
But the him is assumed when preparing to pray, right?
Not if you’re Oscar, one of the other guys in the group — one who was not so accustomed to praying before meals. He heard, “Let’s thank him/her,” and quickly responded aloud, interrupting Kulwa’s prayer with an emphatic, “Thank you, Margaret!”
We all had a good laugh. [Except maybe Kulwa who possibly thought Oscar's comments sacrilegious.] In the end, though, God was thanked, Margaret was thanked, the guys where thanked, and I’m going to have a beautiful (yet small) soccer field.
Also, it’s always a good idea to thank both God AND the cook for the food.
I was out for a run this morning and passed a group of guys building a fence. One of them obviously wanted to practice his English and called out to me, “Hey, man.”
I responded with, “Good morning.”
Then, in a really strange cadence, he offered:
“You… are. Making exercise.”
“Well, yes, I suppose I am making exercise,” I mumbled, probably already out of earshot.
Although, if you ask me, making exercise sounds like a really poor colloquialism for the marital act. Of course, it’s not any worse than that one.
- it can’t be vulgar* (you guys don’t know my brother…).
- it can’t be written in such a way or about such a topic that will get me in trouble with my mission supporters.
- it can’t be about climate change. [Take that, Canadians.]
- it can’t be sympathetic to the Canadians. [My brother is definitely a Canadian-Sympathizer, with his rowdy Canadian friends, his love of hockey,* and his phony French accent.]
This will be the first guest post ever on my blog. I know those of you who have been reading for more than a couple of days are really excited. The day, should my brother accept my invitation: Sunday, April 18th.
* This is a late edition asterisk, only added after my wife corrected me, saying I shouldn’t make people believe that my brother is vulgar. He indeed is not.
** This is another late edition asterisk, added after my brother corrected me, saying he prefers the good Canadian sport of curling to hockey. He did not, however, correct me concerning his being vulgar.