Last Wednesday in my Jula language class we worked on learning numbers. Now I could count up to the 1000s if I thought about it really hard and had a really long time.
You would think that if you knew the numbers you’d be able to count money easily. But no, it doesn’t seem to work that way in Jula. If something costs 1000 CFA (about 2 dollars) and you are told the price in Jula, they won’t say 1000. Instead they’ll say that it costs 200. You always have to take the face value of the money and divide it by 5 to know what to say in Jula. That also means that when I was at the market asking how much the cucumber cost and I was told “30” in Jula, it didn’t mean that it cost 30 CFA. Instead it cost 150 (30 X 5) CFA. From there I get to divide by 500 to get the price in dollars. The cucumber that cost 30 in Jula and costs 150 CFA (that’s how much money I needed to give her), cost about 30 cents. At least the dollar amount is similar to the Jula number amount, but it’s still a lot of thinking.
One more thing – here in My Country the prices of some things are set and you’re supposed to barter for other things. To say, “I understood what you said the price is, but I think it’s too high. Can you lower it please?” you simply say, “Barka.” I got to try it the day after I learned that and I wanted to buy nice flip flops for church. I didn’t know if the price was set or not and I didn’t want to pay the whole $1 if it was too high of a price. So I said “Barka” and the man said that that was the final price. I was so happy to see that “Barka” actually conveyed the message I wanted to give that I happily paid him the 500 CFA, or $1, which would be called 100 in Jula.
The word “Barka” in itself means “blessing,” I think. But it’s used to try to get someone to lower the price in this context. You can also say “Barka” after a meal to the cook to say thanks for the meal.
If you aren’t confused by now, congratulations! I hope you enjoyed your little peek into the world of learning that I’ve entered.