Some of you know that before I left for Burkina Faso I had learned “clicks,” which are used like letters in some languages. In Jula clicks aren’t letters. They are used as sound effects, like in English. Earlier this week I learned some of them:
– The “kissing” sound is used to call your dog.
– The “knock knock” sound is used to call your dog when there is food for him to eat.
– A sound that can be made by sucking air in through your clenched teeth (though I’m not positive that’s how they make it) means “no” if done two short times.
– The same sound as above expresses displeasure if done one long time.
– Think of the “tsk tsk” sound. If you do it once, it means “yes.” I’m not quite sure how they make it, since their mouth is closed when they do it, but when I do that it sounds about right.
– The “giddy up” sound means “don’t do that.”
– No wonder I’d sometimes ask people a question and have no idea what their answer was!
Also, while I’m at it, here’s “yes” and “no” in Jula:
– “Yes” – owo. It is pronounced like ooo, with the intonation like you’d have in the phrase, “What was that?!?” Try saying “What was that?!?” with only an “o” sound and you’ll have it about right.
– “No” – en-en (though I actually don’t know how to spell it officially). It’s pronounced like “uh-oh,” but it’s “en-en” instead. You don’t pronounce the “n”s, though – they just make the “e”s nasal. If I said it you’d easily be able to repeat it, but it’s harder to explain from a different continent.