Recently I was in a village in my people group, and they were giving me some words and expressions in their language. One of them was “What is your name?” In their language it’s something like [vujisinindele]. But when we asked how you’d respond, they said that you could respond with the phrase, “My name is ____,” but they didn’t tell us how to say that. Instead, they said that you could also say, “Why are you asking my name?” and they told us how to say that – something like [gwelebi anainewiingli].
It shows a bit of culture, doesn’t it? Here, names aren’t nearly as important as in the US. I had a friend that I had known for probably a year, and she came over to spend time with me and my neighbors several times a week. When we finally exchanged numbers, I still didn’t know her name so just saved it as “the girl who comes over all the time.” Since she was a friend of my neighbor/friend and that’s how I got to know her, I asked that neighbor/friend what her name was. She thought for a bit and then said that she didn’t know either. In the US, could you imagine having a friend for a year and still not knowing their name? There are other people that I’ve known for longer and still don’t know their names. Here, if you have a title for someone or something that you call them, you don’t need to know their name! For example, there is the lady I call “the Yoruba lady (from the Yoruba people group),” another I call “Sylvie’s mom,” another I call “the owner of the rice” (since she sells rice), and another I simply call “Aunt.” And for me and them, they function the same as names.