How many of you like to play games? As I sit with my language helper, I feel like that’s often what we’re doing. I try to get him to understand something without using one of our shared languages, or he tries to get me to understand without using one of our shared languages. Sometimes it feels like the game “20 Questions.”
In the fields near my house in “white people’s land,” farmers grow corn and _____.
You can eat it.
Women sell it here in plastic buckets.
It is triangular-shaped.
They sell it for 100cfa (20 cents) each.
It’s like meat, but it’s not meat.
And, after giving my clues a few times so that he understands them well, he correctly guesses: soy=tofu! (There is one word for soy and tofu here.) It helps when I know enough of the culture here in the city to be able to give him relevant clues. I get a bit disappointed, though, since in this case the word in My Language is just borrowed from Jula and French. I guess I could have skipped the game and just used the word I knew. Oh well, it was good practice in using My Language, anyway. And now I know that they just use the French/Jula word.
Onto the next game . . .