§204 Kindergarten, sleepy, Africa

August 3, 2008

Yes! We finally received the kindergarten papers! Both kids in the same kindergarten this year. Starting September 1st! Woohoo!

I’ve been disgustingly tired all day. On the way to work I fell asleep with my head hanging out in the aisle, so the man who sat across pushed my head back. At least I didn’t fall asleep on the one who sat next to me. On the bus home I sat and fell asleep again. As I almost got home I heard someone say “Tuvia!” It was Jerusalem Gypsy who sat across and laughed at me. We talked about her latest blog posts. She’s not going to do the reality show thing. Could’ve been quite funny though… Me laugh.

Now I must study. And comment some blog posts. And shower. It’s hot outside. After one day I feel disgustingly disgusting.

Efraim’s birthday was great, anyway. One of the things I did with him (done it before) is to watch Lion King songs on youtube in various languages. Hebrew, Swedish, English, French, German, Zulu, Arabic, Norwegian, Danish. Lately I’ve discovered this multilanguage thing. You can type the name of any well known Disney song (including ALL of the songs in the Lion King) and add the word “multilanguage” and you get clips that talented young people with a lot of spare time have made. The Disney songs we grew up with in all kinds of languages – the same clip, but change of language every sentence. Sometimes with full subtitles, and sometimes only stating which language it is. It’s incredible. And it’s a great way to show the kids how many different languages there are.

Of course only around 20 different languages are represented each time. Not much against all 5000 languages there are… but still.

Question of the day: Which language is it you hear at the very beginning of “The Lion King”? You know, that African chant when the sun goes up? Is it Kiswahili? Zulu? Setswana? It can’t be Xhosa, I’d recognize the click noises… I know there are some click noises in Zulu too, but they’re more rare there. Anyway, I’m getting a bit off track. Or am I just trying to show off my sad little piece of knowledge of African languages? It’s a bit silly and hypocrite of me I think. I mean, if an African knew as little about European languages as I know about African I’d see him as an illiterate. Are we western people expecting others to know more about us than we are ready to learn about them? (Americans, you don’t have to answer that, we already know you do that).

I just realised I haven’t finished my blogs with an italic comment in a long time



  1. study? tonight? really? I don’t think you’ll have time for that.

  2. Muahaha! I did have time! True, I was in the shower when you wrote above comment, but I was in bed before you and had time to study for a full 10 minutes!

  3. If it is the same chant as I remember “Woza, oh woza” then it is Zulu

    Think its amazing that you expose him to so many different things, different worlds, more parents should do what the two of you do, incredible.

  4. Yep, SanityFound is spot on – it’s Zulu. And I agree with her on you as well! Keep on making us a better world.

    Don’t worry about not knowing African languages. We have 11 official languages in South Africa alone. That excludes the standard nonsense we talk.

  5. Oh, cool. In that case the Zulu version of “Circle of Life” is the most genuine and correct one. But I thought those savannahs with lions and elephants were more around Kenya-Tanzania where people speak Kiswahili and stuff. Do you have those typical african attributes (lions and elephants) in South Africa also? Or is the Zulu language more widespread than I thought?

  6. Interesting – because a lot of the other “african” words they use in The Lion King are swahili, right? Hakuna matata, for instance.

  7. And “Simba” and “Shenzi” too – it’s all Kiswahili. But all the background chants are in Zulu. I’ve done a little more surfing about this since I wrote the post.

    BTW, Kiswahili is Swahili in Swahili. It’s impressive if you use it. And it’s more correct. It’s like saying Svenska instead of Swedish, Ivrit instead of Hebrew and Amharinya instead of Amahric.

    The Bantu languages in Africa use mainly prefixes rather than suffixes, even to create plural and many other grammatical forms. Kiswahili is the name of the language, and if you change “ki” to something else it becomes something else (maybe the name of the original tribe who spoke it or the area, I don’t really know). Anyway “swahili” is only the root, not the entire word. An interesting thing I heard about this is in another Bantu language, Setswana (and compare the name of that language to the name of the country Botswana. For some reason, that language has never been called “Tswana”). The word “sekole” is borrowed from english and means “school”. But to make plural and say “schools”, it becomes “dikole”.

    My source is the book in Swedish “Språken och Historien” (Languages and History) by Tore Janson, ISBN 91-7263-323-9

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