Did you hear about the rat that speaks English?

Posted by Chineme on Saturday, October 20, 2012 Under: Just for laughs
As we go along in the adventure of passing on the Igbo language to our children, with all the attendant challenges, we get quite a few funny incidents. Our children were reading their Say it in Igbo collection recently and  came across the word 'oke oyibo'. Knowing the words oke and oyibo separately, they decided to interpret so the conversation went like this:

Children:(excitedly) Daddy Daddy we now know what oke oyibo means

Daddy: M hmm kedu ife oputa (what does it mean)? 

Children: A rat that speaks English! 

Daddy: (After recovering from spasms of laughter) Kedu ife kpataa unu ji kwuo otua?

Children: Oke means rat, and you always say 'a suzinalu m oyibo' which means stop speaking English to me.                 So oyibo means English. Therefore, oke oyibo means that the oke speaks English.

After the laughter came the teaching on rules of Igbo translation...as much as could be taught to a 5 and 4 year old.
For the record, in Igbo language, the word oyibo is used to refer to anything foreign or associated with non-Negro race. So if someone says 'obodo oyibo',  it means foreign land, usually beyond the African continent.  So rodents like guinea pigs and rabbits which are not indeginous to Igbo land would be called oke oyibo meaning foreign rat. However, because of the colonization of Nigeria by England, with time, the word 'Oyibo' became synonymous with English.

More recently, Igbo land experienced the entrance of a new species of rodents known as Oke Belgium. Can you interprete that? 
Yes, you are correct, it means Belgium Rat. These tiny rodents are believed to have been transported in shipping containers along with used vehichles imported into Nigeria from Belgium.

Whoever said Igbo language is boring?



In : Just for laughs 


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