Keep your t’at off my t’ut!

In two weeks I have my LPI (Language Proficiency Interview), and if you haven’t guessed from my previous posts, Amharic is ridiculously difficult. At the time of the interview we’re supposed to be at the novice-high level. Which means I have to be able to make simple statements about my family, age, address, weather, time, and daily activities: check. Be able to converse with someone using appropriate language for a café and marketplace setting: check.

Have a good grasp of the basic vocabulary for days, months, numbers, articles of clothing, body parts, and family relationships: umm no. These things may sound simple, but they are ridiculously difficult to remember. So sometimes we create songs to help us review : )

mäsïkäräm, t’ïk’ïmït, hïdar, tahïsas, t’ïr, yäkatit, megabit, miyaziya, gänbot, säne, hamle nähase, p’agume: the names of the months, set to the tune of Yesterday by the Beatles. Hard to believe, but it actually helped!

I also have to know at least 100 nouns and verbs in their appropriate contexts: awesome. Begin to know what’s expected of me in simple social situations: easy enough. And perform two tasks from the intermediate-low level. Since I can already initiate and close conversations appropriately and introduce myself, I’m not worried about that last one. It’s just this damn vocab!

And it doesn’t help that sometimes the vocab is just too hilarious to take seriously. T’at means fingers and t’ut means breast, so naturally, Morgan combined them in a really useful sentence: Keep your t’at off my t’ut! Also, fingernails in Amharic are yäïj tïfïr…but the literal translation is my arm toes…ergo, I’m going to touch you with my arm toes. And yäkänïfär wädag means lover…but the direct translation of yäkänïfär is my lips. Really Amharic, really? Oh well, I have really awesome people in my class, and let’s face it, we’d all probably have a breakdown if we didn’t waste time on things like this:

After all, we did have 6 ½ hours of language training today. And now I’m exhausted. It’s going to be really great to move to site and not have class anymore! Only 17 days until swear-in and I become an official Peace Corps Volunteer!

July 31, 2012


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