20 July 2011

The Turning Head that Also Swims

La tête tourne.  That is to say, my head is swimming!  I have no idea yet how the Hausa say it.

It's 3:30 in the morning and I've woken up, unable to sleep more.  Normally, at times like this I'm feeling prompted to pray for someone in particular . . . but this morning . . . nope.  I have Hausa conjugations racing through my head!!!


Ni né
Ni ki
Ni ka
Ni ta
Ni shi
Ni mu
Ni ku
Ni su


The worst part is, I don't even know if they're right.  I think it's kind of the 'to be' conjugation, but just when I think I've got it right, my tutor tells me I'm wrong.

But even, now, as I'm skimming my notes from the last few days trying to make sure that this verb-mantra running through my kai (head) is correct, I find it does me no good as I am typing in English and my notes are in French.

Maybe it's the wee hour . . . maybe it's the fatigue . . . maybe it's the humidity and red connect-the-dots that have become a permanent fixture on my arms, abdomen, and back . . . but in this moment of weakness (and much to my shame) I find myself cheering for the American cultural value of monolingo-ethnocentricity.

MY LANGUAGE CORTEX WANTS A HOLIDAY!

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