Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Obolobo, obolobo

I learned a new word yesterday. I was leaving the library in Madina. It is at a teachers' college, and there was a long line of young teachers blocking the driveway. Kwame, the taxi driver, shouted at one of them to move. "Obolo," he said, and added something else. Well, I knew the word because I was introduced to someone earlier, and he was described as "obolo" which means, "fat person." I said to Kwame, "That is mean to call her that." But he said no, it wasn't an insult, he just said, "Fat girl, get out of the way" in the local language, twi.

I guess it isn't an insult - "fat" still means you are doing well, apparently. We ran into that in Uganda, where "fat" was really a compliment.  But I'm not so sure - as Bill said when I told him about it, we should ask a woman if she thinks this is a compliment.

But honestly, "obolo" (said o' bo-lo') is so much fun to say. I told Kwame that, and he said, "If a person is REALLY fat, you say obolobo." Now, that is even more fun to say! O'-bo-lo'-bo!

There are lots of words in twi that are fun to say - it is a tonal language rather than accented, like ours. I hope to run into a really fat person soon so I can say Obolobo!

1 comment:

  1. You better get all you obobo oboe playing obobololeo name calling out of your system before you get back here!
    I miss you come back before you learn any new words!