mind your R’s and L’s

the rwandese people (and purportedly most east africans, though mossi will have to confirm) find it particularly difficult to differentiate between the phonetic /r/ and /l/.  they interchange them.  (much like the hungarians interchange /v/ and /w/, as in: i’m wery happy to be vith you today.)  this makes for some minor frustrations as an english teacher.  my students pray football and play god.  they study fiscal raw.  they eat a lot of lice.  and not only when they’re speaking either.  they swap their R’s and L’s when they write – homework, tests, compositions, even in kinyarwanda, even their own names.  i have one student who sometimes calls herself florence, sometimes frolence.  another is biroli and, from time to time, bilori.  when my sister was here, my student rugira/lugila wrote a note on his homework: thank you teacher and gleet sala for me. 

all good and fun.  until today.  today, in the teachers’ loom, my colleagues discussed the rwandan national erections.  yes, like us americans, whose erections make the daily news even here, the rwandans will soon erect new lepresentatives to government.  all rwandan citizens who are of age are lequired to participate in these erections.  in fact, the government has announced a national horiday so that everyone can make it to the polls.  september 15th.  malk your carendals.  erection day.

~ by aliciawolcott on September 11, 2008.

5 Responses to “mind your R’s and L’s”

  1. supa funny. nice work.

    question: is anyone challenging pk? will regal plastic bags be legal once more?

  2. there is an opposition party, albeit small. i saw them caravan-ing through downtown kigali the other day, waving green flags and singing and cheering and (some of them) hanging out the windows of buses. lots of positive excitement.
    however, i’ve heard tales of the last election (which was presidential- this one is only district leaders and mayors and stuff). ID cards were confiscated, if you didn’t vote you were put in jail, and if you voted for the opposition party you were put in jail as well. the RPF (ruling party) has been holding mandatory-attendance political rallies all month, where they show mtv videos on a big projection screen and give away free t-shirts and hats and flags. can you imagine instead of going door to door to urge people to vote, throwing them in prison if they didn’t? hmm. anyway, gonna lay low tomorrow just in case.

  3. scarlett johansson is apparently in rwanda today learning about hiv and aids prevention. or maybe she’s teaching it, i didn’t read the article thoroughly. she’s that girl from “lost in translation” and “in good company.” did you see “in good company?” i just love topher grace.

  4. yes, but have you seen ‘the guardian’? amanda’s mom loved that one.

  5. touche.

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