Thursday, February 5, 2015

A little listen in on what our language sounds like

I thought it might be fun for you to hear a bit of what our language here in North Ambrym, Vanuatu, sounds like.  Here are 3 audio files.  This first one is with Mali, who is my Tuesday language helper.  She is sharing here about the local custom for circumcision (which is done when a boy is between 8-13 years old).  The file is 3 minutes, 30 seconds.  It's just audio and I introduce the text in English.  This is me with Mali in the picture below.

Next is Jenita, one of our neighbors, telling about when Gwen and a boy were playing with a toy snake and threw it at her, and how she freaked out about it, even though she knew it was fake.  :)  (Most people here are terrified of snakes, although there are no poisonous ones here.  They have black magic connotations.)  This one is 50 seconds and is also just audio.  I introduce her short story in Bislama, the trade language that we actually know well. I'd love to have Jenita as a language helper because she is a very slow and clear speaker, but she's from another island, Ambae, north of Ambrym, and married a local guy about 10+ years ago and moved here, and I need to stick to native speakers.

Finally, here's a New Year's song (they do village-to-village New Year's caroling here so have LOTS of New Year's songs). This one is called "Yim je ne siba", which means, "We call out thank you" (for a new year). This one is introduced by me in English and sung by Elder Harry, who is part of our village family.  It's 2 minutes 10 seconds.  Gwen, Si, and I stayed up until midnight on New Year's Eve with several of the villagers and we had a New Year's carol, dance, and shouting (hip hip hooray!) time when the New Year hit.  Very fun!  I hope to know the songs by heart next near so I don't have to be the annoying person with my flashlight on, singing from my notebook, in the nice moonlight night. 



mom said...

I can sympathize with you for learning the language----It sounds beautiful, but very difficult I am sure to learn - Love you, Laura and am praying for wisdom, understanding and blessings on learning the language.

Karisa said...

It's so interesting to hear "your" language, Laura. Are there similarities between Bislama and the North Ambrym language? Also, it sounded like both ladies started by saying, "Okay..." Is that right?

Laura Thulesen said...

Hey Karisa, there are grammatical similarities between Bislama and North Ambrym languages, but no vocabulary and there are a lot more sounds in NAmbrym as well (so a longer alphabet). Yes, both ladies did say "okay" before starting, which is English/Bislama, not language. :)