Like most countries, Namibians have created their own version of English – commonly known as ‘Namlish’. Recently, I have found myself using some of their expressions and know that if I was here much longer, they would stick. Here is a guide to some of the words/phrases that Namibians use on a regular basis.
|howz it?||common greeting|
|I’m coming now||I am coming right back|
|Is is?||multiple uses . Can mean ‘really?’, ‘what?’ ‘are you sure?’|
|what what||used when listing things, instead of saying etc. For example: “Once I got my diploma and what what, I can get a job.”|
|somehow||Not sure of the meaning but it is used ANYTIME, thrown into any sentence and can mean anything. For example “I am feeling somehow better?” or if you ask a learner how their weekend was, they will respond with “somehow”.|
|This side/that side||When giving direction, left/right, north/south/east/west are not used. It all boils down to “this side or that side”|
|Time is running||used when they want someone to hurry up|
|Are you having…?||used instead of “Do you have…” For example: “Miss, are you having your camera today?”|
|running stomach||diarrhea – and kids have no trouble telling you they have a running stomach and have to leave the class|
|paining||hurting For example: “My head is paining.”|
|Can you help me…?||Can I borrow? The kids are constantly saying “Can you help me a calculator?” or “Can you help me $1?”|
|fall pregnant||to get pregnant accidentally|
|How is the morning?
|This is a direct translation from Rukwangali and means ‘how are you this morning?’|
|That learner is not serious.
|Whenever a learner is acting up or fooling around, the teacher will say this|
|Can I go and relieve myself?||Classic line used when the kids want to leave the class to go to the washroom|
|now now now||When the word “now” is repeated three times, it means it will happen immediately. For example, “The bell will ring now now now.”|
|now now||Sometime in the near future|
|now||Possible it will happen at some point. For example “I am going to town now” probably means it isn’t happening anytime soon.
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