Monday, 11 July 2011

Learning Palaka

When my classmates and I were living in tents for the last 5 weeks, the vast majority of our time was spent learning a foreign language and culture. For me and 3 other students, this has meant studying the language and culture of the Palaka people in the Ivory Coast. As our "language helpers", we had a couple who lived and worked among the Palaka for several years. It was a lot more difficult than I expected and at times quite frustrating, but it was a good experience for me.

Recording my language helper as he explains in Palaka how to make a fire

Listening and editing the sound files

Phonetic transcription of the recordings

Entering transcriptions and translations into the computer

Taking part in a "cultural event" (meeting a group of women on their way to fetch water)

At the marketplace

This sure does look like I am dancing ...
( ... but I have no idea what I was doing there!)

It's not so easy to ride a bike in one of those outfits!

Making a fire

Greeting the women who arrive with the food

Singing a Palaka song

The song we sung on the last photo was a Christian song that was written by the Palaka people. It was extemely hard to memorise at first, but now I can't get it out of my head. A phonetic transcription of the song might look something like this:

jɛˈsax pəˈtɛŋɡɛ ˈzʲɛzuˌkɾi nɨŋˈɡ͡be wǔˈsɛɾɛˌna

no̞ˈtɛ w̤aˈpɔ̃ weˈpɔ̃nˌkitiˈkʷɔ̃ jeˈnajo̞

zʲeˈzu wuˈkujo̞ wɔkaˈpɛlɛ kame̞ˈna

jɛˈsax pəˈtɛŋɡɛ ˈzʲɛzuˌkɾi nɨŋˈɡ͡be wǔˈsɛɾɛˌna

Here is the English translation:

You must believe on Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.
Otherwise, when He comes, you will be judged.
Jesus died for our sins.
You must believe on Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.

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