Togo Languages

Teach Me Bad French Please

Teach Me Bad French Please
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I am close to fluent in the Spanish Language; however, same as my English, I learned many bad habits. I studied Spanish for three semesters in University.

Maybe 15 years later I go to Mexico and start to learn Spanish again, and while I was there, I learned to say
- Mandi -

Como is correct.

If you go to Acapulco, live in a beach 8 miles north of there called Pie de La Cuesta, all the people on the beach when they do not understand will say,
- Mandi -
Or
- Como -
What? What do you mean?

Now, I go to Spain and when I am there, and I rrrrr my R and the people in Spain point at me and laugh.
- Mexico. -

I have a Mexican accent, and as far as I know, the only country that does this rrrr thing is Mexico, and my teacher was insistent I learn. Three semesters in University and I thought was never told the whole world dos not do this rrrrrr thing.

When I teach people English, I try to teach them the bad English, for sure I teach the word Supper, they will say Dinner, then one day get to Indiana and be confused when someone says come over for the
- Last Supper. -

Making a joke, but the point is, supper is a word, maybe not sophisticated, formal, or all that elite crap, however a proper person needs to know the difference.

I want to learn bad French now, somehow or someone soon needs to teach me the bad French, so I stop. I need to stop today using some phrases I hear every day of the week from the Togo people. I am sure some are not proper French; it is not that I do not want to use them, I want to make the choice and know the difference, this is good French and this is not proper French, I do not want to learn bad habits.

It took me years to stop saying Mandi in Spanish and the truth is, when I am really rushed, not thinking, it will return, it is a habit. Habits learned are difficult to stop, I speak English the way I learned English, I will forever feel the English I speak is proper and sounds right, even when I learn 100 percent correct English, sometime is just does not feel correct.

I do not want to learn France French, I want to learn global French, I want to travel, and I do not want to live in France.

Example: Here in Togo before noon, they say Bonjour, after noon they say Bonsoir, the other day a French man walks up and says, Bonjour at about five in the afternoon to me, I am told this because it was the first time he met me. He does not speak Togo French; maybe he does not know the differences and never listened or talked with Togo people even though he lives here.

How good is my Spanish, I am not sure, but I am sure it global, I can say popcorn eight different ways.

Palamitas in Mexico
Poporopo in Guatemala
Popcorn in Panama and Peru
Pochoclos in Argentina.
Canguil in Ecuador
Pipoca in Venezueala
Crespitas in Colombia
Maiz de pira

Why, because they do not use the Spanish word normally, they use the local native language before Spanish, however how would I know that… I will forever uses Palamitas as I learned in Mexico.

Teach Me Bad French Please





Agpe Popcorn Learning Togo Ewe Language

Agpe Popcorn Learning Togo Ewe Language
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I am becoming Togolese.

That is a scary thought, I hope to take the good and leave the bad, I am sadly aware I will take a little of both.



However, the good!
Agpe Popcorn.

I do a daily stroll through the neighborhood; it is how I become Togolese. I like the popcorn they sell, I have my own personal popcorn woman, she is nice, and I claim her as my popcorn person. The other day, I almost cried, hard to believe I can say that, half way do it, nonetheless, the truth is I was so touched by this women I almost started to cry.

I thought later, I am going go take her photo and try to say those words, some dream of writing touching words that explained what I felt. I started to, and I could not, she is not for sale, she is mine, and yours.

What happened?
I purchase two 25-CFA bags of popcorn daily, this is about 10 cents US, I try to give the lady correct change because I like her, I reserve the big money for the stores I do not like.

She knows me, I know her, no words are needed, she sees me, she knows I will grab two of the clear plastic bags of popcorn and give her either 50 CFA or drop it down into the plastic tub as is the custom here. They store the coins in the tub, or under the small towels that serve as table clothes. If I cannot find the vender, then it is self-serve, I just place the coin down, and I make my change and continue on the path.

The level of honesty at this level is amazing in Togo Africa, they leave money just sitting around in the open, one days pay here, can you imagine putting 100 dollars in the coffee area at work, and this is what they do.

I do the transaction, I say,
- Merci, -

This is French, I now she speaks the local Ewe Language 99 percent of her daily life, however I do not speak Ewe so, I say in the business language French,
- Merci -
Alternatively, thank you in French.

I look at people, I do not ignore people, as I give her the money, I grab my wrist as is the custom with offering of money, semi-do a small bow, she is woman of respect, older, I must be, I just must be… I am becoming Togolese.

Then it happened!
She looks back at me, nods her head, and says,
- Agbpe -

I look around, I can feel the piercing of my soul, this women just reached inside me, I can feel her touching me.

She is saying, I am you, you are I, we are together, however now as you are my son, you should say,
- Agbpe. -

I repeat,
- AackPay -
- AaghBay -

She repeats, I try to repeat, I do not have an ear for languages, this is tonal language, and I know I need to hear it many times to say correctly, I have to stop thinking, I am to repeat the word.

She has now adopted me, she is my teacher, and I am her student, as I become Togolese. I think, and I hope she said Thank You in the Ewe Language.

There is an art to learning about people, it may be you need to be touched, and allow them to touch you.

I was touched, and life is indeed good.

Agpe Popcorn
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, June 19, 2007
06 degrees 07.155 North
001 degrees 12.598 East
10 Meters of altitude above sea level

Three-quarters of a block North of Galion Hotel, Lome Togo
Please say,
- Agpay -

Do not worry about the spelling, I hope she will correct you…

For a real treat, watch her pop the popcorn, she will very so lightly add some salt, test the popcorn, shake it, add, adjust, then test again, she makes sure the popcorn has just the right amount of care.

Agpe Popcorn Learning Togo Ewe Language





Learn Ewe Language in Lome Togo

Learn Ewe Language in Lome Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 20, 2007



Daniel the French owner of a French, Ewe etc, Language School in Lome, Togo.

The best way to learn about a culture is to speak the language, when you figure out how they talk, you slowly learn how they think, and then along comes some cultural understanding.

I found a School to study languages in Lome, Togo. I can learn Ewe, the local language of Lome, Togo, or I can learn French.

I think French is a good start, however you can choose from many languages with Daniel. If you wanted to do business in Togo, it would be a good idea to ask for help, take a quick course or a refresher course.

Daniel has been in West Africa for over 17 years and can help you find the rope to shore, so you boat does not float away.

How to find?
Say to a Taxi, I want to go the Angola Embassy, something as in Ambassade De l'Angola. Remember, they do not speak English.

Lam-Bah-Sawd duh An-Gohl-lah

When the Taxi is there, you walk about two blocks toward the central city and the office in on the left, the sign says something about Polyglotte.

IF you do not want to go to see Daniel, please say to the taxi,
- Avenua de Duisburg -

As best I can tell, not one Motorcycle Taxi driver in the city knows where this street is located. Now, if you are good, you can say,
- Kodjoviakope -

Koh Joh Vee Ah Koh Peh

This is the neighborhood, the taxis here in Lome, think in terms of neighborhood, not streets. This would get you closer to the school; one of the two landmarks will get you closer.

Ambassade De l'Angola
Lam-Bah-Sawd duh An-Gohl-lah

- Kodjoviakope -
Koh Joh Vee Ah Koh Peh



What a trip, you need to know French to go and learn French, if you are exceptionally smart, print out the business card and show the taxi driver, and eventually you will be at his door of Daniel, look for the buzzer or bell button…
http://www.hobotraveler.com/uploaded_images/207-243-ewe-language-business-card-daniel-778095.jpg

Alternative directions would be to go to the Hotel Galion, walk north away from the ocean, when you see an internet café on your right, then stop in and look around you should eventually see a sign saying Polyglotte. Or for about 90 percent of you, pull out your cell phone and call Daniel and say I am a white person standing in front of the internet Café or the Embassy or in the Galion or some landmark.

Personally, I have given up on street addresses, I know the pizza man is confused, I am confused, and the world really does not use them, so I use a land marks, like the Internet Café, the Embassy of Angola, or the Galion Hotel, one them is a good start to find the woods which is the neighborhood of Kodjoviakope.

Learn Ewe Language in Lome Togo





Gateau Batoken and Achtomon

Gateau Batoken and Achtomon
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 1, 2007



These wheat cakes are called Gateaux for many and Gateau as one. There is a little mark above the A, but I am going to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Next comes the Mina Language, I can ask for a Gateau, and the locals will try to give me what they have close to them, the word Gateau is a general word for cake, however normally here in Togo means these round things.

On the left is the type called Batoken and is smooth, and on the rough one on the right is an Achtomon in the Mina language, maybe I say Gateau Batoken if I want the left type and maybe I say Gateau Achtomon if I want the right. The truth is, I do not say either one if I can see them, I just point at the one I want, and saves many silly communication headaches. My goal is to communicate first, and learn the language second, better to be a good communicator than good in languages.

However, the problem is this, I like the Achtomon, the flavor is sweeter, and takes less like oil, more or a cake and less of a fried taste, it is my favorite Gateau here in Togo. Now, when I have a fancy for a Achtomon Gateau, I need to inquire around, because I have now learn the specific words, I can not request,

Achtomon

I suppose I could say,
- Je veux le gâteau achtomon -
Or maybe,
- Je veux le achtomon gâteau -

Complete with the little pyramid on top of the A, however I will probably just say,
- Achtomon -

Then point, or hold my palms up, and in universal language of hand talk, I will say where is Achtomon?

I like to communicate first and learn a language second.

I guess soon I will climb the French ladder and figure out what is the difference between a Gateau and a Beignet. As I see it, they both are deep-fried in oil, so I cannot say the Gateau Achtomon was bake and a cake. I saw is my favorite Gateau deep fried in the street in front of my eyes, and I like to see my cook, it makes me feel safer to eat.

I forgot, there is probably a word for Gateau in the Mina Language, I could learn that and forget my French. Would I be learning to communicate, or would I be learning a language?

Gateau Batoken and Achtomon