Friday, April 8, 2011

Angola - Moçambique: Tão Bem Palavras


Mozambique: REFRESCO
Angola: GASOSA

In Angola, gasosa also means a bribe. It took me a little while to understand that. For a long time I just thought guards wanted me to buy them a drink. Only later did I realize they were asking for money. They also ask for phone credit or "saldo" when they want more money than just a gasosa.

Foto: Mozambique

Mozambique: BACELA

A bacela/esquebra is a little something extra you get for free when you buy something at the market. Kind of like a baker´s dozen, but for all kinds of things: fruits, vegetables, little candies.

French: CADEAU
Louisiana: LAGNIAPPE

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. Some things in Africa are so specific to Africa that even when you know the word in your own language, it doesn´t sound right. It sounds better to use the African word. A
capulana in Mozambique is never a wrap or a cloth. It is always a capulana. Except in Angola, where it is a pano.

I´ve had to re-learn words I had used in Mozambique. Here is a short list of words that are different in Mozambique and in Angola.
It was difficult to make this list because there are so many different languages in Mozambique and Angola, and my intent is not to make a list of Tsonga, Shangaan and Kimbundu vocabulary. I wanted to focus just on those words that are common enough to be the same throughout a country. This Online Portuguese Dictionary was very helpful for giving the background of some of these words. I´ve also included some of the words in Swahili and French. I welcome any additions from other countries. What is a candongueiro called in French-speaking Africa? How do you say machibombo in Swahili? Leave a comment if you would like to add to the list!

Foto: Mozambique

Angola: PANO

Mozambique: CAPULANA

The word pano may come from the French word for the wrap. Capulana comes from Tsonga. Women all over sub-Saharan Africa use these wraps for a myriad of things, but each culture makes it their own. Kangas from Tanzania usually have Swahili proverbs printed on them. The women in Angola tie their panos in a different way to carry their babies than the women in Mozambique.

French: PAGNE
Swahili: KANGA

Foto: Mozambique

Mozambique: PASSADA

Kizomba seems to have more difficult foot steps than passada, but the music and beat are the same. The word Kizomba comes from Kimbundu.

Foto: Angola
Angola: LAVRA
Mozambique: MACHAMBA
The word machamba probably comes from Swahili.
Swahili: SHAMBA
Foto: Angola
Angola: FUNJE
Mozambique: XIMA
Mealie made from corn flour, this is the staple food in both countries. Funje may be slightly different from xima in that it is also made with mandioc flour, but then, I think I remember seeing xima made with mandioc in Mozambique too.

Swahili: NSIMA

Foto: Angola
Mozambique: PIRI PIRI

Hot sauce.

Foto: Angola


Mozambique: CHAPA

The word candongueiro comes from the Kimbundu word candonga, or contraband. Chapa is Portuguese for a piece of metal, like the type used in roofing.This is what Tyree uses to get to work in the mornings and what I used as a Peace Corps volunteer to get around Nampula.
Swahili: DALA DALA
Foto: Mozambique
Mozambique: MACHIBOMBO
A bus, as opposed to a mini-bus. Brazil: ÔNIBUS
Foto: Angola
Angola: BUÉ
Mozambique: MANINGUE
Both bué and maningue seem to mean ´very´, except bué is more often used with verbs, ex. fala bué, speak a lot. Maningue seems to be more often used with adjectives like the classic maningue nice. Saying maningue in Angola will signify that you´ve spent time in Mozambique. Bué probably comes from Kimbundu, no one seems to know where maningue comes from.
Foto: Google
Foto: Angola
Mozambique: MALÁRIA
The Angolan use of the word paludismo may be an influence from French.


Carly said...

This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing these vocabulary differences. Nice photo of the bus! I remember this crazy guy :-) So much fun!

Erin L said...

I love your blog, Heather! Very cool. You guys have a nice apartment - far cry from Monapo. :)

Dawn said...

You should check out the lingo section of my website,

One other one that got me was matope and lama

Heather Leila said...

Hey Dawn! I´ve totally seen this page before:

I just didn´t know you were the one who had written it! Very cool. This post will probably get a following up with more words.