Daily Archives: July 30, 2011

My Return to Sierra Leone: Krio

My return to Sierra Leone was remarkable. Happily, my anxiety about what I’d experience thirty-five years later was for nought.  I’m still mulling over the best way to communicate the whole of it.  In the meantime I’m going to do some posts on various things that triggered memories for me. Say Krio, the common language of Sierra Leone.  There are many different tribal languages as well as English, but Krio is a shared language pretty much everyone uses.  When I lived there I used it at the market, when chatting with friends and neighbors, when bargaining with a taxi driver, and so forth. It was a language we Peace Corps Volunteers loved, filled with lovely phrases, expressions, and words. But when I returned to the US I had to use them silently as Americans would have looked at me oddly if I’d voiced them. Eventually, they drifted out of my mind as I never heard them or used them with anyone. Thus it was heavenly to hear Krio again, to have those wonderful words and expressions come back to me, and to begin using them myself.  Here are a few favorites (and since these are phonetic as I’m remembering them, I may be getting them wrong — anyone reading this who can correct me, please do in the comments):

    • Salone — what everyone calls Sierra Leone
    • Kusheo  — Hello
    • Aw de bodi? — How are you?
    • Osh yaa — That’s too bad/sorry
    • Usai you de go? — Where are you going?
    • Aw fa du — Oh well/what can you do?
    • Du ya — please
    • Gladi — happy
    • Pikin — child
    • Padi — friend
    • Palaver — lots of talk about something
    • Vex — angry
    • Sabi — know
    • Tif — thief
    • Tenki ya — thank you
    • Ah de go — Good-bye


Filed under Africa, Learning About Africa, Sierra Leone