05 August, 2009

Liberian English

In Liberia, the lingua franca is English. There are lots of tribal languages that people speak, but English is the common language you can find all over the country. While not everyone speaks it, most do, but you might not recognize it-oh. You see-oh, the English in Liberia-oh is not the same-oh as in the U.S.-oh. One thing-oh is that they add -oh to the end to a lot of words. Like hey-oh would be a common greeting. Or yeah-oh a normal response in the affirmative. But, the addition of an -oh on the end is not the only difference in Liberian English, it's just the easiest one for an American like me to imitate.

I came across a video where a foreigner in Liberia recorded a Liberian guy talking on the phone to another Liberian. You see, the foreigner couldn't communicate with the Liberian on the other end due to the accent, so there's a Liberian using his phone to communicate what needs to get across. Click on the link to watch it on youtube and see if you can understand anything. I've been away from Liberia for too long, because I can only pick up a few words here and there.

If that one is a little too difficult, maybe start with a couple of sisters who tell their story of moving to the U.S. from Liberia. Their accents aren't too heavy, but I'd guess most people still won't understand a good bit of it. Plus, it's kind of interesting to hear people's thoughts on Liberia and their initial thoughts on coming to the States.