African English

The English used in black Africa varies widely from place to place, and often has features of the local languages. As English is often taught first as a written language, the spoken language, as in South Asia, is often somewhat archaic and florid. It is also often marked by pronunciations that stick more carefully than is normal elsewhere to the spelling of words, such as the habit of sounding the L In words like walk and calm and the b in climb and comb.
Where necessary, African English has borrowed from local languages words for local phenomena. In West Africa oga means ‘a boss or superior’ and fon a ‘chief’. Kente is the colourful cloth used to make robes in Ghana. Certain local words taken into English are known outside Africa. Bwana (boss) and uhuru (freedom) are from Swahili, though both probably originate in Arabic. Others have passed into Standard English: they include words such as safari (also from Arabic via Swahili), banana, banjo, chimpanzee, cola, voodoo, yam, and Zombic from various West African languages.
Many dialects include direct translations into English of local expressions. To enstool in Ghana means to choose and invest as chief; if you have long legs you have power or influence; outdooring is a traditional name-giving ceremony; if you are a native of something in East Africa you do or eat it often. In parts of Africa speakers have also created new expressions in English. A go-slow can be a traffic jam; senior brother is used for elder brother; and a been-to is someone who has been abroad, usually to study.
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