Monday, February 25, 2013
Nuances of the Zanaki dialect
When a member of the Zanaki ethnic group returns to Butiama after some absence from Butiama and speaks of having visited many countries during his absence, those who do not understand the Zanaki dialect would be excused for understanding that the individual's passport bears immigration stamps from several countries.
When the word nchi [country] crops up in Zanaki conversation it actually refers to localities or villages that are close to the point of departure that do not involve crossing any international frontiers. Invariably, when an individual crosses a valley or a few valleys and crosses into the territory of another village or locality, this individual has crossed into another "country".
I recall hearing one of my cousins, having imbued a commendable quantity of brew, speaking of having traveled far and wide "to many countries" including Buturu, Mwanza Buriga, Buruma, and Busegwe; all of them villages within the vicinity of Butiama.
Sometimes what marks the boundaries of one locality from another, one nchi from another, is the territory that is identified with a particular ancestral spirit. The ancestral spirit of Butiama is known as Muhunda.
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