Continuing with the joys of working in an office environment, have you noticed at times you switch in dialects and language when you just want to make a point? For instance , a colleague of mine has just got back to work from being ill. So I asked how she was and on her answer, I responded with “Puele, o… Maa fara le!” (“Take it easy”) I then realised she had no idea what I was talking about, but I guess she got the gist that I was sympathising with her.

I’ve made a list of common Yoruba and pidgin words that I’ve thrown about in work which the English Language just doesn’t do justice in it’s delivery. So, here are my favourite keywords that make there way in work:

“Oya, oya, oya o!!!” (“Come on, come on!!”)

“Wetin you wan?”

“Ogbeni, Faara buruku baale!” (“Dude, calm down!”)

“Ah-ah?!?!?” (A favourite expression by Nigerians the globe all over)

I’m sure I use more, but can’t remember. How about you guys?

It’s the start of the Autumn music season and in the past couple of day’s, I’ve covered Regina Spektor (not my kind of music, to be honest!) and Brian Wilson (A living music legend! Beach Boys, anyone?) Tomorrow might be The Go! Team, but that’s left to be seen…

On a sadder note, Jazz legend Joe Zawinul died earlier today due to skin cancer. He was 75. For those of you who have no idea who he was, he performed on the Miles Davis classic, Bitches Brew, and also formed Weather Report. Joe Zawinul’s last performance in the UK was at the Jazz Cafe and I was honoured to take pictures of the gig. He was truly a profound musician and will be sorely missed.

The late, great Joe Zawinul performing at the Jazz Cafe, March 2007:


9 thoughts on “Niaja Lingo at work

  1. It’s so funny when my co-workers begin to say it as well. Here’s wat i’ve corrupted em wit:

    ay yaa!
    a beg
    come now
    wat iz dis?
    abi o yo ni?
    come on, will u gerrout of eh ?
    but why (optional addition: now)?
    nonsense and ingredient
    and so therefore…?

    i hereby confess 2 my razzness.

  2. My pet pidgin phrases only creep into conversations when I’m frustrated in a hurry or expressing anger. Years of my mum slapping pidgin English out of my mouth while growing up has left me paralyzed in the mouth somehow.

  3. I didn’t mean that literally… she didn’t really slap me on the mouth to the point of paralysis. She never slapped me. Being an English teacher she was very particular about grammatical correctness. She didn’t tolerate pidgin as a result I can’t speak it without sounding like I’m trying too hard to speak it.

    God I’m rambling here

    *get a grip on yourself!*

  4. And surprise… though when I’m surprised I just shreik “eeeeee!” loudly.

    I guess extreme emotions pretty much covers every instance I might have the urge to speak pidgin.

  5. I saw Regina Spektor live a couple of months ago, and for the first time in my life I walked out of a FREE concert! Mind you, I love her music, but listening to her live was no different from listening to her album while lying down on my bed. It was completely and utterly dry.

  6. Brian Wilson is a legend and a musical genius – would’ve loved to be there – love your photos of him though, especially the monochrome – for me it captures a quiet weariness layered over a still-sharp and resolute mind – and that’s how I always think of him for some reason…

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