Linguacultural Lessons from the Jula of Odienné: Exploring Côte d’Ivoire’s Northwest

Lesson #1: I jatigi ye jɔn ye? Who is your host? There were two major reasons I traveled to the north, and neither of them involved getting stranded in a dirt field.  As I looked down at my map, I realized I had miscalculated. Odienné’s tiny airport was about an hour’s walk to the city… Continue reading Linguacultural Lessons from the Jula of Odienné: Exploring Côte d’Ivoire’s Northwest

How to Learn Nouchi like an Ivorian

“Le bon wé pour caler son djê” (the right way to get your money)

On dit quoi? At first glance, Côte d’Ivoire’s colorful argot can be difficult to decipher. Some call it a dialect, some call it a creole, while others may consider it a completely different language. No matter which way you see it, you’ll certainly hear it spoken in Abidjan and many other parts of the country.… Continue reading How to Learn Nouchi like an Ivorian

That One Time I Got Arrested in West Africa (and my first experiences of culture shock)

I. Silence Speaks Louder than Words It is 2AM and I am sitting barefoot in a white plastic chair. Behind me, two men, armed with shotguns, tower in silence. An old man sits across from me. He stares at my face, then at the items on the table, and then he stares back at me… Continue reading That One Time I Got Arrested in West Africa (and my first experiences of culture shock)