Funny African Customs: Funny Translation Results

9 months ago
7 Min Read
1661 Words



Hello people, and welcome to the Funny African Customs series! This is a series I started here on Hive/what-it-was in 2017! You can check out the previous episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. And I found out there's usually a problem with pictures when you check out really old posts so I've also brought the Steemit links for the oldest ones, here they are: 1, 2 and 3.

So, if it is not obvious from the title, this is a series where I talk about funny African Customs that I see and experience as an African (Nigerian) living in Africa (Nigeria). Every society the world over came up with different customs and ways of life mostly peculiar to them and usually the people who grow up with these customs don't see the humour in them, it usually takes an outsider from a different culture to hear it and crack up

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And usually, the person laughing doesn't realize that they have customs of their own that they don't consider funny but would double crack an outsider up.

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Well, a couple of us are broader kinda thinkers and can see our customs and understand how they would be funny to someone else, that's sort of what I'm doing with this series for African customs (but, some of the customs I'd talk about in this series are not that of my own tribe because Nigeria has so many different tribes, over 370 ethnic groups, and a brother gotta pick from groups other than mine sometimes 😊) so without further ado let's kick today's edition off!!


Edition 8: Funny Translation Results

When a group of people learn a particular language it is very common to find their native languages sneaking up on the new language they have learnt and roughing it up a little bit:

[From Facebook]

There are terms for this like 'mother tongue interference', etc. Accents are the most talked about ways this thing manifests, but choice of words is another huge aspect, sometimes a person wants to express something in a language they have learnt, they know the words for the thoughts they are trying to express but they are following the rules of their native language only changing the words.

For example, because I have been working out I have developed a bigger chest, the other day I met a guy who told me 'wow, you have a big heart.' I was touched:

[From Facebook]

Thanks for the compliment, player, the United Nations needs to hear about me so they rank me up there with Bill Gates and Mother Theresa as the kind hearted philanthropist I am.

But, do you see what happened there? I was amongst the Igbos (a Nigerian tribe), in their language the word for 'heart' and 'chest' is the same thing so when he meant to say I have a big chest due to my workouts, he let that rule of his native language affect his choice of English words leaving him with using the word 'heart' to mean chest too.

There are so many other examples of how the native languages in Nigeria has affected the choice of English words used, some of these choice of words have become mainstream and everybody understands it, but I know they can be really absurd and funny to a non-Nigerian. Let's do with 4 examples:


'You said let you come and visit us'?

The word for 'decide' in most Nigerian languages is the same word for 'said', so when speaking English it is usual for Nigerians to abandon the word 'decide' and say 'said' instead. For example, instead of saying 'you decided to eat it', they'll say 'you said let you eat it'. Instead of saying 'you decided to go' they'll say 'you said you should go'.

This can be funny when put in context, like when I decide to troll my Nigerian brethren, one time I went to visit a friend of mine and his mother who meant to say 'Nevies, you decided to visit us?' said instead: 'Nevies, you said let you visit us?' of course I knew what she meant but it was an opportunity for me to switch on troll mode so I said 'No, I never said I should visit you guys', she looked at me confused:

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Then I added 'I never said so, all I did was decide and then started preparing to come, not once during the whole period before my arrival did I say it'.

She laughed, it was funny and silly, and at the same time she was chewing hard on some food for thought because she had never thought of it like that or got that kind of reply before. (The troll life is the life, I tell you).

The remaining examples of this funny translations series can be shortened by just inserting my trolling replies, it's always such a pleasure and funny because I chose to act like I don't understand the expressions and try to take them on for their actual meanings, for example:


'The thing I use to like you' which means 'The reason I like you', as a troll I'll always cut them short and say 'yo, what other thing can you use to like me apart from your heart? You can't use your balls, can you?'


'This bread wants to taste like milk' which means 'This bread tastes like milk'. Troll me would appear with my cape and say 'how in the world did you know this bread's desires? Are you a mind reader? Do breads even have minds? How the hell did you know it wants to taste like milk? The fuck is wrong with you?'


'Do as if you're going to..'

Finally, this last one is the one I love the most, I wonder why, this is an important one to mention because this one is usually told to strangers, which includes foreigners, when you're trying to give them directions to a place.

Say you ask a Nigerian for directions to a park for example, while giving this direction you would usually hear things like 'do as if you are going to that school', which means 'move towards that school..' It is a way to use the landmarks around to give directions, just that instead of saying, for example 'do you see that school there? Move towards it and then take the first left that turns up' they'll say 'do you see that school there? Do as if you're going there, then take the first left that turns up'.

It takes a foreigner or a troll to misunderstand this thing and ask 'how does one do as if they are going to that school? Do I need to go get a school uniform or fake ID card or carry a school bag or something just to act like I go to that school so I can pass the first left that turns up or what? Why can't I just pass without acting like I go to that school? I'm new here, so I'll like to know what the dangers are if I refuse to do that, are there law enforcement officers around there who would arrest me if I pass there acting like I don't go to that school? Or are thugs or gang members stationed there or something?'

My god, I love this shit😂😂.


Roll with @nevies, I run a Humor, deeper thoughts and sex talk blog here on Hive🌚

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@tipu curate

Ah, thank you so much @tobetada😃

I can relate to this "do as if you going to school" 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Nigeria my country, so funny 🤣🤣

Hahaha! The last one was indeed the best.

This one made me wonder too:

But, do you see what happened there? I was amongst the Igbos (a Nigerian tribe), in their language the word for 'heart' and 'chest' is the same thing so when he meant to say I have a big chest due to my workouts, he let that rule of his native language affect his choice of English words leaving him with using the word 'heart' to mean chest too.

So what do you say against a woman who has recently had a breast enlargement?

Wow, you have a big heart!


Hahahaha 😂😂
Unfortunately, though, there is a word for breast. Breasts are too important to not have their own peculiar identity, I guess, the word is 'ara', I hope you get to use it on a Nigerian girl one day. Goodluck.

Hahaha! Good to know. It might come in handy, some day ;^)