Tag Archives: language


My friend Mimi remarked that every time she sees the word “faranji” she can’t help thinking about the Star Trek ferengi. You may know from previous posts that “faranji” is what expats like us are called. Nik asked me a … Continue reading

Posted in Ethiopia, Expat experience | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Mathain va

Having proven myself unable to learn Arabic and Amharic, why would I think I could learn Gaelic?  Consistent failure doesn’t stop me from trying. About 60% of people in the western isles speak Scottish Gaelic. The highest proportion of Gaelic … Continue reading

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“Ishee” is a word in Amharic.  When spoken, it is usually followed by a sharp, audible intake of breath for emphasis.  Although sometimes it just sounds like “ish”.  And sometimes it’s just the breath. Ish or ishee means something like … Continue reading

Posted in Ethiopia | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Tongue tied

Here’s an important fact about me.  I think of myself as a fast learner.  I expect to be good at things, and so learning new things is fun.  The corollary to this is that I avoid tasks that I think … Continue reading

Posted in Ethiopia | Tagged , | 1 Comment