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Nigeria – "Whatem You Do?" – Common Activities in Eastern, Rural Nigeria

When you remember that Nigeria was a British Commonwealth until 1960, then you can understand why a form of British English is used as the common language that ties the peoples of more than 200 dialects together. That form of English is called pigeon English or broken English so says Joy, a native Nigerian who has lived in the Houston, Texas area of the United States for around a dozen or so years.

She grew up in the town of Nsukka in the state of Enugu in the eastern side of Nigeria.

If you were to travel to this rural area – you might hear this question: “Whatem you do?”

Translated it means: “What are you doing?” You also will hear the Ibo dialect.

“Whatem you do?” to the beautiful girl with a Bible on her head and a baby on her back.

“I’m walking to church.”

“Whatem you do?” to the man working with cement blocks.

“I’m building houses to rent.”

“Whatem you do?” to the mother harvesting cocoyams and pumpkin leaves.

“I’m making fufu (soup) for our evening meal to go with our rice.”

“Whatem you do?” to the children running around laughing.

“We’re playing hide and seek.”

“Whatem you do?” to the friendly, smiling people walking everywhere.

“We’re walking to where we need to go. We have no money for bicycles or cars.”

“Whatem you do?” to the visiting family members walking inside the doors of someone’s house without knocking.

“We come to visit and eat and visit and eat and visit some more.”

“Whatem you do?” to the teenagers who look like they are probably doing nothing.

“Nothing.”

If you are an American and decide to go to Nigeria, be sure to check with the U.S. State Department regarding safety, required documents, immunization requirements, business scams, and other important information including what you need to do if you need any kind of assistance.. “Whatem you do?” Be safe and enjoy a different culture! And verify your round trip ticket as soon as you land.

This article is copyrighted 2008 by L.L. Culbreth. You may freely use it but only in it’s entirety and only with the resource box attached.


Article Source by Linda Eagle Culbreth

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