Kenyan English

Today I am in South Horr, day 16 of 23!

I’ve really enjoyed getting to experience Kenyan English so far. One of my favorites is the way that the phrase “yes, please” is employed here. It can serve the same purposes as it does in the States, but is also much more versatile. When a waiter is taking your order, they ask for it by saying “Yes, please?” Then, if you ask a favor of someone, an appropriate way to respond to this request is by saying “Yes, please.”

Also, in addition to driving on the left and fries being called chips, the language here is a constant reminder that Kenya used to be a British colony. Take my weekly Swahili class for instance.

As anyone who’s taken a foreign language can attest to, it’s fairly inconvenient that in English, we don’t have a word for you (plural). While Spanish has vosotros/ustedes, French has vouz and German has ihr, there is no real equivalent for English. I’ve heard “you guys”, “you all”, and “y’all” said in my language class as ways of communicating the you plural. In Kenya, when teaching that concept, the equivalent phrase is “you lot”. Cheers!

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