Akwano Acholi i Makerere

I’m almost in my eighth week of learning Acholi at Makerere University.  I can form simple sentences and understand bits and pieces of what people are saying on the street.  I however underestimated how much my accent would hinder Acholis from actually  understanding what I am saying.  I am using the correct words, but I seem to have the wrong tone down. My language instructor keeps reminding me to go down with my voice if I speak in past tense and go up with my voice if the sentence is referring to an action taking place in the present tense.  So, ‘Abedo i Munyonyo, is either I stay in Munyonyo or I just came from Munyonyo depending if I go up or down with my voice.  For now, I just point up or down depending on what I grammatical tense I am trying to achieve, which makes me look like a complete dork.  There is no way around looking like one when you are learning a new language. From now on, I will be extra extra extra forthcoming with anyone who speaks heavily accented English…no more crinkling up my brow, and saying Whaaaaaat?

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