So by now Kyle and I have been fully immersed in language study. Not language study in the formal sense, but language study in the “What are these people talking about sense?” Liberians speak English, but that is debatable. Listening to Liberian English is a skill. One interesting thing about Liberian English is some of the words used have all but disappeared from American English. Some of the words are strictly made up by Liberians but they somehow make sense.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Constraints: A constraint is anything that keeps you from being able to complete your work. For instance someone said to me the other day when questioned about why something wasn’t done, “You must understand my constraints.” We hear that word a lot.
Embarrassed: Embarrassment is not meant in the same way we mean embarrassed. It means more or less to be challenged by something. You can say things like, “The car embarrassed me this morning when it wouldn’t start.” It’s amazing how many inanimate objects can embarrass Liberians.
Vexed: This is a favorite word of ours. It is the word you used when anyone has really ticked you off. It sounds way nicer than other words that might get used in those situations. We like to think that just as Justin Timberlake was responsible for bringing sexy back a couple of years ago we would like to be the ones to bring vexed back to America.
Gocome: It’s as simple as this: I am going somewhere and then I will come right back. “I will gocome to the bank, ok?”
Add these to your Liberian English dictionary and before you know it you’ll be as confused as we are about what our Liberian friends are saying! We’ll add more words to this “dictionary” as they come to our mind.