Whatever the cultural context, it’s important to know how to talk about the human body. However, knowing anatomical vocabulary is perhaps especially vital in pastoral Ngakarimojong-speaking communities, where animal products constitute a crucial part of the local diet, and where the consumption of certain types of meat in certain settings can carry great spiritual and cultural significance. Furthermore, as in other cultures, body parts can crop up in popular idioms, phrases and folktales.
- Napeikisina (She of the One Breast) is a popular knife-wielding villain in the narrative traditions of the Jie people, and some oral traditions identify Napeikisina’s atrocities as the impetus for the migration of the ancestors of the Jie from southwestern Ethiopia to northeastern Uganda.
- amaran kang (my rib) is used by men as a pet name for their romantic partners.
- If you’re very frustrated with a friend, you might ask them angrily, “Itiya akonkou-a?!” This means, “Is your head working?”
- The term molokony is used across northern Uganda to refer to a popular delicacy consisting of the shins, knees, ankles and feet of goats and cows, which are boiled for extended periods until all of the tendons and other tissue have become soft and edible. The meat is then often served with soup and cassava.
Etobolait/ngitobolai: prominent bone in the ankle
Akeju/ngakejen: feet or legs
Nginerin: parts of the body
- If you’re seeking another way of questioning someone’s intelligence, try “Itiya-ete ngakondam-a?” or, “Is your brain working?”