Thursday, April 13, 2006


(Submitted in partial fulfillment of a certificate course
in Urban Linguistics. )

Mtaa Polytechnic- Ask for plumber

The yuppie looked me in the eye. Potash isn't street Philosophy an oxymoron? Maybe. Philein Sophia has to remain the priviledge of mabepari and denizens of ivory towers. The literati.
Potash, I charge thee stick to the Picaresque Narrative. It befits your proletarian idealism, Robin Hood.
Aiih kizee...

Did I mention I speak fluent sheng?
"Sheng is bad news for those interested in upward mobility"
Upward? I can only go as far up as the marijuana-smoke ceiling. The literati? The last thing I read was the label on the can of Napshizzle.

The next day. Digolos. Rock-O, gaffs...nini...nini...

The lawyer she look me in the glazed eye. Potash your english is evidence of good schooling.
Ofcourse it is. Education cannot be imparted in the vulgar tongue of the native. Shenzi type.

My parents were brought up on Shakespeare and the bible. The Shakespeare just incase assimilation, of the Kaffir, could be achieved but the bible mostly to tame the heathen- you cannot sjambok a vodoo priest quoth the Native Commissioner. No limey.No.

I was brough up on Shakespeare and the Bible.
...Perpetuated in the Nyayo Philosophy of Peace, Love and Ngugi Anathema.
The bible because we are a Christian Nation. Duh. It is a mark of civilisation. And Shakespeare because it didn't mirror our rotten society/ government. See we couldn't understand Shakespeare anyway.
8-4- 4 was meant to turn us into carpenters, like Christ's terrestrial daddy. Not Taban Liyong's Intellectual- intelligentsia- convertibles.

But we all couldn't be carpenters... and you still wonder why I am angry at the system?
"Sheng is mostly a stealth language that promotes defiance of authoritative figures."

Nigga Puhliiz!

Study skills- Grammar
They taught me to use Roget's Thesaurus, Oxford English Dictionary.
Synonym Vs. Antonym

Synonyms: words with similar meaning; Exempli Gratia: Kumanga, Kusosi, Kudema.
Verb: Action/ doing word: Eat, Kula, Manga

Object: Refers to person or thing that is affected by the action of the verb: To eat food, kula chakula, Kumanga dish.

In English if you say "to eat" " doesnt know what one is eating"
Question tag: Knowest he?

Logic 101: Fallacy of the uneven middle term.

"There is no standard sheng spoken anywhere" Indeed. Neither is there such spoken English. Cockney!
American Vs. British; Kibich Vs. Ololo.

Or maybe they banned colloquialism and we never got to know about it down here. Hope they can bring the edict down here next time they jump into their relief food truck.

In the meantime to use synonyms to suggest lack of standardised sheng is to me the fallacious grandstanding of an individual who in light of his peculiar, bigoted and ill-informed view of the subject, applies technical terms arbitrarily and consequently brings disrepute to the study of linguistics and the so called 'objectivity' of journalism.

Commentator garbage

IV (b)
Ngeli ya KI: VI:
Kibao Vodka

Niko mtaani nawaka na supuu wa Karen. Walai! Dolli soap soapu.
(She tipsy. Changaa in a boti. Pseudo- vodoski. Easy vibe. "I penda you". In Vino Veritas

On TV, the President. Kuna vile amejienjoy. Kujienjoy doesn't mean to have a good time in my 'hood or any other that I know of!
The president doesn't speak sheng unless his is so dated I cannot figure it out. Retro Makerere?

Two national exams. Straight A's in English. A near perfect score in TOEFL and SAT. I can teach the house of windsor their conjugation- if they can find time in between extra- conjugal trysts.

I decline English and the Latin Equivalent

(Haiya, mpaka I can tell complex mazungu jokes, remember George Eliott; The Mill on The Floss: "what will you declie, roast beef or the Latin equivalent?... ha!ha!ha!)

But how, pray tell does that help me hawk bananas in Gikomba?

The Gigiri crowd can write their high- brow papers in UN Languages trying to change the world, but the world they want to change speaks in the vulgar "...sheng... cop-out of good grammar and academic rigour... linguistic garbage- a non- language that has no stable syntax, no form, no structure and no rules of grammar.

Mwaura ends: "What rubbish!"
Prezzo ends: "Hii ni upumbavu...!"
Vox Populi: "Puba... labda ujijazie asa po!


Sheng is a Secret Code for Deviance;
Mwaura, Peter
The Saturday Nation, April 8th 2006


R said...

Potash, you write beautifully.

sometimes, you tease my faith a bad name, but always you beautifully.

POTASH said...

Thanks Rombo, well faith is your responsibility . Let no one shake it.

Essequibo said...

(loving the mention of the marijuana ceiling)

You do write with a vengeance...

a vengeance against what? Maybe you can tell me. Yes, it is beautiful.

But more important are the truths behind the words; sometimes sublte, sometimes explicit - always potent. I enjoy your work.

Hello again.

acolyte said...

Nice post!Reminds me how when I go to some Kenyan bashes here Kenyan folk assume some poor imitation of an American accent towards me even though we are from the same country.They sneer and think I am a trogoldyte because I speak sheng with the Kenyans that I know.Liitle do they know that my english vocabulary and education is far more extensive then theirs but for me it is just a mask to be worn for the masquerade.I dont have to be burdened with it all the time.But I guess instead of being a babi I have chosen to embrace the secret language of deviance.What's the punishment?

Prousette said...

Just one problem, the high brow papers will not change the world,what with their love for three dimensional words like empower etc.

POTASH said...

@Ess: It would be too long a story to break down. I am not angry, just a shade pissed, but it isonly a passing cloud. A phase. Distemper like a dog.

@ACO: Welcome back to my side of the world. Thought I had lost you somehow. Yes masks are of the essence to get by in a world where Lingua Franca was shipped in by the Imperialists.
But 'Babi' That is a word I do not use. It is one word that I cannot find a proper meaning for, so I will not use it. Imagine I have been tagged Babi...and I am hood...please!

@Pro: maybe 'sustainable development' is a three dimensional word.

Anonymous said...

Well I finally checked it out
'The yuppie looked me in the eye. Potash isn't street Philosophy an oxymoron? '

nice... written it makes more sense than when you said it out loud, how is that?

POTASH said...

Well and how does it feel to be a yuppie...yet another yuppie that comes alive in my blog. It should go to prove to the world that this story is true.

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Cirdan said...

Potash, you're right. I posted about Mwaura's silly rant a while ago, and came to much the same conclusion. I've linked to your post from mine.

Keguro said...

I'm still waiting for your post on the yuppie appropriation of sheng (I believe they call this the "experience" of education). In part, because it seems to my very distantly located mind akin to the white appropriation of hip hop.

Muttering something about helicopters . . .

Anonymous said...

hey potash,
jus thot to check out wats new.
nicely put.i hear u.

POTASH said...

@Cirdan I really think your post argued in a more educated way what I meant to say in my psuedo intelluctual rant:
To quote you:
"communication between Sheng and non-Sheng speakers occurs, so Sheng has a syntax and semantics."

@Keguro:Now because linguistics is not a hat I can wear quite well, I guess that post will have to wait. I really have been thinking on sheng because my yuppie friends who cannot even speak swahili have been trying to convince me as to how it is not a language. Two people were mentioned on this post and they ended up reading it. Like I always say, this is not fiction. And I mentioned the Karen chick...which has to be you..because Mwaura's article mentioned..".wale madame wa Karen..."

Mgema said...

Hi. Stumbled on this blog as I searched for knowledge out there..

Whoever says sheng is not a language should be next after Saddam..Simple question - where did Swahili come from?
Even the bureaucrats up Community (Hill) are thinking of teaching the lingo in 8 minus 4 minus 4!!

Potash, I do agree with Essequibo - you are a literatus burning with something...I'll be reading to discover! I reach for that bottle of viceroy