Thursday, March 2, 2017

What's In A Name?

Titles are very important to showing respect - Misses, Mister, Sir, Ma'am, Doctor, Professor, etc. This is very much true for the Congolese - our title is a sign of respect, importance, prestige, and sometimes value.

When you have children, your name is now given a title to represent your rite of passage - "Mama" Cele, "Papa" Pepe, "Mama" Georgine, "Tata" Oscar (Lingala for Papa), etc. When you have employees, they like to show their respect with many different names depending on how many people you employ - chef and patron are most frequent. A lot of times you are referred to by your job title - pilote (pilot), délégué (delegate), députée (member of parliment), judiciaire (judicial/police chief), etc. When you are married, some people will call you by your husband's name with Madame before it. Vendors like to call you "Mama" or "Papa" to get your attention. Closer friends or beloved employees may call you whatever your child calls you, like "Mommy" and "Daddy."

Now that you have a little background, I would like to present our many names given and used by locals, not our (always) children or family:

Kevin - Papa Kevin, Monsieur Kevin, Chef, Pilote, Pilote Kevin, Patron, Monsieur Spann, Pilote Matthew (Kevin is hard to say when French is you 3rd or 4th language), Matthew, and Daddy.

Tasha - Mama Tasha, Madame, Mama, Madame Kevin, Mommy, and Natasha (one of the national workers cannot say the hard "t" sound because French is his 5th language).

What would some of your titles be?

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