Articles from the 1997 Festival of American Folklife Program Book
Make Someone Heavy!

by Makele Faber
In Senegal you greet people heavily, that is, tedinne, which literally means "make heavy." When Senegalese people greet you heavily, you know they think you are important. And the more time they spend greeting you, the more consideration they show for you, the "heavier" you become.

Throughout Africa, greetings begin every interaction and create the basis for all social relationships. Greetings become even more important in African immigrant communities, who maintain traditions of greeting among themselves and pass them on to their American-born children, not only to create the social ties that bind them but also to remind them of the many social customs of home.

Here is a short list of greetings. Join the tradition and use them to say hello to participants in the African Immigrant Program!

Arabic - Ahlan wa sahlan - Hello.

Amharic - Enkwandehna metah chu - Hello and welcome.

Oromo - Ashamaa - Hello.

Susu - Ima ma - Hi.

T'na moufe - How are you? Did anything bad stay with you overnight? - (a morning greeting).

Akan - Ete sen - How is it?

Eye - Fine.

Luo - Oimore - Hello.

Sesotho - Dumela - Hello (and response to hello).

Uphela joang - How are you?

Ijo - To baroa - Hello.

Nda'ni la'oku - How are you?

Igbo - Daa lu or nde wo - Hello.

Ke du - How is it?

Yoruba - Ekaro- Good morning.

Ekasan - Good day.

EkalÄ - Good evening.

Wolof - Nan'gu deff - How are you?

Mangui fi rekk - I am fine.

Diola - Kasumaò - How are you?

Kasumi kepp - (response).

Mandinka - Hera bay - Do you have peace?

Hera dorong - Peace only.

Somali - Iska waran - Hello.

Nabad - (response).

Zulu - San bonani - Hello.

Swahili - Hujambo - Hello (to one person).

Sijambo - (response).

Hamjambo - Hello (to more than one person).

Habari - What's the news?

Makele Faber is a second-generation Guinean American. She worked at the Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies as an intern for seven months last year on the Working at the Smithsonian program and is currently conducting field research on area African immigrant students for this year's African Immigrant program. She works full time in the political depart-ment of NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League).
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