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img_5393It’s an interesting grasp of the English language – a poor, but very humorous arrangement of words. On a printed map showing directions to a local craft shop, the words “here be lions” were intended to show where the Nairobi National Park is located in reference to the store. For me, they were just there for a good laugh. When out and about in Nairobi, I find plenty of shop signs and advertisements with messy English. Finding these little foibles is so enjoyable because the word combinations are just plain funny! Admittedly, when I find these mistakes while editing papers for my coworkers, it gets frustrating. But it’s understandable, seeing as English is not the 1st language of Kenyans, and also seeing as it’s not their only focus in school. For many, English is spoken on the street, but not in the home. For some, English is spoken, but not written. It’s a common language, but I cannot expect perfection. Although from that imperfection I have come to expect some guilty pleasure every now and then.

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6 Comments

  1. Ummmm… I fear those ignorant natives are far more literate than you. “Here be lions” on a map is a pretty clear reference to the cartographic tradition of writing “here be dragons”.

    Look it up. And think before you smirk and patronize.

  2. And even more directly… hic sunt leones…

  3. you don’t think tone is awfully cruel to some 18yo blogger, given your suggestion?

  4. @Damn. No…

    I consider slapping down some elitist patronizing prick as

  5. … a guilty pleasure.

  6. Let me tell you—latin and “the cartographic tradition,” the language of equals…


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