Our favorite word is…

Goyo! We have discovered a language goldmine. In Acholi….

You ‘goyo’ (iron) your clothes
You ‘goyo’ (pump) water at the borehole
You ‘goyo’ (play) pool…or a stringed musical instrument (but not cards or football)
You ‘goyo’ (hit) the dog
You ‘goyo’ (call) with your cell phone
You ‘goyo’ (draw) a picture of a cat
A priest can ‘goyo’ (bestow) a blessing
You ‘goyo’ (close) your eyes (but not the door)

Today the little girls who live opposite us found a long rope for skipping. We took it in turns to …you guessed it….’goyo’ (swing) the rope, while the little ones jumped and sang under a hot sun. Even the mamas left their washing and joined in.

There are probably another twenty uses of goyo out there…if you can detect the relationship I’ll post you a pineapple.

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15 Responses to Our favorite word is…

  1. Opa says:

    Thought I had it until I got to the last one, all the others involve a similar hand movement, until “close your eyes” … Are they all said with the same inflection?

    • ntlaing says:

      Close your eyes has me stumped too! Except that I suppose there is still the impact of one thing against another (eyelid against eye-edge?!). Yup, all have the same inflection 🙂 Tessa

  2. Mum and Dad says:

    By the way this is not Opa, this is Mum.

  3. Ross Elliott says:

    The word ‘goyo’ seems to be the equivalent of the Swahili word ‘piga’. In Swahili you ‘piga a picta’, or take a photo, ‘piga the simu’ or use the telephone etc. These are certainly very useful words. Piga in Swahili literally means ‘strike’, so if you beat someone you ‘piga’ them but then when you use the iron box, you also piga that. Perhaps the same is the case with goyo?
    Have you learn’t any interesting proverbs yet?

    • ntlaing says:

      Interesting. The literal meaning ‘strike’ seems to fit pretty well actually.. I discovered a new one today – to print is ‘goyo karetach (paper)’!! No proverbs yet except keep adding sticks and you make a bundle, which was used to encourage our language learning!

  4. Hamidulla Habibi says:

    Hello Tessa and Nick this is Homaira.
    How are you.

    • ntlaing says:

      Hi Homaira and family, we are very well thankyou. We miss you! Hope everyone on Truman road are healthy and happy. We will send you a post card!

  5. katevday says:

    Awesome! Chinese has a word like that, seemingly a ‘catch-all’ verb. It’s used for:
    Pump (your tires)
    Play (basketball, but not the piano)
    Hit (the dog)
    Make (a phone call, a cough or a sneeze)
    Draw (up a draft)
    As well as gather (firewood), pierce (your ears), ladle out (soup), catch (sparrows) among many others.

    It’s not in make a blessing, close your eyes, or do ironing though.
    The pattern remains elusive.

    Ah well- goyo everything and you should still get a high success rate!

  6. I thought I’d google goyo + Acholi and arrived at a variety of sites. One site, WikiVerb, even had the verb goyo conjugated but no meaning given. Other sites under Acholi are interesting to flick through. A lot of photos in Trip Down Memory Lane: Acholi people. One could spend ages on the computer!!!!!! Keep up the good work of language learning. Elizabeth

  7. amandadennis says:

    I am yet to find a word like this in Spanish. I shall keep a lookout, I feel it would serve me well.

    • ntlaing says:

      Haha. It might be there keep looking. In English I think we have some like this too. Just of the top of my head ‘make’, you make tea, make your bed, make an appointment, make a difference, make a toy, make dinner, make fun of someone. At least in Spanish some of the words might be similar to English right? That may help out a little.

  8. gracelindley says:

    They have a word like this in french too! It is so useful. It’s just a general word for doing/making. You can use it for doing the groceries, playing sports, baking/cooking, maths equations (for equals), hitchhiking, talking about the weather, describing someone impulsive, washing the car, doing the dishes…there are hundreds!

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