Friday, September 5, 2008

English in East Africa

I have been drafting letters to offer our church friends to use since we have been asking several folks to write on my behalf in the appeal for a missionary work permit. I have been trying to sound like a Kenyan when writing.

Brother Kanori came all the way from Ndeiya (half way down into the Rift Valley) this morning to take a look at the letter I had drafted and allow us to make any changes on the computer before printing it on his church’s letterhead and taking back for a signature and official church stamp. (We'll pick it up next week.)

I made some adjustments when I realized that the letter was going to be signed by two people. But I let it go when the first sentence was in singular and the second was in plural. After the first printing on letterhead Brother Kanori found it had an ‘agreement’ mistake in the sentence that started plural. This started a lively discussion between Brother Kanori and Francis over the correct English.

I just sat back and smiled, and made whatever changes they decided on. I don’t claim to have fabulous grammar. Nothing like my friend Abraham and his family, but I am a native speaker so I was fairly sure that ‘we’ cannot endorse ‘my’ opinion.

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