Kenya has 47 languages of these, English is the official language of business and Swahili is the national language. I guess in this case national just means that it is a language of the people, by the people, for the people 🙂

My mother tongue is ‘Luo’, we are known as the people from the lake…this is due to the fact that our ancestors hailed from Sudan and settled around the area of Lake Victoria. This was in their search for greener pastures, in this case literary greener pastures. There being so many languages it is not easy to be fluent in all of them but definitely after being around the others, one does begin to understand a couple of words here and there. Back to the luo tribe we do not have the sound ‘sh’ in our language. Therefore it is very difficult for us to pronounce it during a conversation. So for words like ‘shut up’ I would find myself unconsciously saying ‘sut up’ lol. Do not get me wrong we can pronounce it, it is just that during a conversation I find my tongue just slipping.

My son when he first learnt how to speak he used to say,’ Yesh’ instead of ‘yes’, yet he didn’t know how to speak in Luo. He still doesn’t know nor does he comprehend a word of it. Sometimes I wonder why he was born with the ‘sh’ problem could such a thing be in one’s genes?

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  1. That’s interesting that your son has the same problem of making a “sh” instead of an “s” sound. I’ve noticed that kids in my family do the same thing, and can sound like they have a slight lisp as a child. I am more curious to know if children brought up learning Luo ever do this. I’m curious because I’d like to know if this is a failure of children to distinguish between the two sounds or maybe a crutch that they use to say a word that’s hard for them by replacing one of the sounds with an easier sound (each of which would require them to have learned the “sh” sound already), or if rather it is a way of flubbing one’s “s” sound (which would not require actually hearing the “sh” sound from others).

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