Today was the Advanced YAN class form 3-5pm at Lycee. I went early to get the start loading the research from my flash drive onto the computers. When I arrived, only one computer was open because teachers were using them all. Soon 3pm (when class starts) was approaching. I kindly reminded the teachers that I had a class starting at 3pm. They explained to me that class today wouldn’t be possible because all the teachers were doing their grades. I asked them what time they would finish, they said by 6pm. I checked the two other computer labs and both of them had a class going on. I waited for some students to come and broke the news to them : No class today! To make up for it, I am hoping to have TWO classes next week!

But, in the mean time... you can learn a bit about Cameroon and the language used here...

A Beginner's Cameroonian Phrasebook

"I'm coming" or "adi com"

‘adi com’ in Pidgin is simply, “I’m coming” in English and is the first Pidgin phrase I learned in Cameroon! But, don’t let this simple phrase fool you. It is much more than meets the eye. For the average person, I’m coming is the present continuous tense meaning that the action is happening at the time the speakers is saying it. WRONG! Not here! If someone says “I’m coming” it could be anywhere from 15min to 5hours to next month depending on the situation. When saying this, it means “I might be doing something right now and I might have several things to do afterwards, but eventually, whenever I am chanced, I will be coming.”


In my opinion, this is the most basic and most beaituful of all the Pidgin words. Translated directly, ashia means “sorry”. But, it is much much more complex than just your typical English “sorry”. Behind every ashia is compassion and empathy. Ashia is appropriate in just about any situation. If someone is sweating from the heat or the work they are doing – ashia; if someone is sick – ashia; if someone has lost a loved one – ashia; if someone is carrying water – ashia. It essentially acknowledges what the person is going through and you take pity on them, but not pity in a negative way. The correct response is “thank you”.

"You've abandoned me" or "you don fogit me o" or "you don trow me" or "You've been lost"

These are all several ways to simply say “I haven’t seen you in a while.” ‘don’  in Pidgin refers to the past tense. “trow” someone, is like you have thrown them away from you. Which is just not seeing them or hanging out with them. “lost” is to not be seen even if you haven’t traveled. It’s not totally negative, its more just playing with a friend (sometimes and acquaintance) telling them you have missed them.

"Dash me that" or "What did you keep for me?"

dash means to give or for free. You can give and get something for dash and you can dash something to a person. At first, this phrase took me off guard and sounded a bit rude. Random people just asking me for things?! But then I saw other people ask random people for dash. Then I saw others dash random people things (food, jewelry, a drink, taxi ride, etc). Then some person I had just met dashed ME something and that is when I understood what I call: dash culture. When you have - you just give!! I complimented a young ladies earrings and she insisted that she dash them to me. In the market when you buy for example, ‘carrots for 500fcf (approx 1$)” you ask for dash and the mamis selling will put some extra in just for buying from them. Often times, you don’t even need to ask.

(We) Thank God

When you ask someone how they are doing, a common reply is “Thank God” or “We Thank God.” Generally, most of the population would fall under the category “religious”. Even if  someone doesn’t regularly go to church, which MANY people do, they still will always tell you ‘Yes, I believe in God’.

We are together // on est ensemble

This is a parting message. When you are leaving and would maybe say things like, "It was nice seeing you, see you next time, safe travels, etc" - people here will say, "We are together." Or if you are in a Francophone region, "On est ensemble."