Too Cold to Move My Lips

During our village stay, I attempted to pick up as much of the local language as possible, a Niger-Congo language of 30,000 speakers called Chrambo. The adults loved it. The kids got a kick out of it. And I made myself sound like an idiot.

Here’s a video from the day I learned the word for ‘cold’. Phonetically, it is written like this [ɣrɨ]. None of these sounds occur in my dialect of English and probably not in yours either. The sounds we are talking about are voiced velar fricative (in the video I incorrectly call this a trill–oops!) + alveolar trillbarred i. Watch the video and see if it doesn’t sound like it should be the word for ‘cold,’ too cold to move your lips. Or, doesn’t it even sound like someone shivering and saying ‘brrrrr’? Towards the end of the video I start saying another word–I won’t attempt to transcribe it phonetically but know that it’s the word for ‘goat.’