1. "Will you take tea?" The word "take" used for food or drink I think has some British roots. This is asked pretty much daily in the hospital. I think if we HAD chai time in America, which we don't but could be a nice thing to adapt, someone would ask, "Will you be having tea?" But I'm not sure.
2. "Somehow." As in, was your night busy last night on call? The reply, It was somehow busy....kidogo (a little). What's that? Somehow? Does the patient look well enough to go home? No, she is somehow sick. I think it is closest to the American phrase, "sort of," but somehow just gives it as mystic, who knows kind of quality. Endearing.
3. "Even me" I first heard this out of the mouth of a Kenyan kid asking for a bottle of Coke. There were some sodas on the table and he turned to me and said, "Even me, I want." I thought this was just a cute kid at the very beginning of his English grammar lessons, but since then I have heard it a lot. I think it's like, me too. Should we all go for lunch now? Even me, I would like lunch.
4. Leaving out objects. Eric and I went to go buy some sodas at a shop near the hospital. We asked if they had Bitter Lemon and the shop owner shook his head slightly. To confirm, I asked in true Kenyan fashion, "You do not have?" This was the hardest to remember what we would have said in American, namely, "You don't have any?"
5. The eyebrow raise. This is non-verbal but my very favorite of all the "phrases." Instead of saying yes to a question someone asks you, you can just make a non-committal grunting noise in the back of your throat and raise your eyebrows slightly. I like to use this one when Eric asks me a question for which I feel there is an obvious answer (and thus, the question did not need to be asked).
Perhaps we will come back and all will be well with our speech. Or perhaps we'll slip in some -isms. Or perhaps, even, we will have accents. Anna Fader does (if you've forgotten, click here for some hilarity).