it’s not a compliment

Insulting people in English is a straight forward process. You can use the 'F' and the 'S' words in various creative formats and your victim will unequivocally know that they have been verbally assaulted. In Africa*, we are more diplomatic about our verbal combat. Our insults are cleverly laced with so much ambiguity, nuance and abbreviation that foreigners are never sure if they got insulted or complimented. To clear the confusion, here is a list of the most commonly used insults to help you draw the line in the sand.

Your face – This bland, non descript statement means ‘ your ugly face’

Your head/ your nose etc. – In the same spirit of ugliness to the said body part

You torch – You have lost your damn mind

Your mother - Yo mama! And since we believe in gender equality, we also say 'Your father'

Oh, you've lost weight - You look like you have hit some ruff times. As opposed to 'You've gained weight: You look good. Life must be good

Your head die – You are Dumb

Your mouth die – You ain’t got no game

Your eye die – Shame on you

Who are you - You ain't ish

When we are talking then you are talking – You really ain’t ish

Get out of my face – I can’t stand the sight of you

Get away – Get lost

Go and sit somewhere – No, seriously, Get lost

Get out – Does not mean exit. It means why the hell are you still standing here??

Go way you – GTHOH

My friend – Precursor to an insult (My friend Go way you!)

You are not correct – Does not mean you are wrong. It means you are out of your mind

Look at you –  Eeww

As for you this girl/boy paaa– You got issues

What is wrong with you – Not an endearing statement of concern. It means: Have you lost your mind? If your parents ask you this, your cheek will collide with their palm

Then there are the non-verbal ones

Eyeing – The act of slowly narrowing your eyes until they are slits. This is definitely not an act of seduction.

Staring at someone for  60 seconds is tantamount to an insult and can elicit a retatliation.

Tweeaaaa – The act of kissing your teeth. This happens when someone has no words for you

Kai !–  Yuck!

Ho ! – Not an insult, an exclamation e.g Ho! Don’t you know I love you.

On a final note, in Africa* when someone insults us, we sometimes say ‘Thank you, Thank you very very much’ and then we retaliate (don’t ask)

*Just for laughs

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  1. Amma, this is hilarious! 

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I am sure you came up with a few of your own

  3. lol!

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