Sunday, April 06, 2014

Kumovi

While I was in South Africa earlier this year, I was trying to explain in English my relationship to my friend Helen. It wasn't easy... We hadn't seen each other in 9 years as she emigrated to Australia, and we had never got our visits to match before now when we did it deliberately... and part of the reason I was in SA in my otherwise "off" year, was to see her (below together at the penguins) and her family. 
I was struggling to explain the concept of "kumovi" in English. In 1999, I was Helen's Maid of Honour/Bridesmaid, and that in Bosnia is a "kuma". If you are Best Man it is "kum". And forever you will be "kumovi" (=plural). It is almost a close relationship, almost like family once you are kumovi. And here simply saying the word "kumovi" conveys the importance of the relationship - if you are kumovi then it makes sense to go to South Africa to see her, as that kind of relationship lasts forever despite distance and other hindrances... So I was really struggling in English to explain our relationship, saying "I am going to see my very good friend" doesn't pack the same punch!

And also the word "kuma" (or "kum") means a Godparent to children, so I am also "kuma" to my godson, Christopher (below with his parents Carol, Trevor and sister Anna), and his family are also my kumovi! So I was reminded on this last trip the ease of saying "I went to England to see my family and my kumovi" to my Bosnian friends... and the lack we have in English with "I went to England to see my family and my very good friends". The Bosnians get it, the English-speakers not so much...
I like the Bosnian concept of kumovi, and I miss it in English...

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this little language and cultural lesson as much as I enjoyed giving it :)

6 comments:

Andrew said...

Knowing some Serbian, I get it. enjoyed your explanation too :)

Belinda Chaplin said...

glad you enjoyed it... hope other people with no Serbian also get it... I also miss "prekjuce" and "preksutra" in English - "the day before yesterday" and "the day after tomorrow" aaaaaaargh!

HEloveME said...

Thanks for the lesson.

HEloveME said...

Thanks for the lesson.

Victor said...

Ahhh, the joys of languages!! You're my KUMA!!!

Linda said...

Lovely photos, great post. Thank you so much for sharing.

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