Igbo/Afrikaans(?): Fwehn-fwehn

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by Faliraki, May 10, 2013.

  1. Faliraki

    Faliraki Member

    Italy, Umbria
    Hi everyone,

    I need help with the expression stated in the headline. The text I'm translating (into Italian) was written by a South African writer who often likes to use words in Afrikaans or other slang terms from her area. In the following passage, the main character is talking to her best friend's baby (her godson) - named Ikenna - and she says:

    "Ikenna, you see that your mother? She can never mind her own business. Likes to pretend she's a white woman, calling you 'Jeremy' instead of your real name. Please ask her if she got permission from your Igbo father who named you himself before she started calling you fwehn-fwehn".

    The Igbo people are an ethnic group of Southeastern Nigeria and they speak Igbo. Can someone give me any suggestion on this "Fwehn-fwehn"? Thank you!
  2. lokartu New Member

    English - Ire.
    A stab in the dark: "fwehn-fwehn" could just be a pidgin way of saying "friend-friend".
  3. ryanorsm New Member

    Im South African and can speak fluent Afrikaans. That isn't an Afrikaans or afrikaans slang word. I think as the previous reply said, more a nick name type thing?
  4. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Unless it's a West African language :
    It sounds like a diminutive (or pet name) rather than a slang word.

    I found this on-line :
    But you may wish for a native speaker to confirm that.
    Well a fruitless search in this Die Gola-Sprache in Liberia ; Grammatik, Texte und Wörterbuch (1921), leads me to believe that fwehn, means "nothing" in one of the other Liberian languages.
    The on-line quote, may be an example of an in-joke for Liberians?

    fwehn-fwehn = sweets nothings? (Just guessing.)
    Last edited: May 21, 2013

Share This Page