At first, I thought it is a word in the Xhosa language or even an Afrikaans word. It wasn’t. The fact is, the taxi drivers and their mates in CapeTown do same repetitive pronunciation of the name of the towns they go to, leaving room for an improper way of actually pronouncing the words.
For instance, as I get onto Spencer road, heading towards Votrekker road, I can hear mates in these minibusses shouting “Cape-tiaon”. For about 2 weeks, I couldn’t understand what that word was or what town they were referring to. I would go to Google maps and search for that, but no search results appear. Sometimes I sit down to wonder why I was so foolish searching for that word, now I know what they’re referring to.
When I got to know what exactly they’re referring to, I wasn’t much surprised, as I just realized it’s the repetitive nature of their pronunciation that messes up everything. In Ghana, there’s a similar thing. Instead of saying “Circle”, drivers and their mates say, “Cir-ke”. That’s what kinda happens when you pronounce circle repetitive for a period of time.
So this “Cape-tiaon” they say actually refers to “Cape Town”. I would have been in trouble if I told them I was going to “Cape-tiaon”. I never did that, though.
This brought to mind a similar scenario which happened in my lower high school. Our science teacher asked one of the students to write on the board, “Grycogen” He meant “Glycogen”, but unfortunately, he’s got issues with his “R” and “L”. I don’t know if its a tongue defect as a result of genetic malfunction or pure natural style of the wish to pronounce words.
The student went to the board to write “Grycogen”. He nearly got himself in trouble as the teacher thought the student was trying to mock at him. Unfortunately, by that time, there was no ‘Tweaaa’ in Ghana, so the student couldn’t ‘co-equal’ the teacher.
Back to Maitland, and what nearly broke me down to my knees was when I heard the drivers and mates do shout “Bia Vo”. Trust me, I nearly collapsed when I realized what town was been referred to. I got so confused that, I had to spend a few minutes to gather myself from the shock anytime I heard them say “Bia Vo”.
From Maitland, you go to Kensington, then Factreton. Via the Votrekker main road, these towns I’ve mentioned are on the left. Almost the last stop for many of these taxis is a town called, “Belle Ville”, at the far end of Votrekker.
When I learned that in the profession of commercial driving, “Belle Ville” can be transliterated as “Bio Vo”, I almost wanted to call my former high school English teacher to help me clarify.
In fact, I was impressed how far English has gone and pronouncing words has evolved.
Queen of England, please pardon us for our improper pronunciation words in your language.