Our word for the week is lullaby /lʌləbaɪ/. It’s a noun and its pronounced lull+a+by. Do you remember some of the songs that you mother used to sing to you to make you sleep when you were a baby? It was something along the lines of:

Baby, kaa fo                                           Baby, don’t cry,
Mgbe o mami e te?                                Where has your mother gone?
E te lai                                                    She’s gone to the farm.
Mini e shi ha bo                                    What did she leave for you?
E shi mi akpakpa                                   She left me a pawpaw.

This song she sang to you and others like it are called lullabies (plural of lullaby) I think you can define a lullaby by yourself now. It is a ‘calming song that is sung to babies to help them sleep’. It is from the words ‘lullen’lull which means ‘to calm or to hush to sleep’ and ‘by’ which means by near or goodbye. Some Hebrew folks have also claimed that it is from the expression ‘Lilith abi’ which means ”Lilith be gone!” Lilith was a demon who harmed children so those songs would keep her away from the babies. So Lilith abi – Lulla+by. So cool and scary!

So next time you see a woman singing a song to a baby, tell her she is singing a lullaby. Here’s the rest of the lullaby up there:

Ha mi eko ma ye                                   Give me some to eat.
Inha bo fai!                                           I won’t give you a thing!
Kε o mami ba, ma kεε lε                      When your mother comes back, I’ll tell her.
Kε o papa ba, ma kεε lε                       When your father comes back, I’ll tell him.
Yaa yaa wushi-o!                                 Yaa yaa wushi-o!*
Yaa yaa wushi-o!                                 Yaa yaa wushi-o!

If you know any other lullabies tell me about them in the comment section. See you next week!

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Article by Kofi Konadu Berko.

Kofi Konadu Berko is passionate about education and youth development. He holds a B.A in Adult Education and Human Resource Studies from the University Of Ghana. His works have been  published in the historic Afroyoung Adult anthology titled Waterbirds On the Lakeshore, Adabraka: Stories From the Center Of the World, Tampered Press and the Kalahari Review. He blogs at obolokofi.wordpress.com