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Rotich, Kipsang

Kipsang Rotich



Kipsang Rotich was, at the time of filming Return of the Jedi, was a student from Kenya who spoke Haya (Kenyan dialect).  The Haya was the only language not to be picked apart or fragmented by Ben Burtt, Rotich's phrases were wholly untouched but the meanings were rather outrageous, "...one thousand herds of elephants are standing on my foot" 

Rotich currently resides in Kenya where he's lived and worked since 1996.



This note from an American journalist (BH) living in Kenya...

Howdy from Kenya, 
I am an American living in Kenya for the past three years, and had quite a shock when I watched Return of the Jedi last night, for the first time since moving to Kenya. When I heard Nien Nunb speak right after Admiral Akbar tells all ships to assume attack positions, I stopped dead in my tracks and my girlfriend, who is a native Kenyan from the largest tribe, the Kikuyu -- almost hit the floor and we had to rewind it. His first line is pure Kikuyu language, which I hear a little bit, and she of course speaks fluently. The meaning of the phrase is "Listen up, you guys who are over there, come over here." In Kikuyu, that "Atiriri, inyui haria muri haria muke haha."  (Note that the u in Kikuyu is pronounced roughly like Oh) We listened closely to the rest of his lines and couldn't understand them, but they are definitely African and parts we suspect are from the closely related Kamba language, also from Kenya and mutually intelligible with Kikuyus. Kamba and Kikuyu are all part of the Bantu language family, as is Haya -- the only thing is Haya is spoken in neighboring Tanzania, not Kenya. That is no barrier to Rotich speaking it, since again, it is Bantu-based and therefore relatively easy for someone who speaks a Bantu language to figure out.
Based on his name, voice actor Kipsang Rotich should be from the Kipsigis subtribe of Kenya's Kalenjin tribe. The Kipsigis live in the Great Rift Valley alongside Kikuyus, and would be quite likely to speak some Kikuyu since it is a widely used trade language. Kipsigis, like all Kalenjins, speak a wholly separate language and it comes from the Nilotic language family. 




Film
Star Wars: The Force Awakens~2015 - voice of Nien Nunb
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi~1983 - voice of Nien Nunb

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