I brought something resembling donuts to the staff meeting today. The meeting started at noon yet again, but I was ready for it this time. I had brought a bag of something Peter told me were "half-cakes," a deep fried batter about the size of large donut holes, and laid them in the middle of the table. As each staff member entered the room where we held the meeting, they gave a little "Oh!"--not an American sounding "oh" at all. I can't describe it better except to say that it was a particularly African "oh."
Another African speech sound that I love is the "mmm" sound that seems to mean something like "I see," or one of those sounds of encouragement that people throw into conversation. I heard that a number of times during staff meeting as well. I find it very satisfying and utterly impossible to replicate.