Posted on 02 April 2021
"What is etu?" You might ask. Etu has different meaning based on the context. Etu is pronounced 'a-too'.
Etu is from my tribe’s language, Isoko. I never spoke this language, but I did understand a lot of it many years ago. My parents spoke Isoko at home, but I responded to them in French. Imagine yourself watching us having a conversation using two different languages at the same time…
Back to etu… I was trying to find the best way to name our new line of satin lined bonnets. After doing some research etu came to mind.
When I asked my mother about the meaning of etu or how to say bonnet in Isoko, she told me “we refer to it as ‘etu aso’ or ‘etu na ro oweze’.” To translate literally, ‘etu aso’ means ‘night hat’ and ‘etu na ro oweze’ means ‘hat you sleep in’.
I own a Bible written in the Isoko language. Other than asking my family members, this is the best way I have of finding out how a word is said in Isoko. I first find the word in the English Bible and I then find it in the Isoko Bible. This is also how we came up with our kids' names.
For our satin lined bonnets, I first started researching ‘head covering’ in the English Bible and that led me nowhere. I then looked up ‘cap’. There were no references of ‘cap’ in the English Bible search results.
I then searched for ‘hat’ which led me to hundreds of references to ‘hate’, ‘hated’, ‘hatred’, etc. After scrolling through the first page of this search results, I gave up on this search.
During my research on satin lined bonnets, I learned that these bonnets are best to protect your crown. I thought that crown in Isoko would be the perfect reference for our bonnets.
Here are the first few references I found in the English Bible:
2 Samuel 1:10
“So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
2 Samuel 12:30
David took the crown from their king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. It weighed a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones. David took a great quantity of plunder from the city.
2 Kings 11:12
Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
1 Chronicles 20:2
David took the crown from the head of their king—its weight was found to be a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones—and it was placed on David’s head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city.
to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.
In those verses, I was able to find different variations of the word crown: etu-uvie and etu-ovie.
I knew etu had to mean something in reference to the head. To confirm that I was on the right track, I took it to google of course, since google knows it all. I found www.glosbe.com. After searching for etu on this site, I determined that there was no literal translation for the word bonnet in the Isoko language. I found that etu is used to refer to anything that goes on one’s head. It could be anything but not limited to helmet, crown, headpiece or turban.
If you ever wonder how we come up with these names for our products, here is the science I have had to apply as a non-speaker. Please find our satin lined bonnets or etus available for sale on our site at this link.