Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Speaking "Local"

I just love it when I walk into a local scene and people go about there business in their own dialect which is almost incomprehensible to an outsider. Fortunately there is a book where many of the local sayings and their meanings are explained. Please excuse me if I have broken any copyright laws by reproducing them here but I understand the book is out of print! Here are some of them, but I bet you anything you still need to understand what is said before you can begin to interpret them;

A person's place in society

When pawpaw tree fall down, nanny goat jump over (h)e
When a person falls from high circumstances to low, anyone can disregard him.

Donky got no business in horse race
A person ought to keep within his own class or group in society

Bo(ar) hog does put in gol(d) teet(h) to make you t(h)ink he's gentleman
One puts on certain veneer in order to appear refined or dignified

Lay down wid dog; yo(u) ge(t) up wid fleas
Mixing with people below one's level, tarnishes the reputation

Rockstone down river bottom don't know when de sun hot
The person living in opulence doesn't know anything about poverty


E(v)ery hallelujah got amen
The best of everything comes to and end


Soursop tree don(t) bear apple
What a person is what we expect of him because of his parentage

Wha(t) hu(r)t eye mek nose run water
What affects one member of the family adversely, hurts all the rest.

Advice Related Sayings

If yo(u) got cocoa in de sun yo(u) for to look out fo(r) rain.
Where there is a possibility of trouble one should be extremely anxious and alert.

When yo(u) brother bed bu(r)ning, put yours in soak.
When disaster has already struck someone, take extra precautions to avoid the same predicament.

Wha(t) sweeten goat mout(h) bitter he tail.
The beginning may be pleasant, but the final outcome rather unpleasant.

E(v)ery shut eye ain(t) sleep.
Be careful, since things are not always as they appear on the surface.

However foreday run monin(g) goin(g) catch (h)e
A person who commits an offence and is not detected is encouraged to continue doing wrong, but generally caught because he becomes overconfident of his safety.

Yo(u) could hide de fire bu(t) wha(t) yo(u) goin(g) do wid de smoke?
You cannot conceal or destroy all traces of evidence for what is done in darkness sooner or later comes to light

Water boiling fo(r) fish an(d) fish ain(t) know.
A person does not know that trouble is brewing for him.

Ship wha(t) don(t) rule by de rudder de rock goin(g) pick it up.
When yo(u) ketch (catch) yo(u) col(d) yo(u) goin(g) bear yo(u) cough.
Wha(t) pork don(t) season does swell.
People who refuse to take advice must be prepared to suffer.

Trouble tree don(t) bear no blossom.
Trouble doesn't send out warning signals.

De older de ram, de stiffer de horn.
Experience comes with age.

De ol(d) steer ge(t) suspicious when dem feed (h) too high.
When those in authority begin to act unusually pleasant they are planning to get rid of you.

Gaulin(g) say trus(t) no cloud
Every man is an enemy

Long grass carry news
Trust no one

One mangy goat spoil de whole flock.
One defective sample will spoil the whole lot.

Shut yo(u) door an(d) lick yo(u) chil(d).
Deal with you personal affairs privately.

Shit don(t) care who he daub.
Bad company doesn't care who comes under its influence.

E(v)ery stinkin cheese got (h)e own bread
No matter how bad the person or thing, there is someone who will want him for it.

Dead man can(t) carry dead up de hill.
The helpless cannot give help just as the blind can't lead the blind.

Take half-a-bit to buy trouble and it take doubloon to clear it.
It is easy to get into trouble but difficult to get out.

Had-a-know is always behin(d) de back door.
If the person would have known the outcome of his actions he would have acted differently.

Train(t) got no tree in de sea.
There is nothing to hold on to therefore one ought to be fully equipped in case of danger.

When man dead, grass grow before (t)he door
When the owner is not there to oversee things they are not done properly.

Two conger can(t) live in de same hole
Two people of equally difficult temperament hardly get along well.

Tis who in de house know way (where) de leak is.
Whoever has the problem knows the real difficulty.

Tis goat good heart dem tail behin(d) dem back.
Because of a person's kindness and willingness to help, he will always be poor.

Dog don(t) bite at de front gate.
Some people do things in an underhand manner.

Cattle Min(d)er know cattle temper.
The person who deals with the situations constantly ought to understand it best.

Don(t) say more wid yo(u) mout(h) than yo(u) back can stan(d).
Don't accept more responsibility than you are able to carry.

Who got de watch got to keep de look out.
The person in charge must always be on the look out.

Run from Jumbie yo(u) meet up coffin.
Take care yo(u) miss de basin an(d) hit de poe (pot chambre).
Same as jumping from the fire and into the frying pan.

Man work, dog reap.
A few persons work but everyone receives the benefit.

Don(t) look fo(r) black sheep in a dark night.
Don't put off an issue until it is too late.

Who put the fowl to min(d) corn?
It is pointless putting a theif to guard possessions.

Tain(t) have fo(r) grave digger - carpenter worse
This means having no value at all. For while the grave is necessary for the burial, the coffin is not.

Yo(u) pissin(g) on hot rock and smellin(g) it.
You are being insolent.

Wedding cake ain(t) potato
Suggests the difference between the rare (cake) and the common-place (potato).

Yo(u) make broke stick to cut yo(u) own backside
You prepared your own downfall

Si(t) down never say get up.
If you relax when you ought to be working you'll never feel like working again.

Lie down ain(t) no rest, bu(t) si(t) down less.
An exaggerated plea for complete relaxation.

Studiation beat education, but starvation beat (th)em all.
Studiation is knowledge gained by "Studying yo(u) head". It's a rare brand of smartness, not acquired from formal studying.

Better belly bus' dan good food go to was(t)e.
Eat all you can.

Da (i)s only de cotta; de bun behin(d)
That's merely the light beginning- the real trouble is behind

Dog wha(t) bring bone in yo(u) yard goin(g) car(ry) out bone.
If someone brings news to you that same person will carry out news.


In front dog tis "Mr Dog." behin(d) dog tis "Dog".
In a person's presence politeness is evident-in his absence one says anything.

When saucepan open, every man peep.
When a secret gets out everybody is interested in gossiping about it.

Ground lizard know wha(t) he do, god almighty mek he can(t) look up.
Sometimes a person knows who has weighty conscience can't face the person whom he has wronged.

Fish trap don(t) make noise, but it do good work.
A person's effectiveness is not measured by the amount of noise he makes.

Tain(t) de cow dat bawl de mos(t) does wan(t) to mos(t) water.
The person who begs the most does not necessarily have the greatest need.

Finger don(t) point in, dem does point out.
A persons does not accuse himself.

Hog know way to root
Any person knows how to meddle or stir up trouble where there will be least resistance.

Monkey never climb sand box tree
Sensible people keep out of danger

If win(d) don(t) blow yo(u) won(t) see fowl under clo(th)es
You wont know the real circumstances until something happens to upset the normal course of events
When things are bad you are quiet, but when things improve you make plenty of noise.

Give h(im) basket to carry water and sea-feather to dip it up
Ask a person to do the impossible

I don(t) wan(t) turkey when he wing broke
I don't want anything defective no matter how valuable it is.

You can make two mountains meet way (where) two toe never touch
You are capable of carrying tales between two persons who were never likely to quarrel without your aid.

Yo(u) living cheap and smelling sweet
You are a parasite

Yo(u) got goat mout(h)
Used to describe a person who has prophetic powers.

A bull does use he horns not he head
Some people use physical power instead of brain power

You an(d) work had court and work min
You are very lazy

Drunk man talk wha(t) de t(h)ink when he sober.
The idea is that alcohol loosens the man's tongue, he says what he really thinks.

When killy killy tu(r)n (h) e back to de sun wha(t) a go de
When someone has had enough he runs from it

When deat(h) in de horse eye he don(t) care way (where) he t(h)row he massa
During a time of crisis a person thinks of his own welfare

Ol(d) stick afire don(t) stay long to catch
Used specifically when one-time lovers are quickly reunited

One fowl lay de egg; nudder fowl goin(g) raise de chicken
Said in case of questionable paternity


E(v)ery dog got he day and e(v)ery bitch her Sunday afternoon
Each person experience good or bad fortune at some time

Yo(u) cleaning ground fo(r) monkey to run on
You are making circumstances easier for others

Yo(u) wne to school to sleep on de bench
You are completely illiterate

When Mary doing well, Martha ketching hell
While some are enjoying life others are experiencing difficulties

Wher(e) a horse tie he got to feed
A person must be sustained from his work or place of abode

It have something in de mortar beside pestle
Something is going on which one does not want to admit

Borrow petti coat ain(t) got no string
Implies that borrowing is a poor method of obtaining anything

Water can(t) stan(d) up on cliff
Water is no use to a hungry man as it does not sustain

What go over horse back come back under de belly
One cannot escape the consequences of one's action

Tain(t) de word does hurt, bu(t) de answer
The meaning is obvious

Han(d)some girl go(t) dirty tricks
Appearances are deceptive

Wha(t) yo(u) expect from a bag of coal bu(t) dus(t)
The poor behaviour exhibited is not surprising

Bad bread good in scarce time
When there is a dire necessity even that which was despised becomes valuable

Dem two is chamber-pot and backside
They are very close friends

Boil yam will grow now
Very common expression used when there is a lot of rain and certainly suggests that anything planted now will grow

Wha(t) de good o(f) ship on dry lan(d)
What point is there having the most valuable thing if it is in a place where it cannot be used.

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