How We Speak

Patois Time Again

DSC00231So, last Wednesday, I’m listening to Mutabaruka’s program on Irie FM, and I hear him use an expression I haven’t heard in donkey’s years, believe you me.

Yes, that’s the expression: believe you me.

I am no gambler, but I’m willing to bet the last person I heard with that expression was my mother. It sounds like something she could’ve said, repeatedly, back in the day.

I’d forgotten how much I love the expression, believe you me. And I think I’m going to use it every chance I get, believe you me. Try it out for yourself. Let it roll off your tongue. Toss the accent about on each word.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

With that said, 12 more patois words and phrases came to mind. When was the last time you dropped one or two of these in a sentence? I included a few examples to get you warmed up.

Kip up
translation: keep up
example sentence: Di bwoy slow so til him cyan kip up wid him schoolwork.
sentence translation: The boy is so slow, he is unable to keep up with his schoolwork.

translation: shove
example sentence: Shoob di chicken inna di oven, right side a di sweet pitayta
sentence translation: Shove the chicken in the oven, next to the sweet potato

Kibba yuh mout’
translation: shut your mouth
example sentence: Pickney, kibba yuh mout’ an’ tek yuhself outta big-people business.
sentence translation: Child, shut your mouth and take yourself out of adult matters.

translation: to share a secret, provide a tip-off
example sentence: Yes, Missis Ma, him prips mi seh him get a work up a di sugar estate an’ soon lef dis one.
sentence translation: Yes, Miss, he tipped me off that he got a job at the sugar estate and will soon leave this one.

Goat mout’
translation: literally, goat mouth, i.e. a history of spouting negative predictions and seeing them come true
example sentence: Sake a Mavis goat mout’, Miss Cutie son don’t get tru wid him GSAT.
sentence translation: Miss Cutie’s son did not pass his GSAT because Mavis’ negative prediction became true as always.

Dawg nyam yuh suppa
translation: literally, dog eat your supper, i.e. to indicate trouble ahead if a particular action or stance is taken
example sentence: Likkle gyal, ef yuh doan come een from outta di dew, dog nyam yuh suppa.
sentence translation: Little girl, if you do not come inside from the dew, you are in trouble.

Po sho great
meaning: to pretend to be wealthier than one really is
example sentence: Him a real po sho great, a drive Benz, but can barely afford a bag a peanut.
sentence translation: He is pretending to be wealthier than he really is, driving a Benz, but barely affording a bag of peanuts.

Yuh dash mi whey
translation: you dashed me away, i.e. forgot about me, put me aside
example sentence: Cyan hear from yuh; yuh dash mi whey, man.
sentence translation: I have not heard from you; you have forgotten about me, man.

meaning: to follow closely behind or everywhere
example sentence: Pee-pee-cluck-cluck, him a walk back a him modda an’ a heng on pon har apron string.
sentence translation: He is always walking closely behind his mother and hanging on to her apron strings.

Coo pon yuh!
translation: look at you!
example sentence: Coo pon yuh inna yuh fluffy slippas an’ stockin’.
sentence translation: Look at you in your fluffy slippers and stockings.

Likkle an’ wingy
translation: little and thin
example sentence: Poor ting so likkle an’ wingy, breeze soon blow him whey.
sentence translation: Poor thing is so little and thin, he may soon be blown away by breeze.

Likkle more!
translation: literally, little more. If said when someone is departing, it means see you later.
example sentence: Mi run gone leave yuh, so likkle more.
sentence translation: I am running off and leaving you, so see you later.

Likkle more!

Peace and love


1 thought on “Patois Time Again”

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