Monday, October 24, 2016

Culture Corner 10.24.16

Scornful Dogs Eat Dirty Pudding...

Sandy beaches... Awesome food... Reggae music... Ms. Cleo (jk).
These are some of the more common things that come to mind when most people think of Jamaica.

... And perhaps language.

Jamaica is also well known for its vibrant patois (partially due to the large success of the 1993 movie Cool Runnings, and the 1998 movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back [in which Taye Diggs disgraced himself, and every Jamaican everywhere with that awful, woeful, deplorable pseudo-Jamaican accent]).

Aside from the commercialized Jamaican patois, which includes saying 'Mon' at the end of every sentence (which is totally NOT a thing), there is actually an amazing wealth and depth of beauty to be found in... Traditional regional Jamaican patois?

I struggle to classify exactly what I mean, so I will explain...

My entire family is Jamaican. My mother is from Rock River, Clarendon, and my father is from Ginger Ridge, St. Catherine. Their accents are far removed from that commercial where all those super happy people sing "Come to Jamaica and feel alright!" (see below)

I guess what I mean to say is that I feel that my family's mode of verbal expression remains unmarked by any foreign or hospitality related influences. No... My parents' patois is rich with colloquialisms and proverbs that are just ridiculously awesome! :D

Jamaican patois... Translation
Nyam... Eat
Unnu... You/ You all
Pikkni... Child/ Children
Duppy... Ghost/ Spirit
Haffi... Have to (do)

Jamaican patois... Literal Translation... Meaning
Yuh want some licks... You want some licks... You need someone to beat you
Yuh too nuff... You're more than enough... You're overly dramatic
Blouse and skirt... Blouse and skirt... OMG
Yuh too red yeye... Your eye is ready/ Your eye is red (I'm honestly not sure which it is lol)... You always want what others have
Scornful dogs eat dirty pudding... I will not even pretend to fully understand this one :D (This one is my absolute FAVORITE [hence the title of this post] :D)

I find that though I am unable to produce an 'authentic sounding' Jamaican accent, I cannot help but partake in the language of my people to some extent... Like when I say "I'm going to my yard." (yard = one's home). Or when I randomly text "Mi mind run pon yuh, so me jus did a touch base." (I was just thinking about you, so I wanted to say hi.)

A lot of the old school slow reggae I grew up listening to uses similar language.
One super cool example is in Bob Marley's I Shot the Sheriff...

"Everyday the bucket a go a well.
One day deh bottom a go drop out..."

I think I would translate that as...
"The repetition of an action shall not go without consequences indefinitely."

I would like to leave you guys with one such song from my childhood~~~ Old school slow reggae is LIFE!

Tony Rebel- Fresh Vegetable

I need you guys to understand how HILARIOUS it was for me to try to type this!!!
My Mac kept turning duppy into puppy... haffi into half!!! 
Woooiiieee... ! Dem mekk me laugh, yuh see!!!

~ Clinton

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