Dutty Fridaze 02: NegroVision of the Day!

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Dutty Fridaze 02: NegroVision of the Day!
Plus Common Jamaican Words & Phrases!

Cut by: Davita Cuttita

Back again for another episode of Dutty Fridaze!! Now with double the NegroVision!

Before we move on to talking like Jamaicans, we gotta learn how to dance like one!

The yearly Dancehall Queen competition in Jamaica is a very big event. Women from all different walks (and races!) come together to showcase their skills within the realm of Jamaican dancing and then the winner is voted on according to a panel of judges as well as the applause they received from the crowd. The winner is awarded a hefty sum of American cash, a trophy, widespead publicity and the chance to be in a music video for a leading Jamaican artist. It doesn’t just stop there, the Dancehall Queen will even tour the world during her reign and even after if she’s extremely good.

One of the most popular dancehall Queens is Junko “Bashment” Kudo, a Japanese girl and Dancehall Queen winner of 2004. Not only has this allowed Junko to open her own dance studio back in Tokyo, Japan teaching other Japanese girls the art (and trust, reggae music and dancing is quite popular there!) but she’s also appeared in Elephant Man‘s music video “Pan di River, Pan di Banks” (“On the river, on the Banks”) but she continues touring the world with a host of reggae superstars and DJs showcasing that when it comes to mastering Jamaican dance; race ain’t no thang. If Junko can learn Jamaican (which she has, just listen to her talk!) so can you. Here’s one of her performances in Italy and be forewarned/prepared: it contains a serving of big juicy bootay!!

Of course, the Dancehall Queen competition is no longer something that happens just in Jamaica. There are now Dancehall Queen competitions all over the world in countries such as the United States and all over Europe. Here is the 2007 European Dancehall Queen, Shisha (who is also my idol!):

OK, so now that everybody’s had their share of bootay for today, let’s start with our Jamaica Creole lesson! I hope you’ve studied your pronounciation, you’ll need it so you don’t make a complete ass out of yourself. I’ve included the “fancytown” and “fresh” English translations for all phrases as applicable. If you’d like to learn how to say something, lemme know.

COMMON JAMAICAN GREETINGS AND PLEASANTRIES

“A wah gwaan?”
Fancy: “How are you today?”
Fresh: “What’s up?”

“Waah’pm?”
Fresh: “What’s happening?”

“Everyting criss”
Fresh: “Everything’s cool”

“Mi a do good, tanks”
Fancy: “I’m doing well, thank you”

“A weh yu name be?”
Fancy: “What is your name?”

“Mi name ____”
Fancy: “My name is ____”

“Nyce fi meet yu”
Fancy: “Nice to meet you”

“Lay’tah”
Fancy: “Goodbye”

“Likkle more (still)”
Fresh: “See you later/See you in a bit”.

In this case, adding “still” at the end is like saying “anyhow”. So, if you’ve been with this person a long while and have repeatedly failed to go for some reason, it’s a bit of a polite way of letting them know you really have to go somewhere or are in a hurry and “softens” your exit. It’s like saying: “Anyhow, I’ve gotta go!”

COMMON WORDS
*Mi= I
*I an’ I= I/We
Wi=We
“Ihm”=Him/He
“She”=She
*”Har”=Her

(“H” is basically non-existent in Jamaican so it’s pronounced more like “Ahr”, kinda like a pirate!)

**It is very important not to confuse “Mi” with “I and I” because you will sound like an idiot. “Mi” is the exact English equivalent of “I”. “I an’ I” however, is used to refer to when you did something alone and has a bit more of an expressive quality behind it. It literally means “Me and God”–so you weren’t *technically* alone. For example: “I an’ I did a run from di dog dem” (“I was running away from the dogs”).

This expression is common for some followers of the Rastafai religion. However, it can also on the rare occassion mean “We” although “Wi” is most commonly used by all Jamaican speakers (and pronounced “Wih” and not with a strong “e” sound like in English).

Unnu= You lot, you guys, you bunch, etc.
i.e. “Unnu did finish di dinner?” (“Did you all finish dinner?”)

COMMON NOUNS
Bwai=Boy
Gyal=Girl
Mahn/Mon=Man
Ooman=Woman
Pitney=Children
Bay’bi=Baby
Sinting/Sittin=Something
Cyatt=Cat
“Dahg”= Dog* (I spelt out the pronounciation, this is still spelled “dog” in Creole)

PAY ATTENTION!
Dem=They
Dem=Those
*Be careful and watch for context as both “dems” have the same pronounciation but the vocal intonation and sentence will tell you whether the speaker is refering to an animate or inanimate object.

ex: “Mi waan dem ‘harange”
“I want those oranges”/ “I want their oranges”.
Watch your pronounciation and influxion! If you are out looking at oranges, you may mistakenly suggest stealing! In order to avoid confusion if you are having trouble with proper intonation, add “deh”.
ex:”Mi waan dem ‘harange deh”
“I would like those oranges there/I would like these oranges”

COMMON VERBS

Be careful to watch out/listen for “ah” to make sure you do not confuse tenses!

Chat=To talk, converse
Reason=Deep conversation
(i.e. “Wi did a reason ’bout lyfe”/ “We were having a deep conversation about life”)
Tek=To take
Tief=To steal
Sleep=Sleep

TENSES

Unlike English, there are no changes to the verb itself to change its tense. Rather, all verbs are always in the PRESENT tense and one must add articles to them to change the tense. Quite a few Jamaicans I know oftentimes write their verbs in the present tense while all the surrounding articles are in a different tense when they are writing in English and it is because of this grammatical rule. So, let us use the verb “nyam” as an example:

Nyam=To eat
Mi a nyam=I am eating
Mi did a nyam=I was eating
Mi did nyam= I ate
Mi waan nyam= I want to eat

Verb+”ah”=Present tense
Verb+”did”+a=Present, continuing tense. It is the equivalent of putting “-ing” at the end of a verb in English). Sometimes, depending on the verb, it can also be the equivalent of “was” depending on the intonation and context of the conversation.

Verb+”did”=Past tense, the action is complete and is not happening anymore. It is the equivalent of the “-ed” ending in English.

IN REVIEW…
“‘Ihm a drop”= “He is falling”
“Ihm did a drop”=”He was falling”
“Ihm did drop”=”He fell”
“Ihm did drop pan ihm face!”=”He fell on his face!”

WOO! So that’s the lesson for this week and just so you know, YES, we will be learning insults by the end of this month. EXCITING!! Since all the ladies have been doing all the work, may I present, as a reward, some male big juicy bootay! Totally one of my favourites since Sissy Nobby and Moi Rene. Enjoy!!

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~ by davitacuttita on February 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “Dutty Fridaze 02: NegroVision of the Day!”

  1. This is very similar to Guyanese creole. My mother is Guyanese, and she uses most of these phrases. Very interesting post.

  2. Hi Kristina!

    I’ve met quite a few Guyanese people and yes, there are a few similarities in word usage although it would still be quite chaotic to have a conversation with them in Jamaican as pronounciations, words, etc differ a lot!

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