Pidgin English

As I mentioned before, the most widely spoken language here is English, though the majority of the time it is pidgin English. I’ll provide you with a small sampling of pidgin phrases. After learning Jamaican Patwa I have found pidgin comes rather easily though there are some interesting definitions for sure. They like to add “o” at the end of word, which to me is quite comical and probably the most commonly imitated among expats. Example, “My money done finish-o”…and most common is “Sorry-o”. There is a huge spectrum of pidgin and learning in a village I am subject to a very deep and authentic pidgin. People here also like to wish you a happy Sunday, which I find hilarious. I in turn like to wish people a happy Tuesday and so forth, much to their confusion. The phrase “sorry” is used when you sneeze, have a minor physical injury like stubbing your toe or suffer any other type of ailement mental or physical. People will also use “well done” as an all purpose phrase; you can say this as you casually pass a stranger, see someone working or actually any circumstance really. They are also really into saying “you are welcome” whether you are just arriving, returning from a trip or even passing a stranger on the street. Pidgin is pretty crucial to avoid getting ripped off when traveling and most people appreciate it because very few people from rural areas can speak proper English. Probably good I am writing this at this point because I actually had to think if it is weird to say “well done” all the time because it is sounding more and more normal every day.

Carry go- take this over there

Carry come- bring it here

How far- how are you

How body- how are you

How dey day- hows things

No walhallah- no problem

No shaking- no problem

Go to come- safe journey

I am coming- I’ll be back

A beg- please

Carry load- have luggage

Plenty pass- more than

Pikin- child

Una- you or you all

Savvy- understand

You savvy my speak- do you understand what I am saying

Clear you- do you understand what I am saying

Well done o- good job

Dash- to give someone something for nothing

Chop- to eat or to take illegitimately

Machine- motor bike or chainsaw

Moto- car or van

Engineer- mason or equivalent

Waterproof-small plastic bag

Winch- witch and witch craft

Juju- black magic

Condemn- something that cannot be used again

Torch- flashlight

Mineral- soft drink

To put to bed- to give birth

You done come- you have arrived

Ease yourself- urinate

Go to toilet- defecate

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