One of the beautiful things about language is the way we express ourselves in different ways.
For example, I can immediately tell whether a speaker is Nigerian if they come up to me and say 'Please, I want to ease myself' instead of 'I would like to use the bathroom, please' LOL
Anyway, I told my son off recently and I ended our conversation by using a pidgin English saying:
Me: 'Anyway, I have finished warning you oh.....who get ear make im hear!'
Cool2: (looking confused) 'Mummy, what did you say?'
Me: (raising my voice)...'I said - who get ear, make im hear! Don't you understand?!'
Cool2: 'I think so mummy. You mean that I should use my ears!'
Me: (calming down) 'Exactly! A word is enough for the wise'
Cool2: (now looking more confused) 'Huh?'
Me: (sighing deeply) 'This means if you are really smart, this one warning I have just given you should be enough or else..............mmmh!'
Cool2: 'Ohhhhhh.....but, mum....I don't mean to be rude, but........'
His remark is cut short as I throw him 'The look.' This is because whenever he says 'I dont mean to be rude'....he usually goes ahead and says something inappropriate - and I have warned him about this, so................
Me: (narrowing my eyes and looking at him closely) 'Yes? Carry on....'
Cool2: 'I don't mean to be rude....but....why do you like saying things like ...'a word is enough for the wise'......?'
Me: 'Because I like them. They are called proverbs or sayings. You will learn to use them as you grow older!'
Cool2: (skeptically) 'Mmmmm'
LOL.....As you can tell, this conversation that was supposed to end with my witty proverb gradually progressed into a lecture about proverbs
Like Cool2, when I was growing up, I was at the recieving end of proverbs, sayings and witty retorts from the older people around me. At that time, this annoyed me because the remarks were often delivered to admonish me or to end a conversation! Most times, I went away feeling 'emotionally bruised' because I felt I had been verbally lashed - given a 'verbal caning' - by the adult addressing me.
However, I have grown to admire the wit behind most of them - particularly the ones in Pidgin English and my native language. While they were often not welcome in the past, they often did serve as a wake up call!
Here are a few of my favourites sayings/ proverbs in Pidgin English and English (my native language will be too difficult for most to read) - and the situations they were used.
1st fave Proverb/ Saying:
'U no fit say make pickin no grow big teeth.......But, u must pray say d pickin go get big lips wey go fit cover d teeth.'
In English: 'One cannot prevent a child from becoming buck-toothed. However, one must pray that his lips are big enough to cover the teeth.'
Situation Used: Whenever - after several warnings - I still went ahead and did something/ insisted on doing something. It's almost like saying - 'As you lay your bed, so you shall lay on it!'
My reaction: Ouch!
2nd Fave Proverb/ Saying:
''If u wan advise person and everybody dey say - 'Leave am, leave am, na so im be' - u go know say de person don dey craze''
In English: 'If you attempt giving out advice to a person and everyone around him says - 'Dont bother, that's the way he is' - that will indicate the person is beyond redemption!'
Situation used: Whenever I complain that there's too much interference in my life. This proverb is a way of saying that 'If we stop interfering, you can take it that we don't care about you' OR
'We care about you and we believe you can do better, so that is why we interfere.'
My reaction: This is emotional blackmail! *smile*
3rd Fave Proverb/ Saying:
'If u no let people laff you, dem go cry for you.'
In English: 'If you are afraid that people will mock you; then a time will come when they will find you tragic.'
Situation used: Whenever I was supposed to take decisive action about a major life event and I dithered - because I was worried about what 'people' will say. This saying is to let me know that indecision - usually because of fear of failure or people's comments - could have dire consequences.
My reaction: Damn! This is a wake up call!!
4th Fave Proverb/ Saying:
'If person dey sleep, d time wey im wake up na im day break for d person.'
In English: 'Whatever time you do wake up from night sleep - is the time your day begins.'
Situation used: Whenever I had been complaining about things I should have done, could have done or would have done. This saying states that regret is futile. Basically, we all have different paths to personal development so whatever time you do 'Wake up' - is your personal dawn.
For example, a friend who has gone through a bad relationship recently made a difficult life changing decision - to call it quits.
When she opened up to me, she expressed regrets - about wasted opportunities, lost years etc.
However, she concluded our lenghty conversation by sighing and using this saying. The words really empowered her - to accept that while wrong decisions had been made, so long as she was healthy and alive; she still had a chance to achieve so much in life.
My reaction: Too true!
5th Fave Proverb/ Saying:
'No be how bodi dey scratch person na im person dey scratch am.'
In English: 'When you are itchy, it is is not advisable to scratch the itch with the same ferocity with which you feel the itch.'
Situation used: Whenever I have wanted to take drastic action i.e. wanting to angrily confront someone who has been a pain! Basically, this saying is advising one to calm down and think rationally.
My reaction: Easier said than done! *smile*
Oh, I could go on and on and on......that's why I have titled this post No. 1 - because I hope to write a post with all the Pidgin English sayings I know (and add any interesting new ones I come across).
So, I would now like to hear from you - what is your favourite saying/ proverb?....OR....Better still, do tell me any saying/ proverb that has stuck in your head - possibly uttered by your parents, partner, friend, colleague. *eager smile*