Creole Proverbs of Belize

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Mar 13 00:35:13 UTC 2001

collected by Colville N. Young, D. Phil
University College of Belize
Belize City
Printed by BRC Printing Ltd.
36 pages, paper, $15 ($7.50 U.S.)
First Edition, July 1980
Second Edition, April 1986
Revised Edition, 1988

   There are 263 proverbs in this little gem.  If anyone wants me to buy an extra copy, act fast.
   A brief selection:

5.  Ax me no question, I tell you no lies.  If you ax me again, I spit in your eyes.
NOTE:  The first part of this proverb is a common saying in England.  The second part is apparently a local addition.

7.  Bad ting neba gat owner.
LITERALLY:  Bad things never have owners.
MEANING:  Everybody disclaims responsibility  when things go wrong.

16.  Blood ticker dan urine.
LITERALLY:  Blood is thicker than urine.  (An earthier version of "Blood is thicker than water,"--and in fact heard in country parts with an earthier word than "urine").
MEANING:  Relations before outsiders.

18.  Bokotora law.
MEANING:  The "bokotora" is a tortoise.  The actual meaning of this old saying is clear: it is quoted in situations where it's "every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost."  The problem is, what connection does this sentiment have with tortoises?  Perhaps the tortoise was regarded as a type of the unsocial creature (as compared to, say, ants or bees).

32.  Cuss-cuss neba bore hole.
LITERALLY:  Curses never bore holes.
MEANING:  Curses and abuse are harmless.

43.  Di olda di violin, di sweeta di music.
MEANING:  Quoted in support of old and experienced sexual partners.
(Not exactly working for me down here--ed.)

54.  Eena pus an dog heaven.
MEANING:  Very happy--"in seventh heaven."

68.  Fish get ketch by e mout'.
LITERALLY:  The fish gets caught by its mouth.
MEANING:  A caution against loose talk.

81.  From King Hatchet was a hammer.
LITERALLY:  From the primitive days when a hatchet served as a hammer.
MEANING:  A long time ago.

83.  Fun brings b'un.  (i.e. burn)
MEANING:  Pain often results from pleasure.

106.  If you kyaa(n't) ketch Harry, ketch e shirt.
LITERALLY:  If you can't catch Harry, catch his shirt.
MEANING:  Take what you can get.

126.  Monkey see, monkey do.
MEANING:  Proverbial description of imitative people.

144.  OL(d) no naat star.
LITERALLY:  As old as the north star--a proverbial comparison.

175.  Small axe fall big tree.
LITERALLY: A small axe fells a big tree.
MEANING:  Size is not always a decisive factor.

193.  To have bud brains.
MEANING:  To be stupid.

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