Jamaica is a country full of interesting people, places and phrases. This mumble will focus on some of these phrases as I realized that just like our traditions, they are slowly being forgotten. Sure, you will come across members of the older generation who will sass you with a few of them, but some of the the younger ones have forgotten them, were never taught or are just too “hype” to take the time to learn their meanings and use them.
“One, one coco full basket”
Translation: Take things slowly, do not expect to achieve success overnight.
“Cock mout kill cock” (Cock mouth kill cock)
Translation: Be careful of the things that you say to others as the words we say might come back to haunt us.
“Wah gwaan bad a mawning, cyah come gud a evening” (What went bad in the morning, can’t become good in the evening)
Translation: It makes no sense to worry about problems that we cannot solve or take precautions after carelessly allowing a situation to get out of hand.
“Dawg nyam yuh suppa” (Dog eat your supper)
Translation: You are in trouble or something bad is going to happen to you.
“A nuh every thing gud fi eat good fi talk” (It’s not everything that’s good to eat, is good to talk about)
Translation: Some things must be kept to yourself. Some things are better left unsaid.
“From Whappy kill Phillup”
Translation: Refers to the past, something that happened a long time ago.
“Anything inna dark mus come a light” (Anything in the dark must come into the light)
Translation: Secrets will eventually be made known to others.
“Come wid yu two long han” (Come with your two long hands)
Translation: To arrive somewhere empty-handed.
“When trouble tek you, pickney shut fit yuh” (When trouble takes you, a child’s shirt will fit you)
Translation: When you are in trouble or stressed, you will have to adjust to the situation, even if you do not like it.
“Swap black dawg fi monkey” (Exchange a black dog for a monkey)
Translation: The same as “The grass looks greener on the other side”.
“Yuh diggin’ a hole fi me, dig two” (If you are digging a hole for me, make sure you dig one for yourself as well)
Translation: Karma. When trying to bring someone down, you might bring down yourself as well.
“Sarry fi mawga dawg, mawga dawg tun roun’ bite yuh” (Sorry for a skinny dog, that same dog will turn around and bite you)
Translation: You might do a lot of good for someone but receive nothing but spite, ingratitude and selfishness in return.
“Puss an’ dawg nuh have di same luck” (Cats and dogs do not have the same luck)
Translation: Not everyone will have the same experience and luck in certain situations.
“Cockroach nuh bizniz inna fowl fight” (A cockroach has no business being in a fowl’s fight)
Translation: Basically, mind your own business.
“Every mikkle mek a mukkle” (Every mikkle makes a mukkle)
Translation: Every little bit that you save, contribute or do counts.
“De olda de moon, de brighter it shines” (The older the moon, the brighter it shines)
Translation: The older a person is, the wiser he/she is supposed to be.
“Young bud nuh know storm” (Young birds do not know storms)
Translation: When you are young, you lack the experience needed to face certain things and as such lack wisdom.
This mumble has gotten a lot longer than I wanted it to and I still have a lot more to go. Seems as if I will have to split it into more sections, but until then I hope these sayings either reminded you of the ones you used to hear or gave you some insight into what they mean.