Friday, January 31, 2014

A Guide to Speaking Dominica

So I guess it's been a minute since I last blogged...sorry!  Jonathan and I went home for our 3 1/2 week break and are now back in full swing here in Dominica.  We are finishing up our last semester here on the island which is CRAZY to think about.  At the end of May we will be leaving the island for good and heading back to the states to start the clinical portion of his M.D. before applying for residency.  God kept reassuring us that this daunting task of "4 years of med school" was going to fly by and be completely worth the sacrifice.  And He wasn't lying!  Jonathan has been in med school for a little over a year and has completed over a year and a half of work toward his M.D.  Amazing!  There are LOTS of things that await us in 2014...lots of changes, lots of excitement.  We are ready to keep pressing forward into our bright future!  More details to come about our plans in the coming months, but for now I thought I'd keep it on the light side...

Here in Dominica, the locals mostly speak English that is laced heavily with Creole accent and slang. Patois (which is much like French Cajun...) is spoken intermittently as well.  After living here for over a year, I've gotten pretty accustomed to their slang and their terminology.  It took a while though!  So, for your enjoyment, here are some tips on "Speaking Dominica"

Irie (eye-ree) - This word can be used as a response to "How are you?", a greeting when you're feeling good, or a general term for "Chill out man, everything is alright."

"I Cool" - This phrase can be interchanged with Irie to express a feeling of contentment.  "How are you today Peter?"  "I cool, mon, I cool."

Vexed - Oh no, you should never be vexed.  This can be a state of mind, or an action.  If you yourself (or someone you know) is vexed, it means they are REALLY not happy.  If you are being vexed by someone, it means they are wishing you ill or angry with you and wanting you to be punished.  Sometimes if a Dominican is feeling particularly "vexed" they might even say they are "bexed"...that's Patois for "really stinkin' pissed"...

Pear - It's not the fruit that you think it is.  It looks and tastes nothing like a Bartlett pear or anything similar.  A pear in Dominica is an avocado.  And the avocados are MASSIVE here...

Jelly Nut - This is a coconut at a specific point of "gestation".  The insides are like jelly...not like the dried stuff you can find at the grocery store.  They are yellow on the outside.

Breze (breezy) - This is the general blanket term used to describe any and all laundry detergent.  I'm guessing it's because this brand might have been the one and only brand sold here for a long time.  It's basically grated up laundry soap in a plastic sealed bag (kind of like what you find brown sugar in).  To use it in a sentence like the Dominicans do, "I going to put it in de breze wata..."  Translation: I'm going to wash it with detergent.

Biscuit - Not like Jimmy Dean style.  A biscuit is a cookie here in Dominica...

Paw Paw - a papaya

For True - This means kind of like "Definitely" or "That's right".  Dominicans also us it as a surprised expression like we would use "Really?!"  For instance, "I saw her kissing that boy over there!"  "Oh no...for true??"  They also use it in the affirmative as in "Apple starts with the letter A Mrs. Womack!" "For true!"

Vest - This is the term Dominicans use for tank tops that you wear as underwear.  So like what I would call a "camisole" or a tank, they would call a vest.

Baggy - Learned the hard way that baggy doesn't mean like a ziploc bag here in Dominica.  Baggies are little kid underpants...

"Born Drunk" - This is a term (which sounds derogatory but really isn't) for a child who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Not So - This term is used like we would use the term "Isn't that right?"  For instance, "There is milk at the grocery store today, not so?"

Provisions - This is a blanket term to describe anything on a plate of food that is not the "main course".  We would say "sides"...

Bajou - There's that French Cajun connection.  Bajou is how you say hello in Patois.  Sound a little like bonjour??

Sakafet - I'm not entirely sure on the spelling of this (I'm not sure the Dominicans all really agree on the spelling either).  But sakafet means "How are you?"  To which you might respond "Irie mon" or "I cool, mon, I cool"

Okay - This was a term I had to get used to.  When you pass a Dominican on the street, usually (if you don't know them personally) they look a little mean.  But the second you smile and say Good Morning!, Good Afternoon!, or Good Night! (i.e.-good evening), they light up with huge sweet smiles and say "Okay!".  Wait...what?  It sounds a bit like they're saying "Ok whatever you crazy white chick."  But really, that's an affirmative acknowledgement that they heard your greeting and are returning it...

Bonswa - This means goodnight. We say this to our favorite driver Peter whenever he drops us off in the evening.  Sounds a bit like bon soir, not so??

So there you have it.  Several of the Dominican terms we hear quite often around here.  Hope you guys enjoyed!  Bonswa!

No comments:

Post a Comment

A Different Kind of Flair