Or in this case more like three (title reference is Kanye's Two words off the College Dropout album)
wasn't going to blog today or until Thursday this week (because Thursday I have to give you the ANTM recap and I must say that's sort of fun if I'm inspired) but I realized I still had a few things to chat about and I'll try to keep it short(er).
Today I wanted to talk about Bajan as a dialect or language or patois or whatever you wish to call it. Now I am no linguist or expect but growing up speaking this dialect and being immersed in the culture of Barbados I find that some of the words are kind of fun and plus I am just blogging whatever comes to my head so here goes.
Wont (will try not to anyway) go into alot of detail but I want to examine three words ...in a minute.
But first.... You may or may not notice it in my writing but showing emphasis in bajan is kind of cool. For instance, in regular English you would use the word "really" as an adverb to emphasize an adjective describing someone. As in "he runs really fast" or "he is a really bad man". In bajan this concept is achieved by repetition not only of the adjective but sometimes by shortening the adverb really to its adjective form and then repeating it and or joining it with the other adjective. Am I making any sense? As an example instead of "he is a really bad man" where you have an adverb adjective together (really and bad for you people that don't know grammar) we would say "he real real bad" the real real being the adverb showing how bad the person is or we would say "quick quick so he did gone" as opposed to "quickly he was gone". Or an ever popular comment in my household; "boy dat fella Jdid real real real ignorant". See three reals for extra emphasis which really means that when common sense was sharing out I was sleeping.
Also we might say "I hayso starving and this wuman cooking de food slow slow slow" which is actually even slower than "real slow" or "When the police get cross hayso dem three fellas tek off fast fast fast". In these cases we are repeating the adjective for emphasis. You understand? Anyway that was rather rudimentary but I just thought that it might get you guys to see that when you see me use terms like fast fast or slow slow, or quick quick or real real it actually wasn't a typo on my part but just me using some bajan in the blog. Too bad I cant emulate the accent for you guys. Actually maybe that's a good thing.
Anyway onto the meat of today's blog. Three of my favorite bajan words explained. Although I don't use them often and cant even think of anytime I've used them in this blog yet they are words that just remind me of home the bajan dialect.
(1) Ruff dry. Ruff dry is the equivalent of unkept or wrinkled as in if you haven't ironed your clothing and you are wearing it looking rather wrinkled then I might say 'but wait Bob muh brudda, you look very ruff dry today, wha happen you iron brek'.Interpretation: "Bob, my number one main man, your clothing is looking rather wrinkled today, did you forget to iron them?" Now along with ruff dry there is sort of an equivalent word or more so a similar but not exact term that goes hand in hand with it which is "rumfle up". I guess its sort of a bastardization of crumpled and wrinkled which gave rise to wrumpled but the w is silent and the p becomes an f and bajans pronounce it rumfle. For example "Man dem lockers at de gym duz be real real small and my clothes duz get rumfle up and got me looking real ruff-dry....den!". Now as you can see rumfle is used to apply to clothing while ruff dry applies to persons although ruff dry can also be used on objects but rumfle isn't usually applied to persons. I also threw in a few reals to build on the prior paragraphs.
(2) Obzocky pronounced ob-zock-ee. Now before we go into this definition I'm not sure I can claim this for bajans alone because I'm sure I've heard Trinis use the word at times. Anyway Obzocky is sort of difficult for me to explain (if someone can help me out I'll be much obliged). Simplest explanation is it means when something is put together wrong or incorrectly. Something may be in the wrong place or looks out of place or fits in rather awkwardly or just doesn't sit correctly. It is a term usually used to refer to both objects and people where something just doesn't fit in right. For instance I went to University with this one girl who for some reason looked Obzocky. I aint going to lie I used to call her obzocky girl behind her back (and no it aint nun a wunnah dat went university with me that reading this and I aint tellin wunnah who it is) cause she wasn't my friend and she didn't have the greatest of attitudes either. Yes I'm trying to justify why I called her obzocky girl lol. Anyway I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with her, maybe one shoulder was higher than the other, maybe it was something to do with her height, maybe it was her walk. I'm not sure what exactly was wrong with her but I was certain that something was wrong. That was clear from even a causal glance. And since I was uncertain what exactly was wrong and even if I knew what was wrong my brain was unable to describe it in proper English that the bajan adjective obzocky came to my rescue and so she was obzocky girl. Oh one note of caution before anyone uses the adjective obzocky is that it usually preceded by the verb look or no verb at all. For instance, "she look obzocky" or "she real obzocky".
(3) Third word is Backtafront. Backtafront or backtofront means just that, backwards, opposite,turned around or wrong. Turned inside out so to speak. First is last, up is down, right is wrong, left is right. You get the drift. As in "looka how you put on the chile clothes backtafront" meaning the clothing was put on with the back to the front and vice versa. Fairly explanatory isn't it. Now let me show you mistaken cultural context. Many years ago when I first discovered the Jamaican Gleaner site I went there one day reading some new stories when I noticed a link on the side under the usual section headings; lead stories, sports, business etc that said "Backtofront page". Now in hindsight I should have been smarter but hindsight is 20-20 and I guess I was in full bajan mode. All I saw were the words Back-to-front written rather closely together so it appeared as almost one word Backtofront which I knew as a Bajan word and interpreted as a bajan, mind you one without too much common sense, would. I also figured well this is a Caribbean site. These are my bredren, the same Caribbean people as me so maybe this is a word we have in common. Now mind you I never once stopped to think well why would anyone want a backwards, opposite, turned around, upside down, backtofront page on their website but well like I said hindsight is 20-20. So I am sitting there clicking and clicking this backtofront link expectantly, waiting to see the page do some sort of strange things to appear backtofront. I'm expecting the page to invert itself, stand up and do tricks, switch with the top at the bottom or the bottom at the top, reverse the writing so the left in the right hand corner or the letters upside down. Anything or everything strange I'm looking for and the more I click the more I convinced that this backtofront link thing just aint working at all. I'm peering at the computer, moving my eyes closer and closer to the screen thinking that I must somehow be missing this dramatic transformation that has changed or will change the page to make it backtofront.......Five minutes later it dawned on me. Oh they meant backtofront as in go back to the front page. Duhhh!
Now you see why the phrase "boy dat fella Jdid real real real ignorant" is so popular in my house right?. sigh!