Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Street Credibility...

I was watching an AY comedy skit yesterday night and couldn't stop laughing. Our 9ja people are really creative and they deserve alot of kudos for the progress in the entertainment industry. I must admit that I'm not a fan of Nigerian movies. I rarely watch them, maybe once in 5 years, but I'm a big fan of naija music, yes o! Anyway, I was watching a few flicks on Youtube and in one of them, people were asked to say the proper English translations for some phrases in pidgin English. For example, what is the proper English translation for "which kain mago mago be this?"

It was hilarious to watch people stumbling over synonyms for "mago mago". In most cases the first synonyms that came to mind were other pidgin English phrases like "wuru wuru", "wayo", "corner corner". After running through a couple of them, a few smart fellas were able to stumble on the proper translation: "what kind of trickery/fraudulent behavior is this?". Prior to my sojourn in the Garden City (PH! stand up!), my pidgin English was pretty much suspect and non-existent. I have to confess that Las Gidi pidgin is a bit too polished compared to the south side pidgin, lol. Ever listened to a fluid pidgin English conversation between 2 Warri fellas? Two words to describe it, Auto-tune! The natural voice inflexions and exclamations run the gamut from outrageous to sheer magic. Shooooo!!!

It got me thinking though, Nigerians are really smart people. Our brains process both English and pidgin so smoothly that the transition is almost imperceptible. For instance, I'll translate the first paragraph of this blog in to pidgin without pausing to think:

"I bin dey watch one AY comedy like that for nite and laff bin wan kpai me. Our 9ja people too sharp and dem suppose to dey collect better award bcos our show too make sense. I no go lie you, I no too dey send Naija film sha, I no dey even look am, kpata kpata once in 5yrs, but I dey feel naija jams, confam! Anyway sha, I bin dey watch some shows like that for Internet and dem bin ask some people make dem talk the oyibo word for some pidgin yarns. Okay make I ask you, wetin this word "what kind of foolery is this" mean?

That barely took 3 minutes, phew! I don't think I got all the words right, but you do get my drift abi? So let's see if I can put the street credibility of my blog readers to the test, lol. This isn't an IQ test, but you can gauge how advanced your pidgin is by taking the test below. I'll throw out a few pidgin words and you can try to translate it to proper (Queen's not Brooklyn Queens o!) English. In the spirit of Christmas, the first person to correctly translate everything/(or the most) will get a $50/25 gift card of their choice. For those outside the US, I guess we can monetize the award as well.

Season's greetings everyone!

A lil tip, some of the words are phrases/slangs/proverbs. Translating them to Queen's English implies a literal translation as well as an explanation. Give it your best shot, trust me, it aint easy at all, lol.

1. Nah today winsh begin fly?
2. You fat no mean say you dey enjoi.
3. No be the mouth wey pesin dey take price pepper dem dey use price tomato.
4. Na from clap party dey take enter dance.
5. Bros, I bow for you o! Unto which level?
6. Why you dey provoke, dem dey worry you?
7. Bros abeg park well, you too dey show yourself!
8. Guy free me, I no fit shout!
9. My liver bin wan fail me, wetin I for tell Press?
10. Abeg, no dey shout give me!


  1. 1. Did witches start flying today? - really, did witches start flying today???..lol..(means...there's nothing new here..)
    2. Because you are fat does not mean you have fun. -- this is self explanatory
    3. You don't negotiate the price of pepper and tomato with the same mouth. --
    4. Dancing starts from clapping -- (achieving something/a goal is a gradual process)
    5. Brother, I'm surprised at your behaviour. why did you do that? {...lol..I'm cracking up here oo}
    6. Why are you angry? Did some one annoy you? (self explanatory)
    7. Hey man, behave yourself. you are too ostentatious... (lmho here ooo..shebi u want queens english)
    8. My friend, leave me alone. I'm not in the mood... lol
    9. I was so nervous, It would have been embarrassing. (meaning..I was so nervous but i had to do it to impress my friends..something like that)
    10. Please, Stop screaming at me. {self explanatory}

    dude..you owe a $75 gift card..this game is worth much more ooooo...phew...

  2. I'll give the meanings:
    1. nothing new here
    2. just cos you look good doesnt mean u're doing good. looks are deceiving.
    3. is it not the same way you do X that you do Y. aka stop giving excuses
    4. everything big starts small
    5. I hail thee. how can you help me/us?
    6. why so angry? did someone swear for you?
    7. bros sit down somewhere. you doing too much.
    8. leave me. i cant be bothered.
    9. i almost blew it/shit myself(not necessarily literally). what would i have told X?
    10. pipe the fuck down.

  3. 1. I'm not surprised, this is something I have seen before.
    2. All that glitters is not gold. All things are not always what they appear to be.
    3. If you I'm capable of doing this, why do you now think I can't do that??
    4. Every big thing starts has roots in a small beginning
    5. Sir, I am tired of your behavior. Why all this?
    6. Why are you being short-tempered, is everything ok?
    7. Gentleman, please keep your ideas to yourself. You must think they matter.
    8. Sir, please leave me alone. I have said my piece.
    9. I can't believe I got scared at the last minute, thank goodness it still worked out ok.
    10. Please, talk to me without yelling.

    1. HQ_champion! I feel you! Confirmed queens English, I believe you die.

    2. Oshe! We go the school. Lol

  4. I like Femo's own the best, ah ah, I no fit shout. LOL...

  5. I'm not even going to attempt! Had more fun reading the 'translations', have to agree with Myne, na Femo wey carry cup, :)

  6. Thanks for the translations, had me laughing for hours. Big shout out to Femo from Perez, Mr UI from HQ and Chi-town's Izzie. I no go lie, to pick who carry 1st hard sha. But based on the rules of the game, Izzie's was the most accurate, but we suppose recognize the efforts of Femo and Mr UI, so they'll receive gifts as well!