April 19, 2007

Jidan kwait!

I learned another good word today (courtesy of AJ and old FR): Ngayab-gumi.

Ngayab-gumi is a Marra word meaning 'jidan kwait' in Kriol (lit: Sit down quiet) and it's a very useful word to use in the classroom for the Marra students who tend to get a bit restless (which is nearly all of them, nearly all of the time!).

The English translation of the Kriol phrase 'jidan kwait', isn't as straightforward as it seems. You'd be inclined to translate it literally as 'sit quietly', but I recently learned that you can be told to 'jandap en jidan kwait', which makes no sense when translated literally because you are telling someone to stand up and sit down quietly. But to 'jandap en jidan kwait' means more like 'stand up and be good/don't move/behave yourself/don't talk'. And so I think the best translation of 'jidan kwait' might be 'behave yourself'.

But anyway, I'll just embrace the Marra version, Ngayab-gumi.

3 comments:

jangari said...

Interesting.
Perhaps it's being treated like sit the stance verb, usually used in combination with a nominal or coverb whereby it becomes semantically bleached.
Whoa, perhaps Kriol is grammaticalising verbs and developing complex predicates. That'd be cool.

Philip said...

how about "settle down" ?

Wamut said...

yeah, or i was thinking 'keep still' as well.

but then i remember there used to be a sign in the library that said 'jidan kwait' but you couldn't really walk into a library and have a sign that said 'settle down' or 'keep still'...