In the words of the National Kriol Council: “Dis da fi we
langwidhj, dis da fi we life!”This is our language, this is our life!
In Belize, you’ll hear the nasalized chatter of Kriol everywhere. More than a colloquial language, it is a way of being. English may be Belize’s official language but Kriol is the official way of life. Perceived by some to be a dialect of English, it is, in fact, a language complete with grammar and spelling guides. A phonetic writing system based on sound rather than rules, the language can be mastered by ear, which is how most Belizeans have come to learn it at home. In a country that is home to a symphony of ethnicities, intertwined into a culture that is undoubtedly unique, Kriol is the expression of our unity.
Culturally there is special merit to being able to speak your mind in “Proper English” – it means you are well-spoken and educated. Nothing, however, compares to the poetic rawness or the severity of a tongue lashing in “Broad Kriol.” In a country that is so ethnically and culturally diverse, with many other native languages spoken, Kriol is the unifying system of communication.
Here are a few phrases that will have you sounding like a true Belizean in no time.
Hello/How’s it going? —Weh gaan ahn? orWeh di goh ahn?
Good Morning – Gud Maanin
Good Evening —Gud nait
Where is —Weh/weh-paat
Ex. Which way to/Where is the restroom? – Weh paat di baachroom deh?
What isthat – Da weh dat
Ex. What’s on the menu? – Da weh deh fi eet ya?
Really? Is that right? —Fu Chroo?
Who is this – Da hoo dis?
Visit http://www.nationalkriolcouncil.org to learn more about the Kriol language and culture.
Written by CC+L editorial team
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