Practice Your Kriol with These Belizean Proverbs and Sayings

by Giulissa Hernandez

Howdy, curious language learners and witty word connoisseurs! Today, we’re venturing into the heart of Belize to explore the delightful world of Kriol proverbs and sayings. Brace yourselves for a rollercoaster of humor, wisdom, and cultural insights as we delve into this unique language. 

The Kriol language has a certain rhythm and tone that makes it one-of-a-kind in the Central American region. While many indigenous languages linger in many parts of Belize, the nuance of Kriol has only gained more traction in recent years. You’ll find people from any generation and culture using it to communicate as it has become our unofficial native tongue. Here, we’ll jump right into the many sayings that travel the many households of Belize. That way when you visit, you’ll have your own to add to the conversation!

Practice Your Kriol With These Proverbs and Sayings

The local markets are the perfect place for you to practice your Kriol!

  • “Sake a mout fish get ketch.”

Translation: The fish gets caught because of its mouth.

Meaning: Big mouths almost always reveal themselves! This proverb reminds you that talking too much can get you into trouble. 

  • “If da nuh so, da naily so.”

Translation: If it’s not so, it’s nearly so.

Meaning: This is the Belizean version of saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” While things you hear might not be fully correct, sometimes it’s not too far from the truth! Usually used when it comes to relaying information or gossiping. 

  • “One plate a dinna nuh fatten maaga dog.”

Translation: One plate of food won’t fatten a meager (or skinny) dog.

Meaning: the Belizean way of saying, one piece of luck won’t change much about your current state of affairs! 

  • “Haad ayze pikni go da maakit two time!”

Translation: Hard-of-hearing children go to the market two times.

Meaning: This one goes for everyone, not just children! It’s reminding you that if you don’t listen carefully, you’ll have to do the work twice. 

  • “If e nuh buhn, e nuh dun.”

Translation: If it isn’t burnt, it’s not done.

Meaning: Speaking about cooking, this one warns that if it’s not well-cooked, it isn’t finished yet. 

  • “One one okro full baskit.”

Translation: One by one, okras fill the basket. 

Meaning: This one serves to motivate. While doing a task slowly will take longer, your persistence and dedication will get you to success.

  • “Greedy choke puppi.”

Translation: Greediness chokes the puppy.

Meaning: Reminding you that greediness can lead to your downfall. Belizeans and their ever-present wisdom!

  • “Cut da long bench shaat.”

Translation: Cut that long bench short.

Meaning: If there’s anything you know about Belizeans, it’s that we know how to talk! To “Long Bench” means to talk too much, so this proverb is telling you to zip it! Sometimes you have to put an end to a long conversation. 

  • “If yu no check di waata, no tek off yu shoes.”

Translation: If you didn’t check the water, don’t take off your shoe.

Meaning: Look before you leap! Always make sure to plan ahead and keep an eye out before jumping into situations. 

  • “Yuh blade, I wonder if yuh bade.”

Translation: You’re dressed up, but I wonder if you bathed.

Meaning: This one is more tongue-in-cheek and used as a tease for friends and family. “Blade up” describes when someone is dressed nicely. So here, you’re calling out someone’s great outfit by wondering if they took a bath or just changed for the occasion. 

And there you have it! These sayings are a mixture of humor and advice and tell you a lot about our culture. While these are just the tip of the iceberg, you’ll find many instances where you can interject any of these into normal conversation. If you’ve already learned your introductory phrases, now you can liven up a casual chat with a local if need be. If you’re ever confused, we love teaching visitors some of our phrases. Just ask, and the long bench starts!

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