Pidgin English Proverbs And Translations


(16)
WHEN PICKIN START TO ANSWER IM PAPA BACK……YOU GO KNOW SAY IM DON DEY DO THE TING WEY PAPA AND MAMA DEY DO
English translation: If a child starts answering back rudely, it is likely that s/he is already indulging in ‘adult activities’
Context: Sudden bad behaviour from a child is likely to be as a result of deeper issues.

(17)    
DEM NO DEY TELL OLD MAN SAY IM MOUTH DEY SMELL
English translation: One should never tell an old man that he has bad breath
Context: Always respect your elders

(18)
OBA NO DEY GO TRANSFER
English translation: The King can never be forced off his throne
Context: One’s birth right is not transferrable

(19)
BIG MAN JOKE NO DEY DRY
English translation: A rich man’s joke is always funny
Context: Same as ‘Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan’

(20)
DIRTY WATER DEY QUENCH FIRE
English translation: Even dirty water can put out a fire
Context: Desperate times call for desperate measures – Same as ‘A drowning man will clutch at straw’
(21)
WATER NO GET ENEMY
English translation: Water has no enemies
Context: Acceptance – some things do not need much deliberation

(22)
BIG YANSH NO DEY HEAVY D OWNER
English translation: A heavy backside is never too heavy for its owner 
Context: Individuality – ‘Too each his own’

(23)
FREE FOOD DEY RUN BELE
English translation: Free food causes diarrhoea
Context: Same as ‘There is nothing like a free lunch’

(24)
WHO NO KNOW……GO KNOW
English translation: The ignorant will surely gain knowledge someday
Context: A reminder to the discontent. The grass IS NOT always greener on the other side.

(25)
OLD MAN WEY DEY CARRY SMALL GIRL NO SUPPOSE COMPLAIN WHEN D GIRL SLAP AM FOR PUBLIC
English translation: If an old man likes sleeping with young girls, he should not complain when they disrespect in public
Context: Self-respect. Same as ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’

(26)
FARMER WEY SLEEP FOR PLANTING SEASON GO SURELY HUNGRY WHEN HARVEST COME
English translation: The farmer who sleeps all through planting season should be prepared to starve when harvest season comes
Context: Failure to plan is planning to fail

(27)
PERSON WEY BORN PICKIN DEY STILL CHOP
English translation: Parents still have to eat
Context: The responsibilities that come with parenthood should not stop the parents from having a life

(28)
NA WHO KNOW MAN DEY KILL MAN
English translation: It is most likely that a killer will be known to his/her victim
Context: Caution — Those closest to you are more likely to hurt you

(29)
MONKEY NO DEY BORN FOWL
English translation: A monkey can never give birth to a fowl
Context: Like begets like. Same as ‘Like father like son’

(30)
BODY NO BE FIREWOOD
English translation: The human body is not the same as a piece of wood
Context: Humans have feelings/ limits. Same as ‘Man does not live by bread alone’

(31)
IF YOU COMOT YOUR EYE MAKE YOU FOR NO SEE YOUR ENEMY, HOW YOU GO SEE YOUR FRIEND ?
English translation: If you choose to pluck out your eyes because you do not want to see your enemies…How will you see your friends?
Context: Same as ‘Do not cut off your nose to spite your face’

(32)

COW WEY NO GET TAIL…NA GOD DEY DRIVE FLY FOR AM
English translation: God drives away flies that bother the tail-less cow
Context: God helps the helpless

(33)
‘I WAS ONCE A BIG MAN’……….NO BE BETA TING TO HEAR
English translation: ‘I was one a rich man’…….is sad to hear
Context: Repeatedly recounted stories about lost wealth/ past glories is sad to hear

(34)
THE PERSON WEY BORROW YOU TROUSER GO ALWAYS DEY LOOK YOUR WAIST
English translation: If you wear borrowed trousers, it is likely the owner of those trousers is watching them closely
Context: Better be a lender than a borrower

(35a)
NA COCONUT TREE WEY FALL, NA IM MAKE GOAT FIT CLIMB AM
English translation: It is only because the coconut tree fell that the goat was able to climb it
Context: Same as ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ or ‘How the mighty have fallen’

(35b) 
NA CONDITION MAKE CRAYFISH BEND 
English translation:  Extraordinary conditions made the crayfish get bent
Context: Similar to No 35a

(36)
IF E BE LIKE SAY EVERYBODY DEY CRAZE….NA YOU DEY CRAZE !
English translation: If you feel everyone is crazy, then its is likely that you are the crazy one
Context: Introspection is a good quality

(37)
ORDINARY FRIEND GO SAY ‘WAIT TILL MORNING’……REAL FRIEND GO SAY..’OYA, COME MAKE I FOLLOW YOU GO’
English translation: If you invite friends to accompany you on a journey/task….An ordinary friend will say ‘Let’s wait till morning’. However, a real friend will say ‘Let’s go immediately
Context: A friend in need is a friend indeed

(38)
U NO FIT SAY MAKE PICKIN NO GET BIG TEETH ……..BUT U MUST PRAY SAY D PICKIN GO GET BIG LIPS WEY GO FIT COVER THE BIG TEETH.  
English translation: One cannot prevent a child from becoming buck-toothed. However, one must pray that his lips are big enough to cover the teeth
Context: Warning — As you lay your bed, so you shall lay on it!

(39)
IF U WAN ADVISE PERSON AND EVERYBODI DEY SAY – ‘LEAVE AM, LEAVE AM..NA SO IM BE’ – U GO KNOW SAY DE PERSON DON DEY CRAZE.
English translation: If you attempt giving out advice to a person and everyone else warns you
saying — ‘Dont bother, that’s the way s/he is’ — You must realise the person is beyond
redemption!            
Context: Defending unsolicited advice OR warning one to accept a lost cause

(40)
IF YOU NO LET PEOPLE LAFF U, DEM GO CRY FOR YOU
English translation: If you are afraid that people will mock you; then a time will come when they will find you tragic

 Context: Similar to ‘Who dares wins.’ Whenever one is afraid to take action because others might mock you

(41)
IF PERSON DEY SLEEP, D TIME WEY IM WAKE UP, NA IM DAY BREAK FOR THE PERSON.
English translation: Whenever one wakes up from night sleep — is your dawn
Context: Regret is futile. Whenever one decides to make an important life-changing decision change is when his/her new life begins.

(42)
NO BE HOW BODI DEY SCRATCH PERSON NA IM PERSON DEY SCRATCH AM
English translation: You should not scratch an itch with the same ferocity you feel the itch.
Context: Calm down and think rationally. Easy does it.

(43)
WHEN ELEPHANTS FIGHT, NA GROUND DEY SUFFER
English translation: When elephants fight it is the ground that suffers
Context: Warning – when the powerful fight, it is the powerless who suffer.

(44)
D PERSON WEY SHIT FOR GROUND FIT FORGET BUT THE PERSON WEY PACK THE SHIT NO GO EVER FORGET.
English translation: When a person defecates on the floor, he might forget. However, the person who clears up after that person will never forget.
Context: A reminder to an ingrate.

(45)
WETIN OLD PERSON FIT SIDDON SEE, SMALL PICKIN NO FIT STAND SEE.
English translation: What an elder can see sitting down, a young person cannot see – even when up-standing
Context: Wisdom comes with age. More often than not, elders have more experience and wisdom than the young

(46)
TWENTY PICKIN NO FIT PLAY TOGETHER FOR TWENTY YEARS.
 English translation:  Twenty children cannot remain friends for twenty years
Context: Childhood friendships might not last forever – that is a fact of life

(47)
PICKIN WEY NO LISTEN TO IM ELDERS GO USE BASKET FETCH WATER FROM RIVER ONE DAY
English translation: A child who doesn’t listen to his/her elders’ advice will one day use a raffia basket to fetch water from the stream.
Context: A stubborn child who ignores elders’ advice will regret it in future

(48)
DEM NO DEY TELL BLIND MAN SAY MARKET DON CLOSE.  BY THE TIME IM NO HEAR VOICES, IM GO KNOW !
English translation: You don’t need to tell an blind man that the market has closed. He can tell when he doesn’t hear any more voices.
Context: Similar to: ‘A dog will always find its way home’

(49)
NA WHO MARRY CRIPPLE, KNOW AS IM DEY TAKE SLEEP WITH AM!
English translation: It is only a cripple’s spouse who knows how they manage to have sexual intercourse
Context: Similar to ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ and ‘One should not wash your dirty linen in public’

(50)
WETIN CONCERN AGBERO WITH OVERLOAD ?
English translation: Why should the motor-park tout worry about excess luggage?
Context: Similar to ‘Oil and Water don’t mix’

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