Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Article in Pidgin

A while back, BBC announced a new program to translate articles into a dialect of Pidgin for its African viewers. I heard about it a while ago and I'm pleased to see this example about education.

*laugh* But you can tell it's really translated, because they missed a word.  There's a phoneme that British English uses but Pidgin doesn't, because some African languages don't either; Black English often makes the same substitution.

"Kaduna government bin don plan to sack more than 21,000 teachers for di state because dem no pass di competency test wey e set give dem."

Look at the rest of the article and you can see "di = the," "dem = them," etc.  So that should say "dan" instead of "than."

Yes, I could read the whole article and grok most of it.  I only missed a few words.  I'm still trying to figure out the exact tense markers.  "Don" is "done" and usually a past or completely finished action, as in Black English.  The article also uses both "pickin" (cited as coming from "pequenho" in Portuguese, but closer to America, the root is given as pickaninny) and "children."  However, "wey" is new to me.  I'm really having fun comparing this to other pidgins I have encountered.  Hawaiian Pidgin uses "wen" from "went" as a past-tense marker.  You can hear "What we wen hit?" and "It stay jammed under the fender" ("stay" = "still," a continuing marker) in Lilo & Stitch.  Jamaican Creole uses "pickney" for "children."

Apparently someone is making a style guide for a standardized BBC Pidgin.  I would love to get my hands on that, or even just a good-sized glossary.  With a very little help, I could write enough of this to use in dialog, like I have some of the other descendants of English.
Tags: education, ethnic studies, linguistics, news

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