Saturday, June 18, 2005

Oh brother!

This country ain’t had no television ‘til the 1980’s. True, true story, I ain’t telling no lie.

What me and my family, relatives and friends had for entertainment?

Real life.

Real reality, and conversation...gyaffing in we verandah, and around the table.

And stories like what my brother who live Abroad email to tell me yesterday.

He ask me when last I see M., a man he used to know here. Then he launch into a tale of ‘something’ that happen to M. a while back...

Years ago a man chopped off M.’s head, so the story goes, and M. walked with his head from Plaisance backdam to I.B. who took him to hospital where he was declared dead.

He miraculously recovered and every year since then, on his birthday, M. would find the man who chopped him, and beat him up.

One year M. was in the BUSH doing gold digging work, on his birthday and was lamenting that "this year de man escape". That same day he heard that the man was in a camp 20 miles away.

M. packed up his tools and told his companions "ah coming back later".

He walked the 20 miles, beat up the man and walked the 20 miles back to the camp where he had a little sleep before morning.

As we does say in Guyana, “tek half, leff half.” Take half, leave half.

Believe what you want to believe, and leave the rest.


Anonymous said...

Hello GG!!! Is this one similar to that movie named,I don´t know how to say that in English, here in Brazil the movie was reNAMED as Crops´revenge, things like this, a movie which a guy is killed in his tent by some teenagers, then he returns from death with a pair of scissors on his hands to kill the people who burned him. Did you watch this movie. GG, I am, right now, working on a PROJET to be admitted as Master of Arts student at the University of Brasilia here in Brazil. I intend to research the Creolese language. Well, it goes like this, the name of the thesis is "The Creole and the informal English languages written by the Guyanese people." On this research, I WANT to research three topics, number one, What is the basic structure of the written grammar of the Guyanese Creole, number two,Are Creolese and Informal Guyanese English the same language. and the last one is, do Guyanese people know the difference between Creolese and informal Guyanese English. What do you think about it,GG and how can you help me develop this research. Well, I am looking forward to reading your answer and the next text written by you.

DCveR said...

Here we say "mais coisa, menos coisa". Something more, something less. Meaning something like your take half, leave half.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Obrigada, Dcver. Thank you.

So you do have something similar. Hmm...maybe our phrase 'take half, leave half' came from the Portuguese immigrants who came to Guyana.

Do you have 'dark humour' like in this story here, in Portugal? Here we relish it, lick it up, slurp it. And we laugh. Sick lot, we are, haha...

Anonymous in Brazil, I've never seen that movie, Crop's Revenge.
But this story here is based on a true event, something that actually happened. But we Guyanese love to dramatise, and add colour and humour.

The man M. was indeed chopped on the back of his neck, and every so often, he does beat up the person who chopped him, everytime he sees him.

Now, as for is, as far as I know, a language with a grammar all by itself. It is not 'Informal English.' There are different stages of Creolese.

Guyanese know the difference between English and Creolese, though not many may be able to speak English well, or read or write.

I will pass your questions on to a cousin who studied Linguistics, and ask her to comment.

By the way write Enlish so well, it makes me ashamed that I who studied Portuguese, can barely manage a few phrases now.

DCveR said...

Dark humour? No... Not in Portugal, didn't you knew we only have fado and other sad songs? We have no humour. Except from really, really heavy sarcasm, strong irony and the darkest and sometimes slightly sadistic humour. Just dark? No, tar pit black is more like it.
Of course sometimes this tends to get us into trouble, whenever we are talking with someone from northern countries, they don't get it and think we actually mean everything we say.
Thank you for the compliment. How come you studied Portuguese?

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks a lot for the help, GG. Tell your cousin if she would like to contribute for my studies on Guyanese Creole, I am going to be very happy. If she has MSN MESSENGER, tell her my MSN Messenger address is Oh, and I graduated in Letras here in Brazil, a course, which in part, corresponds to Linguistics, at least, the focus of Letras is on Linguistics, Literature, Languages (in my case, Portuguese and English).... Well, again, thanks for the support.

Bye for now!!!


analis.M said...

Well I read dis story here and I KNOW only one person in me family who could tell such a gory story. We shall call the first story on Guyana Girl’s blog – The Gory Story!

Okay well here is another story told by the Brother of the Teller of the Gory Story –my older cousin.
Well the Brother of the Teller of the Gory Story was much older than me but when I was little I remember him playing Ludo with me for hours on end. I won because he let me cheat. I used to wait for him for hours to play Ludo with me.

One day, it was hot and sticky and I sat in their living room waiting …waiting…sweat making behind my knees slippery - but I waited.

He came home. I heard him come through the back door.

Ah…finally we could get down to this Ludo game.

But then I heard low, hushed voices. What was he saying? I listened. Now I’m sorry I did. I was not able to play Ludo that day.

He was telling his mother (my Aunty) the story of his friend’s cousin. It happened a few hours ago.

Someone was killed, I heard. ‘He’ had an argument with someone…he got into a fight…the neighbor sliced him….his stomach…he ran for half a mile holding in his intestines to keep them form falling out.

I was seven…I remember imagining a man running – running down the road…dark red blood spilling through his fingers as he ran…trying to hold his innards in. They are slippery…they slip, slide…he slips ….he slides.

I have thought about this image so many times in the years to come. I’m sorry I waited to play Ludo that day. I should never have listened.

“Man’s inhumanity to man” -my mother says. This is the curse of our species. No other species does it. We punish and hate each other –we do such cruel things to each other.

This too is life in Guyana!

(sorry if this was a bit of a downer!)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Bom dia, buenas dia, bonne jour and good morning everyone.

Dcver, ah yes, I've heard OF fado, but never heard any.

Sooo, that pitch black humour must've been brought here too, by the immigrants from Portugal.

Yeah, haha, isn't it hilarious how others don't understand it? My cousin wrote that in some comment, about others not getting it.

I started studying Portuguese when I was at the university of Guyana, my choice required a foreign language, and Brazil is our

And now I'm rusty with it like an old pipe.

Paulo, I thought you were a Guyanese studying in Brazil and that's why your English is so good!

Okay Paulo, I hope my cousin responds soon. She's a good girl, and she will.

Ever visited Guyana? Our neighbours are Brazilians. Miners. :-( But there are some really nice people from your country living, working here.

Analis.M...yes, the gory story was written by older brother. The one who used to ask you, 'have you seen your mother's baby standing in the shadows?'

Was it older brother or second brother who came home with the sad story of the friend's cousin?

No, no, don't apologise for sharing your sad story. It is what life is, I never even knew this had happened to you. Love you, chile, you's a sweet, sweet cuz. xx

analis.M said...

Dear GG
Me love you too not only cause you is me cuz cause you (and me tell you dis plentii time areddi) can instill inspiration in people and dat is someting rare indeed. You duz me me want to go out and run a mile or paint a wall or trim a tree...something.
( was second brother who was my Ludo Playing Bud!)

Anoop said...

Ludo..... wow. I played it last month.... lol....

Guyana-Gyal said...

So analis.M...what you doin' today? Painting? Writing? Running a mile? [I wish I can inspire me sometimes, gargh.]

Growing up with them brothers was fun, eh?

Who did you play Ludo with Anoop? Your little daughter? If with her, I hope you let her win.

Ludo would be fun for a bunch of grown-ups if there's lots of food, arguing, laughter, cheating and so on...

kungfu mama said...

hm! me never haff to go far to find some people who does cheat...dem living wid me, an de nerve of dem, dem does give you some sad sad face and you got to help dem win checkers dem does move dem pieces up an tek off me wan an ask if dem can move up leeeeell mo..i tell you..dem two dis..ask Cousin L bout de cheating an de racing in de back yard....

me know dat boy dat got killed,,was in Albertown/Albouystown? it memba he...was friend cousin, friend was friend to both brothers but closer to the 2nd wan...up till now to...

and wha bout dat bai who dem seh kill heself? he wasnt left me nah know how he kill heself..he sistah seh he didnt do i believe that...that ting does grieve me so till...sigh...

Anoop said...

My daughter and I were a team and we played a serious game with family friends... we won :).... fair and square.

DCveR said...

Ludo... reminds me of days long ago, when I was a kid. Guess the kids today do not even know what that is, board games are disappearing, at least in Portugal. As for fado, I can always try and send you some mp3.

Ale said...

That's a very energetic story-
makes me want to go beat someone- hehe

I guess here in the US we say:
"take it or leave it"

hope no more power outages for you-

Dan Flynn said...


re your sad story, remember as well that sometimes you can't fit a cigarette paper between tragedy and comedy. I'm not saying that what happened to that poor man was not tragic however children also like gory stories and ghost stories and joke stories, if there's comedy in tragedy children will find it. That's why they embarass us by laughing at funerals and stuff.

As for Ludo, you'll all be pleased to hear it's still popular in the UK, as is snakes and ladders. Go into any toy shop or dept store and you can buy a compendium (I love that word, compendium)of games. Always in a cardboard box and on the lid a design showing the board games inside. In a clear plastic bag you get two dice, loads of checkers for tiddly winks, ludo, snakes and ladders, chinese checkers, backgammon etc. Great when camping with kids, great at Christmas. Even my 10 year old nephew, who is surgically connected to his playstation/gameboy cannot resist the murmur when the lid comes off that box.

analis.M said...

For Paulo:

There is no such thing as Informal Guyanese English. When we are "informal" we use Creolese as our medium of communication. The informality of it is expressed in Creolese.

Yes most Guyanese people DO know the difference between Standard English and Creolese.

There are two MAIN languages spoken in Guyana...Creolese and Standard English. there are however different "lects" of the Creolese.

Guyana is the ONLY country that has CREOLESE as its first language …all other countries have a Creole. There is a distinction there too.

Guyanese Creolese draws its lexicon from African, English and Indian (Amerindian too) words and its grammatical structure from a particular (or a few) African language(s). I am guessing it would be from the African countries that sent people here.

I used to do a lot of research into Creolese and I read a lot of articles and books by Linguists who came to Guyana to study Creolese and there is as far as I know…no such thing as Informal Guyanese English that is distinct (and separate from) Creolese.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Paulo...see what Kung Fu Mama writes? THAT is pure creolese. She's good at it.

Kungu Fu Mama, I do not think my nephews cheat, they're just good little boys.

Yes, KFM you do know the friend's cousin who was killed. Tragic. It haunted me for years.

Aw, Anoop, that is so sweet, you and your little daughter as a team. She must be a very bright child.

Dcver, so how do grown ups and children interract in Portugal today? With us it's story telling and games.

Ohhh, can you post fado here? I'd love that, then everybody can enjoy.

[If not, you can post it on your blog, and we'll ask everyone to go and listen. I can't wait to hear fado!]

Speaking of which, Anoop started a discussion about culture...all anyone has to do is click on his name here and it will take you to his blog to join in the discussion.

Ale, this: "makes me want to go beat someone-hehe" is wicked and funny. Sounds like the kinda thing my brothers would say.

Okay's Dan talking to you.

Truly Dan? Kids in England still love board games? Wonderful. Gosh, you make it sound so good, I can just go haul out that Monopoly. No, Pictionary, I loooove Pictionary.

analis.M said...

I love the comment about not being able to fit a ciggie paper between tragedy and comedy because it’s so true!

Take “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” for instance. Comedy? I almost peed myself laughing! Horrendous ? oh GOD, Yes!

About kids embarrassing grown-ups….according to my family I was a mouth with feet waiting for a chance to say something that would make everyone cringe with shame! Guyana-Gyal will tell you about the time my (now) brother-in-law was dating my older sister and he used to come to our house with holes in his socks.
I saw it fit to inform him that his socks were …er…rather well ventilated. I thought he should know. MAYBE he didn’t know!

Comedy??? …fur shure! At that moment I’m positive my sister thought it a tragedy that I was born.

analis.M said...

This comment is for Dan Flynn...about the blog "I'm so Offended"

(Sorry Guyana-Gyal about posting a comment on your site for someone else...his site won't allow REGULAR people seeking anonymity to leave comments) ;)

Well ...yes loads of music suck these days!

But to defend the music of today, recently my brother came by and he put on a CD ...Simon and Garfunkle. Now they are like from way back in the 70s, right?

I have never heard a song that SO disturbed me (obviously not in the same way as the song offended Dan)as this one called Down in the Willow Garden! (I was told that it was a poem but to music) (arggh)

WHO...WHO, I ask you would write a song/poem as MORBID as that and WHY would ANYONE sing such a song.

My brother (weird cause he's my older brother...aren't they supposed to be weird?) LOVES this song and knows all the words to it.

HIGHLY disturbing. I grew up in the same house with him! (yikes)

Anonymous said...

GG, thanks for the responses.
Well, first of all, no, I am not Guyanese, but, to tell you the truth, sometimes, I feel like one. Why. Because I guess I know a lot about Guyana and I have been observing this country for a long time now. Since I started to have internet access at my home at the end of 1999,there has not been a day which did not visit any site related to Guyana. So, that meanns, that Guyana Chronicle and Stabroek News are really familiar with my surfing around. I have found many and many Guyanese friends through the Forum like yours,but most of my Guyanese friends live abroad,mainly, in the United States. Sometimes, I think they have been too Americanized, then, I don´t feel i am talking to a Guyanese citizen, that is why I have been insisting on having Guyanese friends based in Guyana. Well, I am sorry, but I have not visited your country, although we are neighbors, but I live in the Western and Central part of the country, I am near Bolivia, so, I am far away from you now. You are quite nearer Manaus, for instance than I am. For me to go to Manaus,I still have to go through the ship for like 5 to 6 days traveling. Then, you just have to leave Georgetown to Boa Vista and from Boa Vista to Manaus, you don´t need to get ship and I do. So, I REALLY can´t afford to go there right now, but I wish I would as soon as possible and if I am accepted to study Master´s degree at the University of Brasilia, I am likely to visit Guyana, specially for the purpose of my research. So, thank you for saying that my English is good. So, Analis.M is your cousin. Analis.M, nice to meet you, dear! Well, as you can see, I am really crazy about Guyana and its culture. Now, as for the Creolese language. Let me tell you, I have read some books about it and it states the same thing as you, but it does not say that Guyanese people, I mean,most Guyanese people DO know the difference between Standard English and Creolese, instead it says that most Guyanese people think that Creolese is not a language, but English spoken in an improper way, as they say "Broken English". Well, that sounds a little weired, because in every language,there are the formal and the informal variety, being the latter the standard language. I would say that Brazilians also have "Broken Portuguese", of course, that our informal Portuguese does not differ so much from the standard Portuguese,however, very few Brazilians are able to use the standard language which is in most part similar to the one used in Portugal. As far as I know, every English-speaking country has the standard English and the informal English. For instance, since GG states that Kung Fu Mama writes pure creolese and that She's good at it,so let me get one example: "me know dat boy dat got killed", so, that is Creolese. Well, in Standard English it would be "I know that boy that got killed." You see, I understood it and clearly well, I just could see some changes in Pronoun,D sound representing the TH, which many other English-speaking people from other countries also use. Well, for you to have an idea, Brazilians feel better speaking English with the D sound and that is the one I DO use when I speak English,although, of course, I write with the TH letters. You also mention that Guyanese Creolese draws its lexicon from African, English and Indian (Amerindian too) words and its grammatical structure from a particular (or a few) African language(s). I am guessing it would be from the African countries that sent people here.
Well, I read one article which says the same thing as you,yet, most of the words which most of you guys use to write your Creolese are similar to English, just a very few ones are not. In our Brazilian Portuguese, we also have many and many words from African languages and also Ameridian languages, yet, as in your Creolese, which most of the words are similar to English, most of our words are similar to Portuguese from Portugal and therefore, we call it as Portuguese, or Brazilian Portuguese. Then, I wonder if your Creolese could not called Guyanese English. Another thing is, the Portuguese people speak a different grammar from what the Brazilians informally speak and yet our language is still Portuguese. Well, like you, I hope to be doing a lot of research into Creolese too. As far as the Linguistics are concerned, I have read many of their articles online and I have been in touch with the Professor from the University of Brasilia,by the way, his name is Hildo and he told me in one of his e-mails that he knows John. R, Rickford, in person. I got in touch with John Rickford some months ago and I was advised by him to get in touch with the Languages Department of the University of Guyana and so I did,Mr Derek Archer told me he is going to put me in touch with a Creolese specialist. I wonder if you, Analis.M can not help me out on that. Well, you have already started,so, thank you, thank you.

Twine said...

analis.m,'member when you was a small gyal an yuh two wicked cuz G.Gyal & Kung-fu Mama (an yuh big sis too) used to put you to stan up on the veranda and holla out tings cross the road to me? An'Auntie N. lil orange mazda pack up wid children going to school. Yuh Bro T. and I used to open we lunchbox in the car & start eating....dem was good days.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Paulo...sorryyyy, my mistake...what Kung Fu Mama writes is not absolute, pure Creolese.

There are 3 kinds [if I remember correctly, I'm not a linguist, I'm only a creative writer experimenting with language]...the basolect, mesolect, acrolect.

The basolect is Creolese in its purest form. Mesolect is mixed with English, and acrolect is even closer to English.

Basolect examples: "Ay ma, tek out me eat.' Or 'Put ah bartan in ah receiver." Or "Look ee deh deh, deh."

Inflection is also can influence whether the person is demanding, or making a request which includes 'please' without actually saying the word 'please'.

Creolese is English-based, meaning, it draws most of its vocabulary from English...but its grammar is distinctly different.

From what I do remember, formal English and informal English are practised in any English-speaking society...meaning, the way you speak to your boss would be different from the way you speak when hanging out with your friends.

But Creolese now...there is, like I said, the 3 all depends on the area you come or town, your level of education.

Many, many 'snobbish' Guyanese [and this happens in Jamaica too, I know, but in Jamaica they say it's Patois] feel that Creolese is 'broken English', that's because they are ignorant linguistically, and don't know about it having a grammar all of its own. Also, to speak English is seen as being educated, and not poor or backward or stupid.

It's kind of like the way English in Chaucer's time was regarded.

Wow. You really are very far away! Yes, it's true, we can walk in the river when it's dry, over to that end of Brazil. And you have to take a ship.

I'll try to see what I can do about contacting for you, the people you've mentioned.

And yes, you're right about many Guyanese losing their Guyana flavour when they go abroad. But we're here, still holding on, being very Guyanese.

We...Guyanese and Brazilians have always been very good neighbours.

Twine said...

anonymous, everyone in Guyana speaks a varying type of creolese, depending on where they live in the country. For example, in Georgetown, creolese is more of a broken English similar to what you would hear in other West Indian countries. Furthur along the coast,the creolese spoken there has a very strong Hindu influence (from the indentured labourers from India who came to work in the sugar plantations. Also we use a lot of the original Hindu words for Dhal (chickpeas). It's great to know that someone from the outside has such a keen interest in our language.....good luck with your research

Twine said...

Gyal just read your previous comment on broken English! Wasn't being snobbish when I said I thought creolese in GT was broken English (yuh know me betta dan dat). Ah use the wrong word...meh shoudda say informal. hehe, enjoying dis blog...

DCveR said...

Well, let me think of a way to get the mp3 files to you. Due to author rights they can not be posted here, or in my blog... But there is always a way to get around that (do not tell anyone I said this). Like creating a phantom mail account, uploading the mp3 as attachments, saving the messages as drafts and letting everybody know that the password for that account is 'password'.

Now, to answer your question about the adult/children interaction... that is becoming a real problem to most middle class families (almost everybody, actually), because children see too much TV, too many films on DVD, play too many videogames and have too little quality family time. We still have the card board boxes with the classic games, but on one hand not many people buy them and on the other most of those who do buy them don't have the time to sit down and play with their children.
Sad, but true.

ps: as soon as I get the phantom account working I will post de address here, it will probably be at
Unless someone comes up with a better idea...

DCveR said...

Paulo: the words are similar, but most people in and from Brasil simply ignore the grammar. Also, you tend to transform foreign words, without translating them, and use those 'new' words although sometimes there is a portuguese translation to the original terms. Not to mention those words that are similar but have evolved into different meanings over time.

Considering all this, sometimes people from Brasil and Portugal have trouble understanding each other.

analis.M said...

Twine...of course I remember hollering across the street "Twine green ...twine yellow...twine brown"

Dat wuz jus because dey de want talk to you and couldnt get up the nerve to go knock pan you gate...dem use me! Oh the abuse!

All ah yuh used to raid me lunch "kit" and eat the lil scraps of meat off the chicken bones and the lil pieces of bred endz I leff back. haha all you ent got shame...

Oh TALKING ABOUT Creolese, I de just telling somebody de odda day how YOU (TWINE) was sharing a hotel room with another flight attendant who bought a dress dat de so ugly you had to close ONE eye and watch it wid de odda eye half open.

De po' American gyal ask you "Is this not the most beautiful dress you ever saw in your life???"

Twine: Yes...oh yes!...oh my gosh its so kung-see....its the most kung-see dress I ever saw in my life"

To this day whenever I tell that joke I want to pee myself laughing!

For all you NON-Guyanese "kung-see" is the creolese word for "shit"!

Anoop said...

Mind blogging this all..... This is a wonderful piece of information to have. :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Anoop, isn't blogalisation great?

Dcver, go for it, hmm...I'm now so curious that this weekend I will google fado and see if I can get to any sites to hear it.

Ahhh, yes, Standard Portuguese, and...

I heard it's the same with Spanish. Castellano Spanish and...

Twine, I know you weren't being snobbish about Creolese being broken English. I used to think it was broken English too, until I learnt otherwise.

When I say snobbish, I think it's those folks who LOOK DOWN upon Creolese itself, and scorn it, who are being snobbish certainly not me and you!

Hehe, I confess, was me who did teach little cuz to taunt you across the road. shame.

My goodness, analis.M, the things you remember.

Anonymous said...

omg Iremember that kung-see joke.I remember that incontinent feeling when I heard it..
GG How many people other than a Guyanese would get "EE deh deh deh"
By the way being not literate in blogese what is LOL? and analis wha is BGsomething or the other. And by the way me is you big sissy how come you neva tell me bout the gory story?

Guyana-Gyal said...

Cuz in Seattle, how you fill me heart with gladness. Oh oh I so happy to hear from you.

LOL is laugh out loud. Somebody had to tell me too.

That gyal Twine is still verrrry mischievous, cuz, still very wicked.

kungfu mama said...

now bout dis creole, stik alla dem rass up ah contry likka corentyne an suh..lemme see who de tail gon figga out wah dem seh....

dis creole tingy ketchin good good, hubby ah tak lil lil hear he good good..ya tell dem dem bais off in swahili, den kachi, an creolese an duz buss laff

Guyana-Gyal said...

Good for hubby, Kungfu mama, swahili, kachi, creolese, americanese!

The thing that bothers me are those Guyanese who scorn Creolese, and look down on it. I wonder it they have what we call 'foreign mind'.

Hayden said...

my ears ringing and my mind is swimming - such beautiful language. Guyana-gyal, I was not being polite in my comment before. Your stories should be collected and published. I don't know what other people would say, but I believe there is a strong market for them here in the US. For 54 years I have read everything in front of me, including cereal boxes, and I have not heard these melodies and this humor. Here in the US this is fresh and new. It is the WAY you tell the story. I am so bad at the internet but could not find your email on your blog. Please email me if you are interested - I know nothing but I will do everything I can to make this happen for you - all because I am selfish and want a nice, tidy book of stories of yours to read. I have some friends who may be able to help. At worst, someone on your side is a good thing, yes? if you are already published, please forgive my ignorance and tell me where to find your books. Forgive my excessive enthusiasm, but I am so excited to read this....

Guyana-Gyal said...

Dear Hayden, your enthusiasm is very catching...and I too am excited about getting published.

As soon as I get over this dreadful cough [cold plus asthma equals nasty dry cough], I will reply to you. How can I not? I am very, very happy! Thank you.