Pidgin English

Peter Martin
29th November 2008, 12:56
At risk of sounding politically incorrect in the strange times in which we live, do any of you illustrious 'West Coasters' have any memories of 'pidgin' as it was spoken aboard ship by either the Kroo Boys or Crew?
I did hear, longer ago than I care to remember, that the Bible had been translated ito 'Pidgin' but am unable to find any substantial evidence of this.
Many words spring to mind; chop=food, dash = give, ( the phrase 'dash me oh' is engraved ito my mind!) Pickin = child(ren); dun spoil = broken.
All memories welcome!

benjidog
29th November 2008, 13:46
I always wondered why chop-sticks were so called. I guess you have provided the answer Peter.

ROBERT HENDERSON
29th November 2008, 14:20
At risk of sounding politically incorrect in the strange times in which we live, do any of you illustrious 'West Coasters' have any memories of 'pidgin' as it was spoken aboard ship by either the Kroo Boys or Crew?
I did hear, longer ago than I care to remember, that the Bible had been translated ito 'Pidgin' but am unable to find any substantial evidence of this.
Many words spring to mind; chop=food, dash = give, ( the phrase 'dash me oh' is engraved ito my mind!) Pickin = child(ren); dun spoil = broken.
All memories welcome!

Peter
I do not think any of the politically mafia can take offence at facts,can they?
Like you the only one I can remember is dash me oh, especially when the cook was emptying the gash bucket.

Regards Robert

treeve
29th November 2008, 14:36
Pidgin English stems from the crossover in Chinese and English; a sort of bits and pieces translation so people of different languages could communicate; it spread as the world developed. Certainly I have heard of the Pidgin English Holy Bible, and there are various dictionaries online for each pidgin English. It is a group of officially recognised languages, so no PC offence can be made or taken.

Captain America
29th November 2008, 15:13
I never visited West Africa, but I sailed with crew from Sierra Leone. I remember the pidgin they talked, called Krio, vividly. When I first heard it, it didn't make much sense. After a while I understood most of what was being said and used it myself. I remember the fitter telling me that his daughter had a book of Shakespeare plays translated into Krio and that his family had a Krio New Testament.

treeve
29th November 2008, 16:04
There plenty of references on the net for Creole/Krio

Peter Martin
29th November 2008, 16:58
A few phrases from the depth of my memory!
"Wa fo' you do dis ting?" = Why did you.......
"dis am de...." = This is the...
"de tin chicken" = Aeroplane

An extract from the Book of Genisis:- "der waz dis man Hadam 'an dis Woeman Heave....."
From the New Testament "...'an de Lord he dash Gabriel wun trumpet".

Andy Lavies
29th November 2008, 17:03
Pidgin was still in use throughout Melanesia into the 60's. I had a small booklet with pidgin translations from the Bible. The story of the Garden of Eden contained the words "Snek bilong God buggerup im you me!"

Gareth Jones
29th November 2008, 23:58
I visited Port Moresby in New guinea many years ago and the natives there had a pigin english developed from the bible and their contact with Australians.
Anything broken was 'Bagrup' (from the Australian 'buggered up').
A wife was a Meri (from Mary in the Bible).
I remember a headline in the local native newpaper which read :
" $200 buyum meri" accompanied by a picture of a local man and his new bride whom he had bought for $200. !

timeout
30th November 2008, 00:35
West African Pidgeon has some absolute gems, my particular favourite is "he der like he no der" meaning "that chap is inhebriated" invariably referring to an ex-pat.
The famous engine room one where "pass me dis ting" always resulted in the correct tool needed to progress the job was handed over.
Or the one that got me in trouble, because i didnt understand the reasons for a staff absence "my muddah is late" boy that nearly caused a riot, the guys mother had died, and i came down on him like the proverbial ton of bricks, thinking his mother was delayed in attending a function in the village.
Perhaps the most beguiling was the "I haf go ease mysel" it took me 3 months to realise what that was about.

Roger Turner
2nd December 2008, 22:31
I was once congratulated on my use of pidgin English - still don`t know if he was taking the mickey, but we did use it pretty regularly, particularly with the Kroo boys, taken on at Freetown etc, who lived in hatch tents and worked their passage at pretty well everything (they were artists with a chipping hammer - try thirty or forty going at once lying for a week outside Lagos, the mate was a masochist), including the Dhobi and apart from the rust stains they used to starch whites so stiff it was a job to separate the legs.
Bushman - term of endearment for one slightly off centre or completely nuts - it helped on the coast.
Go for Bush - involuntary attempt at a short cut up the creeks.
"Make we......." " Make you......"
Talking about kroo boys, some of them had wierd names
Steam on deck, No Mark,Poor man no friend are a few I remember.
My first trip on the Sangara, the "lecky" had one allocated for his personal use and he had a lovely set of teeth filed to a point - the lecky used to chivvy him and indicate they were there to "Chop am proper" i.e unsocial use on his fellow human beings - never did see a demonstration.

degsy
3rd December 2008, 03:49
When I came home on leave I would have me Dad in peals of laughter when we went for a pint on the Dock Road. We had a Headman from Freetown name of Danny Thomas he was supervising a ventilation fan motor being put back in the tunnel, about three of his gang on the rope and he shouts "UP SMALL". They pulled to hard. "DOWN SMALL" he screams having had his hand trapped he then proceeded to berate them "When I shout up small you do this thing or I will abuse you plenty". Other things I remember
" I go catcham slippy foot" = I will bring your request from the ER stores quickly.

" I sick for my head" = I am suffering from a slight migraine

" Why do you abuse me" = Can you explain why you are chastising me

And one day I was writing a letter in my cabin when the Engineers Steward came in with my dhobi looking very morose. So I asked him what was wrong "Oh mistah Derick I cannot see my woman I have no money" As I had some Yankee Dollars I said to him shall I pay you for the dhobi now rather than at the end of the trip. "Oh yeah mistah Derick I go ram jam rock again" and he left the cabin moving better than Michael Jackson(Jester)
As we where in Port Harcourt at the time I imagine he had women up and down the West Coast.

Another one " I no seeyam dis ting" = I cannot find the implement you have requested me to bring to you

degsy
3rd December 2008, 03:56
I was once congratulated on my use of pidgin English - still don`t know if he was taking the mickey, but we did use it pretty regularly, particularly with the Kroo boys, taken on at Freetown etc, who lived in hatch tents and worked their passage at pretty well everything (they were artists with a chipping hammer - try thirty or forty going at once lying for a week outside Lagos, the mate was a masochist), including the Dhobi and apart from the rust stains they used to starch whites so stiff it was a job to separate the legs.
Bushman - term of endearment for one slightly off centre or completely nuts - it helped on the coast.
Go for Bush - involuntary attempt at a short cut up the creeks.
"Make we......." " Make you......"
Talking about kroo boys, some of them had wierd names
Steam on deck, No Mark,Poor man no friend are a few I remember.
My first trip on the Sangara, the "lecky" had one allocated for his personal use and he had a lovely set of teeth filed to a point - the lecky used to chivvy him and indicate they were there to "Chop am proper" i.e unsocial use on his fellow human beings - never did see a demonstration.

The main problem with the starch in the dhobi was with the shirts, at least with the thin cotton ones from Silverberg's, when you put your fags an lighter in the breast pocket the stiching carried away. The gear I had made in Lagos was a lot tougher an cheaper(Thumb)

orcades
3rd December 2008, 05:17
Lef am go........put it down and go De fing aaa day no go now ...........The winch is broken Plenty power dare .... I virile man .... A day go bush now .............I,m going up country Dash me o ......Tip me I,ll remember more when I find my mind, I,ve not lost it just mislayed it

Peter Martin
3rd December 2008, 08:12
Nigerian TV of the 60's had some stunners!
"Don't sit on de fence; join de civil Defence"
"To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done!"
"You're brighter by far on a Star"
"My carburetor dun spoil!" (Mobil Oil: Lagos - Dakar Rally)
Although two of my favourite quotes appeared in the 'Nigeria Times' also in the sixties:- "Plans announced for switch over from left to right:- Lorries will change over on Tuesday 16th and cars on Wednesday 17th."
"Man hacked to death in fight over a yam".
Embryonic news gathering and editing was interesting as well.
I recall TV News coverage, without commentry, of a fire in a Lagos block of flats. People could be seen clearly on the roof waving their arms about to attract attention and hence rescue. Because they had no commentry the editor decided that music was better than silence. The music for "Teddy Bear's Picnic" may have seemed relevant to him - sadly, not to the wiewers.
Similarly 'Jolly' music was played at the time of the "Bar Beach Show" - The shooting of armed- robbers on Victoria Beach on a Saturday morning.
I feel sure that the press and media has matured by now and has reached the dizzy depths we experience in the UK. After all, when HM passes away I expect to read about it on page 16 of the 'Sun' or 'Star' - Surely they couldn't be expected to move the photo of the immensely breasted young thing from Slagthorpe from the front page; could they?
As I've always thought, we get the Press we deserve.- Happy days!!

sidsal
3rd December 2008, 16:03
When in NZ in the 80's there were books on Pigeon English from the islands. I bought one, loaned itout and never saw it again. It was hilarious. I just recall 2 things -
"Two-bum wheelie-wheelie" - a tandem bike.
"Basket hold-um two titties " - A woman's brassiere.
Sid

eldersuk
3rd December 2008, 23:47
I once heard the illicit drink 'Tombo' described as, 'You push me, I push you back. You look me, I strike you blow!'
A night out on that stuff must have been really something.

Derek

Roger Turner
5th December 2008, 11:23
Saw the programme Bob Geldoff made, I think it involved a journey from Ghana to Nigeria.
From what I saw very little had changed since my last visit (1962),mammy wagons,pickins,roadside welding,tarmac mid roads sand each side, probably the same sausidge flies and stench from open storm ditches, importuning "helpers" etc.
Somebody please tell me Lagos Customs wharf and the Buoys have gone, that the Kingsway and ED offices are no more and the dock road is a wide avenue,fringed with trees and flower beds.
Anybody been there lately?
Bet they still speak pidgin English!

Peter Martin
5th December 2008, 17:21
Found these pictures on Google Earth - I can identify the Cathedral in one of them but I'm jiggered if I can put a name to much else!

makko
5th December 2008, 17:42
I can only remember the ubiquitous "Sweet one!"
Dave

China hand
5th December 2008, 18:01
Tree saw a la Solomons.....

Akes im bilong toopella, pulimikum, pushimigo. Dispelatree imal bugerup.

joebuckham
5th December 2008, 18:04
was on the thistledhu, chartered to nigerian national. loaded glasgow, liverpool, milford haven for a multiport discharge and load back to many ports in europe.
sharing the hospital on the west coast we had two cargo clerks both who were very polite and interesting with a good knowledge of world and african politics. discussing the state of affairs in ghana one of them gave me his thoughts on the place of the african in ghana.
while not exactly pidgin, but the thoughts of someone fired up by the the government of kwame nkrumah he told me that "the black man was now all the same white man, no bloody good"

lakercapt
5th December 2008, 22:53
Kwame Nmkrumah was also know as "Osagifu"(spelling??) ''redeemer' so things changed!!!

Roger Turner
13th December 2008, 21:46
Kwame Nmkrumah was also know as "Osagifu"(spelling??) ''redeemer' so things changed!!!

I was told it meant "Master", but I guess in Biblical terms both words are pretty close

Roger Turner
13th December 2008, 21:56
Found these pictures on Google Earth - I can identify the Cathedral in one of them but I'm jiggered if I can put a name to much else!

Cor, it has changed a bit, if that is Customs wharf though, the sheds don`t look as though they have changed much, don`t see the buoys.I take it we are looking towards the breakwater with Apapa on the right and Tarkwa beach in the distance. Wilmot Point the would have been on the left hand side, where Elders had their Engineering establishment and I believe made good my first ship the "Sangara" after she had been torpedoed at Accra

Peter Martin
12th January 2009, 10:53
My elder daughter, on reading through this thread, remided me of an event a few years ago when we were trying to clear out some bits by way of a local car boot sale.
I was busy laying items on the ubiquitous pasting table (are any of these actually sold for decorating nowadays?) when I had my back to the 'punters'. I heard a voice "What am dis 'ting' - without turning about I replied ' dis am de juicer'. I then turned round and cast eeyes on a very large Nigerian chap. My daughters & she-who-must-be-obeyed were horrified at my reply. The potential buyer was completely at ease and picked up the Kenwood Juicer examining it carefully. He replaced it on the table and with a smile moved on to the next table.
A reflex response, on my part, I suppose. I summise tht experience in foreign parts and exposure to the language is always there but just below the surface.

slick
12th January 2009, 17:35
All,
From my Palm Line days (the early 60's), "Fine pass all" = The best.
When working cargo the Hatchman (Winch Director) would use the term "One Link" for just a little bit in the indicated direction.
One thing i remember well was the beautiful script of the Tally Clerks on the Cargo tally sheets all I believe from the Missionary Schools especially the Catholic ones.
I also being shown by a Tally Clerk in Sapele his WWII medals which included the Burma Star, being a young shallow and callow fellow it did not mean that much to me however in hindsight and some research I realise they were more than willing soldiers, humbling.
Yours aye,
Slick

hated buries markes
12th January 2009, 17:42
sounds like geordie to me

Peter Martin
12th January 2009, 18:01
All,
From my Palm Line days (the early 60's), "Fine pass all" = The best.
When working cargo the Hatchman (Winch Director) would use the term "One Link" for just a little bit in the indicated direction.
One thing i remember well was the beautiful script of the Tally Clerks on the Cargo tally sheets all I believe from the Missionary Schools especially the Catholic ones.
I also being shown by a Tally Clerk in Sapele his WWII medals which included the Burma Star, being a young shallow and callow fellow it did not mean that much to me however in hindsight and some research I realise they were more than willing soldiers, humbling.
Yours aye,
Slick
I also remember the Master-At-Arms who joined us at Freetown when I was on the Aureol. He was ex King's African Rifles and his turnout and demeanor rivalled anything in the smartest of British regiments. Some of the deck crowd used to take the p**s out of him getting him to 'drill' down aft. I wish I'd had the gumption to stop them....but I was a lot younger then.
What can have happend to all these faithful * loyal chaps when conventional shipping ceased on the West Coast?
Regrets.

Dunkwa
20th January 2009, 00:22
And the dreaded "mammie palaver".....I was told that it was caused by the dhobeyman putting too much starch in the shorts wash!!

7woodlane
4th July 2009, 20:57
One trip down the west coast was enough for me, but anyway one expression I remember from those days on the Zini. " I go for speak dis man". I took it to mean that sombody was going to be in trouble over something. I know it is a long time ago but do you recall the frantic call -- mango fly. All hands to the Flit Guns as these monsters terrorised the alleyways.

Dunkwa
4th July 2009, 23:31
I recall many expresions and phrases from those days long ago. One expression that comes to mind was "he don go for push push"...never did find out what it meant....one old bosun believed it had something to do with an Apapa bike race often held after a long States trip!!...happy days indeed.

holland25
5th July 2009, 00:19
I believe that Prince Charles was referred to as "Number one Picaninny blong Mrs Queen"in PNG.

In that well known Liverpool Shipping Company whose main trading route was to the Far East, a form of pidgin was used when talking to the Chinese Stewards. Phrases like "can catchee one piecee soup", spring to mind.However on coasting trips, some chinese stewards were employed, who had been born and bred in Liverpool and, quite rightly, reacted to being spoken too in that manner, by the unwary.

timeout
8th July 2009, 00:13
One trip down the west coast was enough for me, but anyway one expression I remember from those days on the Zini. " I go for speak dis man". I took it to mean that sombody was going to be in trouble over something. I know it is a long time ago but do you recall the frantic call -- mango fly. All hands to the Flit Guns as these monsters terrorised the alleyways.

What an abomination of a creature, the size of your big toe, and you could never feel it land on you, but did you feel the bite, and the festering mess it became a couple of days later. Deisel exhaust fumes used to send it doolally. The buggers always made for me, and the Nigerian junior staff used to say "see your friend" before capturing it, and pulling its wings off, leaving the body going round in circles at a million miles an hour on its back.

As an afterthought, the chief engineer explained to me, the sometimes dire consequences of getting bit by the sodding things, when i fist arrived in Nigeria, but said dont worry they dont bite scousers, which offered little reassurance as I hale from Widnes, with a slight scouse accent to those not from the area,
(a Woolleyback in scouse parlance)

purserjuk
8th July 2009, 14:30
One I remember was "mammy-book" - a letter from wife or girlfriend. Also does anyone recall the Story of Genesis which began "For the first time no ting dey dere, only de Lawd he be". I've got the full text somewhere.

Satanic Mechanic
8th July 2009, 14:55
Did the Kroos not speak a creole rather than pidgin

The one I always liked was

"By Godding Power" - By the grace of God

I still use it from time to time



Good time to mention 'The Sandpebbles' again

"I go make look see bilge pidgin you savvy"

norman.r
8th July 2009, 17:27
To follow on with the Adam and Eve thread I have attached one of the original Genesis interpretations.
Norman

kernewekmarnor
8th July 2009, 18:43
"da rain do commo"..... here comes the rain
"de shoulder do paining me sah"..... My shoulder is hurting me sirr
"no wahalla!"....no problem

China hand
8th July 2009, 19:27
Tree saw? Akkes im bilong twopella, pullim i ***, pushim i go.

A broken conveyor? Dispella mashin, im i all buggerup, fukup propa.

Methinks Marconi speaks the lingo well; is TokPidgin still the PNG official language, or have they gone to Toloi or one of the other coast languages? I don't think they would have gone to an inland taal, far too scattered; could be wrong??

K urgess
8th July 2009, 20:34
I used to know quite a bit of PNG Pidgin but seem to have got out of the habit for some reason. [=P]
Having seen that the two tribes either side of the Gazelle Peninsula couldn't understand each other's language I wonder if they still use pidgin as well.
I think it was the first such language to be granted official recognition.
Mind you whenever the two tribes met to play football it was almost civil war. That is until the ice cream van turned up at half time and they'd queue peacefully together. A favourite ploy of the local police chief to defuse riots.
There was a local district commissioner at Kavieng if I remember right, who committed a lot of it to tape in the 60s and 70s. I used to have copies but, for once, I no longer seem to have them hidden away anywhere. (Sad)
There are plenty of references to be found with a quick Google.

woodend
2nd December 2009, 10:45
At risk of sounding politically incorrect in the strange times in which we live, do any of you illustrious 'West Coasters' have any memories of 'pidgin' as it was spoken aboard ship by either the Kroo Boys or Crew?
I did hear, longer ago than I care to remember, that the Bible had been translated ito 'Pidgin' but am unable to find any substantial evidence of this.
Many words spring to mind; chop=food, dash = give, ( the phrase 'dash me oh' is engraved ito my mind!) Pickin = child(ren); dun spoil = broken.
All memories welcome!

Quote: somewhere in my collection of bits and pieces I have a copy of the first chapter of the Bible in 'pidgin english' which of course opens 'in the beginning nutting der der, only de Lord he be'. I will look it out for you.

John Woodend

Union Jack
2nd December 2009, 13:39
At risk of sounding politically incorrect in the strange times in which we live ....

Not in the least politically incorrect when one considers the wide and wonderful forms of speech in this country. An example from only last week, when driving in a remote part of Somerset, I was stopped by a local who told me "You don't want to go up that lane like - it's more thinner than what your car is."

Very funny, especially since I had just come down the lane an hour earlier!

Jack

Peter (Pat) Baker
2nd December 2009, 15:37
It is true that the Bible was translated into Pidgin.
We were in West Africa one Chrstmas (one of many) when we were told that the Bishop (or Archbishop) of Lagos would preach a sermon in the Pidgin translation of the Book of Genesis.
We went along and the Church was full so we had to sit right at the back.
The sermon began with the appropriate hand gestures.
In de first place notting no dere at all. The Lord came and he loo 'em wid his eye and He say you no get light. he go gib 'em light.
At that stage we had to leave the arena, and return to the party that we had recently left
Peter (Pat) Baker.

sidsal
2nd December 2009, 15:53
If anyone has a copy of anyopf the bible in Pidgin English, then I would dearly love to have a copy - I will pay any reasonable expenses etc.
Sid.
When in NZ I was loaned dictionary - wish I had bought it. I can only remember a couple of things -
Tandem bike - Two bum wheelie wheelie.
Lady's brassiere - Basket hold 'um two titty.

Satanic Mechanic
2nd December 2009, 17:24
Couple I always liked were

a) In Sierra Leone Krio " By Godding power" - by the grace of god and

b) In Chinese pidgin - how tight a nut had been tightened

one turn tight = nipped
two turn tight = well tight
three turn tight = flogged and then some

K urgess
2nd December 2009, 18:51
It all depends on which Pidgin Bible you want. They're all different.
There are versions for Cameroon, Hawaii, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Sierra Leone..........
A google search brings up most of them.

woodend
18th December 2009, 07:53
I discovered this letter some 40 odd years ago in a paper in East London, South Africa and put it amongst my 'collection. If it is of interest I have hopefully attached it.
The first time I heard it recited was when I was a fist trip apprentice on the DEIDO in 1956 and it was 'the mates' party piece.

John W.

K urgess
18th December 2009, 13:09
A Pidgin English dictionary for the residents of Port Moresby
http://www.june29.com/HLP/lang/pidgin.html

Hamamas Krismas na i got planti samting nupela yia long olgeta hia!

woodend
5th April 2010, 20:07
I tried to upload this file a while ago in case anyone was interested in reading the first chapter of the bible in 'pidjin english'. However with my limited knowledge of computers I do not think I was successful so I have tried again.
This used to be a 'party piece' wheeled out by various senior members of the deck department. I do this in tribute to Ginger Green who was the Chief Officer of the DEIDO on my first voyage as an Apprentice in 1955.

trotterdotpom
6th April 2010, 02:46
Culminates with Jesus getting the "chop" after the last supper!

It seems E.D.s have a lot to answer for. Thanks for "dashing", Woodend.

John T.

CLIVE R786860
6th April 2010, 03:45
My fren for dis man one stick of smoke an scratch,ED boat 1965.

Oz.
6th April 2010, 05:48
New Guinea Pidgin One f the Ten Commandants On adultry "You no touchem Mary belongum other pfella''.

Winebuff
6th April 2010, 11:24
Me tassal - It's only me.

The punch line on a rude T shirt I bought in Port Morsby which the good lady wife refused to allow me to wear in public. As we lived in Yorkshire at the time I thought that was a bit rich as I could hardly understand a word they said most of the time.
Aye up, wear hast thy ben sin r saw thee?

Mike Thurman
13th March 2012, 19:11
Sweet pass Freetown stinkfish - beautiful !
Flash for dash ! - use your imagination.

Cheers

Mike

YankeeAirPirate
13th March 2012, 21:07
This thread reminds me of the Jamaican dialect in use on the bauxite bulkers I rode in the early 80's. I was the only American onboard, a young 22 year old newly minted Third Mate catching this ship on the proverbial pierhead jump. Glad to have the work. Not at all sure what I was getting into.

The company had mostly Jamaican deck crew with an added collection of Guyanan, Trinidadian, Haitian, St. Lucia, Barbados, etc. seaman. Everyone spoke English as a second language. Only me and the Brit Sparky spoke it as a mother tongue. I had trouble understanding him because he was Cockney (at least when I was around I think he played it up a bit). So I had to figure out his accent plus every accent across this Caribbean spectrum with no help!

Officers were a United Nations mix: Yugoslav 3 Mate, Costa Rican 2nd, Indonesian 3rd, Taiwanese Chief Mate, Finnish Captain, etc.. so relieving the watch was a trial until I figured out each fellow's regional and heavily accented English.

Some favorites:

Officer's messman: No, Man, Egg Finish. (I had cereal that morning)
Deckhand: Me say me no no (I assumed this meant he did not know)
Engine rating: 'Im axe, you say. (Trying to translate for me because I was clearly not understanding him)
And the grandaddy of all miscommunication: Myself and the Haitian AB on watch. He came to me and stated most emphatically: "Mistah mate, Aih Wah!".
Well, I got the first part OK. But the second part remained a mystery through 15 minutes of pantomime. Mind you, this fellow spoke Creole French and little English. Plus, he was totally illiterate. Ho could not even write out what he wanted. I finally shrugged my shoulders and he went off. Later a Jamaican AB came over to explain that the other fellow wanted the "Air Wash" system turned on to keep dust and soot from entering the accomodation spaces during cargo ops. At last I knew what "Aih Wah" meant.

About six months into the trip I was finally at ease with the slang, broken English and patois. Then one day I came up behind a couple of the welders on deck and they were speaking the King's English amongst themselves with very posh accents. They did not see me approach. They sounded like statesmen in Parliament! Then they saw me and knew they had been had. I got a couple of big, toothy grins (complete with gold teeth flashing) and some laughs. They had all been testing me these past months! When I had to I could mimic them in a good natured way. And they laughed even more. An American with a Jamaican accent: too funny for them. They were hard working fellows and good seaman, though. Never a complaint. Never a fight in the fo'c's'le. And they had extraordinary taste in liquor: Overprooof Rum at 190 proof. Rocket fuel, it was.

I learned alot from those guys in my formative years. Many more comic instances as I tried to figure out the language in those first months.

garry Norton
13th March 2012, 21:22
You Bank Line Boys must know some pidgeon. What about Mary Bull-a cooor Grass Belong Head

Robert Hilton
13th March 2012, 21:48
West African for aircraft - "Na lorry for up."

I was told Indonesian for piano - "Box you kick in teef he go cry." This sounds as if thought up for entertainment rather than communication.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
13th March 2012, 22:40
Air Niugini flight safety card, 1980's:

"Supos bulwas im bugrup..."
(in the unlikely event of an accident...")

And one had to travel to some places by "Bigfella mixmaster bilong Jesus Christ" (helicopter)

And then of course there is the outboard motor on the back of the canoe:

Tok bilong moto ol i kolim SEAGULL: Wanpela kain moto i stap, nem bilong en SEAGULL. Em i no save bagaraptumas. Ol man i save laikim dispela moto na kolim nem bilong en planti taim, olsem na long Solomon Ailan ol i save kolim sigal long olgeta moto.

Ol papa bilong SEAGULL faktori i save tok: Dispela moto i winim olgeta arapela moto long olgeta hap graun. Dispela em i gris tok bilong ol. Tasol wanpela samting em I tru: Ol i kamapim dispela kain moto long 35 yia i go pinis, na long nameltaim i kam inap nau i no gat wanpela save I kamap winim dispela SEAGULL long ol i mas senisim wanpela samting bilong dispela moto.

Ian6
13th March 2012, 23:01
I went to Manus Island in the Bismark Archipelogo, north of Borneo, in 1957 on a Caltex tanker with a cargo of marine fuel oil. It was for a SEATO exercise and our destination was an RAN base, HMAS Tauranga.
It was all very spit and polish among the jungle, "if it didn't move paint it white" kind of place. However, pidgin English was the official language so the beautifully painted signs (everything stationary was labelled as well as painted) were all in pidgin. I think the C.O.'s house was 'Big fella belong here' etc.
We discharged a few thousand tons through a hose slightly bigger than I use to water the garden (when Thames Water don't have a hose-pipe ban in place) so we were there a wee while. It was the only time we discharged the cargo through the stern outlet rather than the midship's manifold.
Ian

Hugh Ferguson
13th March 2012, 23:11
B'long plenty pidgin HERE (www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=34343&highlight=Squeeze)

Duncan112
14th March 2012, 20:22
And then of course there is the outboard motor on the back of the canoe:

Tok bilong moto ol i kolim SEAGULL: Wanpela kain moto i stap, nem bilong en SEAGULL. Em i no save bagaraptumas. Ol man i save laikim dispela moto na kolim nem bilong en planti taim, olsem na long Solomon Ailan ol i save kolim sigal long olgeta moto.

Ol papa bilong SEAGULL faktori i save tok: Dispela moto i winim olgeta arapela moto long olgeta hap graun. Dispela em i gris tok bilong ol. Tasol wanpela samting em I tru: Ol i kamapim dispela kain moto long 35 yia i go pinis, na long nameltaim i kam inap nau i no gat wanpela save I kamap winim dispela SEAGULL long ol i mas senisim wanpela samting bilong dispela moto.

Straight from the Lik Lik Buk!!

Drove past a site caravan the other day, over the door was a sign (numberplate variety, none of your cheap scribble on a piece of ply) that proudly proclaimed "OFFIS". Sadly it had moved on when I came back with my camera.

alan ward
15th March 2012, 13:42
My elder daughter, on reading through this thread, remided me of an event a few years ago when we were trying to clear out some bits by way of a local car boot sale.
I was busy laying items on the ubiquitous pasting table (are any of these actually sold for decorating nowadays?) when I had my back to the 'punters'. I heard a voice "What am dis 'ting' - without turning about I replied ' dis am de juicer'. I then turned round and cast eeyes on a very large Nigerian chap. My daughters & she-who-must-be-obeyed were horrified at my reply. The potential buyer was completely at ease and picked up the Kenwood Juicer examining it carefully. He replaced it on the table and with a smile moved on to the next table.
A reflex response, on my part, I suppose. I summise tht experience in foreign parts and exposure to the language is always there but just below the surface.

Our steward on the Owerri was Momoh Bokarie,shopping in Liverpool with my girlfriend we bumped into him.`Hello Momoh,how are you doing ma fren`I cheerfully offered.He seemed a little surprised but we exchanged stilted greetings and moved on.I noticed that said girlfriend was a little quiet and withdrawn,on questioning her about her cool manner I discovered that she thought I was taking the p**s out of a complete stranger because he was black!