While in Belize do as Belizeans – learn some Kriol

If it is your first time travelling to Belize, you are most likely to encounter the locals speaking in a different dialect.  It sounds like English, but then again, you try to follow a conversation and since they are speaking too fast, you are unable to understand.  This dialect is now a language called Kriol.   Most Belizeans speak and understand Kriol and in most cases, it is the one tongue which unites a most of the ethnic groups in this melting pot of cultures.

So you might be asking yourself, what is Kriol?  As you may already know, Belize is a former British Colony and our jewel gained its independence from the British in 1981.  The Kriol language came from the Kriol people.  The Kriol people are a mix of British masters and enslaved African women.  The slaves (men and women) began speaking what they called their own version of English, a mixture of English and African dialect.

The Kriol Council of Belize, a non-profit organization was created in 1995.  The creation of this council was to ensure that Kriol was properly studied and written in order to be recorded as a language.  The main purpose of this was to instil cultural pride in all Kriols and share the Kriol culture with everyone

Kriol is not as easy as some of us think.  The words are less articulated, the accent is distinct and the pronunciation is lot faster than we are used to speaking.

Next time you come to Belize, be sure to learn a little bit of Kriol so that you can instantly connect with our roots.

Here are a few popular phrases you will need to survive your first conversation:

Basic phrases
  1. What’s up? — Weh gaan ahn? or Weh di go ahn?
  2. What time is it? — Da weh time?
  3. See you later — Si yoo lata
  4. I’m tired — mi tayad
  5. Where is — Weh/weh-paat
  6. Everything’s fine — Evryting gud/aarite
  7. Get the hell out of here! — Haul your rass!
  8. Really? Is that right? — Fu Throo?
  9. Good evening — Gud night
Some popular sayings:
  1. Wahnti wahnti kyah geti an geti geti nuh wahnti — You always want what you can’t have
  2. Dah no so, dah naily so — Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
  3. Wait bruk down bridge — Don’t make me wait too long
  4. One day belly full neva fatten maaga dawg — One meal won’t change someone’s life / Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
  5. Sleep wit’ yo’ own eye — Only rely on what you know, not what others tell you
  6. Wan wan craboo fill barrel — Every little bit counts [craboo is a Belizean fruit]

If you would like to learn some more visit The National Kriol Council.