Saturday, July 4, 2015

Biatch, Wata Ya A Gwaan?

“Biatch! Eeeh, whappn no baby. You look good ina ya car eh. Long time mi watch ya, mi wha chat to ya. And ya a gwaan like ya nuh wha chat to me. So whappn Dre, tell em whe di f*** a gwaaan nuh”. The opening lyrics to Dr. Dre’s 1992 hit – Let me ride.

John Nagenda, who has near perfect English and can also interpret Latin, would be hard pressed to master Dre, as would Parent or English Don at Makerere University. I just about got the drift – but through Teen Nephew being on hand.

In English, this is what I think was said: “What’s happening baby? You look good in your car. It’s been a long time and I’ve been watching you. I want to talk to you, but you don’t want to talk to me. So what’s happening Dre…” The last part of the last sentence is rather heavy, so I’ll leave it at that.   

Today, Teen speaks a language that’s similar to English but, is not. Half the time when I hear Teen jazz (talk), I shut up. When I throw in ‘pardon, what did you just say?’ the response is, “jeez, get with it.”

On Twitter, WhatsApp, txt and Facebook, half the messages I get, don’t make immediate sense like the first time Teen sent me a txt that simply read: “Plot?” Plot…what? Teen so I assumed, hadn’t completed the message, but nothing else filtered through which, got me thinking. A plot of land perhaps? A conspiracy?

‘Plot’ so it turns out, means ‘what’s happening?’ Was it so hard for Teen to have said that? Parent, you see how Teen jazz can annoy?

Weeks ago, Niece on a Malta holiday, was having a conversation on the family WhatsApp forum with her cousins, aunts and uncles. I was part of the conversation but along the way, I lost track when Niece Savy said: “Skeen sun tan inna di summa sun...” I wanted to ask what she was on about, but got frightened of being ridiculed on the forum.

When I use social media, I’m from the past or to use today’s teen jazz – old skool. To Teen, it’s imperative that it’s written as skool and not school. Anyway, I type out the full length of each word. I don’t abbreviate and watch my punctuation which has Teen complaining – that he has no time to read my lengthy book messages. Hmm!

In my teens, we too had our jazz though not comparable to that of today. My first attempt at teen jazz with my parents didn’t go down well. At all.

Whenever we sat down to dinner, our family prayer was: “For what we about to receive, may the good lord make us to be truly thankful” - until I landed from boarding school full of a ‘sense of change’ and more gusto than a prized bull being led into a kraal with two heifers, I let rip with the school grace – “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, ye God.”

An icy silence seeped through the dining room. Suddenly I was freezing yet, I dripping with sweat. My temperature shot up and the beginnings of a running stomach took hold.

The stare I got from Mr. Bukumunhe, my dad that is, didn’t need interpretation. It read: “If you don’t remove yourself from this table this instance for taking the lords name in vain, you will get the walloping of a lifetime!” I fled.                  

However, today Teen would have stood his ground and shot back: “Wata ya a gwaan creeper, like ya nuh kno mi fuss!?”

But Parents, fret not, for if you don’t click (understand) what your Teen be jazzing (is saying), go online and consult The Urban Dictionary. It will sort you out.


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