Silly translations: Mouri poul ou!

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Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:06 am

I am really late on that one.

Anyway "I will put water in my wine".

Sorry for my translation, I am the son of "The Thank you and Little Good God".

So long!
leonel

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Post by admin » Sun Aug 21, 2005 8:44 am

O.K. I think that English only speakers who come to this forum will think that we are a bit crazy, and they are probably right. But to be fair, we should let the door open a bit to our world of silly translations.

Tayi started with "People who people I don't occupy, go to see for you"? which even Anacaona could not understand. But in the end, I allowed her to see the association of that seemingly nonsensical phrase to this one: "I hardly pay attention to people who matter, let alone you!" Then Michel came with "go back to your desk and kill your chicken" which was very funny, but that nobody cared to explain. Did you understand that one, Marilyn?

That was a good one, Michel!

It's of course the literal translation of "mouri poul ou" (kill your chicken), an expression that is commonly used in Haitian Creole, but which probably does not make sense in any other langu
age or culture... How did it evolve? I have no idea. But what it means is "take it easy... keep cool... don't call attention to yourself... live quietly... etc" (you get the idea). You should kill your chicken (mouri poul ou) in situations where you gain more from quietness than from flashiness.

I don't see how a non natif-natal, not living in Haiti and paying close attention to what people say, could guess at the meaning of that phrase in Kreyol or in its literally translated English form.

Not to be outdone (how could he ever be?), Leonel came back with two nuggets: "I will put water in my wine" and "I am the son of The Thank you and Little Good God".

The first expression is probably not hard to decipher by KSL students. It's a literal tranlation of "M ap mete dlo nan diven m", where the speaker is announcing that he is toning down (keeping quiet, slowing down, or reducing his exposure), something very close to " mouri po
ul li ". By now, you should understand the idea perfectly. Of course, in this instance, the imagery actually helps: as you add water to your wine (mete dlo nan diven w), you are diluting its strength... to the point of being self-effacing. I think for instance that some ministers in Haiti's de facto government should put water in their wine, if you know what I mean.

As for Leonel's second expression, it leaves me partially baffled. Yes, even me, Pwofesè Pistach! I am the son of The Thank you and Little Good God: Mwen se pitit gason Lamèsi (The Thank you) ak "Ti Bon Dye" (???) Of course, I have come across several Lamèsi (Lamerci) among Haitian people, but "Little Good God?"

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Post by admin » Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:39 am

Yeah, "mouri poul ou" doesn't mean "be patient" though you could stretch the meaning enough to make it mean exactly that in a specific context. "Mouri poul ou" is much closer to "get unnoticed for a while". Live life under cover. Be quiet. Enjoy a slow pace. ETC.

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Sun Aug 21, 2005 8:32 pm

This is very entertaining and educating.

[quote]I am the son of The Thank you and Little Good God".[/quote]

Lionel papa, chapo ba! I had to read Guy's translation twice before I get it.

But, I must also confess that Tayi's first offering (I hardly pay attention to people who matter, let alone you) has been such a challenge to me when in conversation with English speakers in the past, and I wanted to say that same kreyol expression in English, I always gave up because it would have taken too long to formulate a clear translation like Guy's. To both Tayi and Guy, I thank you for precisely translating this for me. From now on, I am free to make use of it.

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Post by admin » Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:37 pm

[quote]Chita anba bouch gwanmoun di mwen ke “Mouri poul ou” is an old expression used during the first American Occupation area 1915-1934 by the American nurses to tell Haitian patients who had high blood pressure to cool off a little bit. Mouri poul is an imperfection tone of keep your “pulse” = poul down. [/quote]
Michel, a la koze ou tande anba bouch granmoun ou yo papa! Men sanble tout koze yo rezime a Okipasyon Meriken yo an 1915-1934. Anpil nan koze yo pa fè okenn sans nonplis. Antouka, pito mwen rete la, paske mwen pa vle derespekte granmoun ou yo ditou. Men sanble yo te konn pale pou di nimporte quoi nan zòrèy timoun ki pat rive nan "l'âge de la raison".

But I share your interests! (while being a tad more critical of the information I receive)

Anyway, thanks for your explanation of the differences between "mouri poul ou, tande!" ak "veye zo w, tande!" Yo
ur explanation of the differences was lucid [Your etymology is something else.]

Anyway, I am thankful for whatever "sans" (not blood) I get from you on occasion.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:36 am

Michel, I swear, last Saturday, I was thinking about "Mouri poul ou". Guess what, I also thought that it came from Pulse.

I think that you are probably right. It makes sense.

In terms of expression from US Occupation. That is also true. We have a lot of words from the American Occupation.

But, there something that some "Gran Moun" used to say: Ol tEgEt naw. Where does this one come from? Is it English?

They used to say: Salavobish which later is translated as SOB...

Anyway, let me know about the first one.

leonel

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Post by admin » Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:32 am

I believe that Marilyn's guess as to the origin of "òltègèt naw" is correct. "Oltègèt naw" is so close to "altogether now" that the likeliness cannnot be overlooked, though it represents no proof. One needs to investigater further, which means truly talking to a lot of older people, not just one's folks, before they pass away.

I have always heard "òltègèt naw" in the sense of "hurry up and go away" or as we say in Kreyòl "demaske w". What relationship would that have to "altogether now" ? Well, I can easily conjecture about it, as follow: it might have been a call to several people to get their act together very quickly so they can get to whatever other action was prescribed. In other words, "all together quickly and get out of here now!" or simply "all together now, do this (and promptly)".

That is my conjecture. You can pass judgment on whether it makes sense or not. If it does not make sense to you, and you have a b
etter explanation, I would love to hear it. There is not any one person among us who is the keeper of the truth in the dynamics of Creolisms. So we can search for the truth together.

However, I am surprised that Leonel, who is a scientist of his own right, would so easily say in effect: "Well, "poul" (in Creole) is close enough to "pulse" (in English) that it makes sense that "mouri poul ou" would come from "keep your pulse down". Give me a pulse, please! First of all, the words simply do not sound alike, not at all, at least in my neck of the woods. I cannot account however for other American accents, especially among the 1915-1934 American military. Were the pronunciation of those two words ever approximate, "poul" and "pulse" ? Likely, Marilyn, would have a much better idea than myself. I simply do not know, but from my limited experience of the English language, I do not see the resemblance. Secondly, you have to take THE WHOLE EXPRESSION into account!!! You cannot just pull one word out of
the mix, the word "poul" out of "mouri poul ou", liken it to the word "pulse" in English, and say "Eureka! This makes sense!" What freaking sense does it make???

First of all, I don't know of any other expression or general usage in Kreyòl of the word "poul" in lieu of the English "pulse". If I am mistaken, I would be delighted if someone would clarify it for me. If I am right however, how likely would it be that the word "poul" for "pulse" would survive in that unique expression? Secondly, what about the rest of the expression????? Even the word "mouri" in that sentence is not used in its conventional usage in the Haitian language. "Mouri" generally means "to die", not "to kill". You never but never say "mouri kochon sa pou mwen" for instance. You would say "tiye kochon sa pou mwen". So the phrase "mouri poul ou" is extraordinarily unusual in its syntactical expression. Literally, it translates to "Die your chicken". Now, language-wise, that's an expression worth researching!!! But to tak
e a single word out of it, liken it to a quite other-sounding word in a different language, and conclude "this makes sense", would make of etymology a science for four-year olds.

Mesye, pran san nou tande!

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:57 am

Mouri poul ou,

Let's analyse poul which is Pouls in french or Pulse for English.

Now, let's see what Mr Larousse says:

Pouls= Battement d'une artere superficielle du aux contraction cardiaques.

Prendre le pouls de quelqu'un= Palper le pouls du poignet et compter les battements.
= Sonder les dispositions, les intentions de quelqu'un.

Prendre,tater le pouls de quelqu'un= Chercher a connaitre la facon dont quelqu'un se presente, en observant l'etat ou la tendance.

Which makes me think the expression" Mouri Poul" may be French after all.

Traduction tiree du Petit Larousse illustre (page 854)
www.larousse.fr

Donc, je suis en train de mourir mon petit pouls.

leonel

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Post by admin » Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:28 am

[quote]Donc, je suis en train de mourir mon petit pouls. [/quote]
Very funny, Leonel! Pa kite l mouri nèt!

I am glad that you have dug deeper into it, and are at least moving away from the "American Occupation's keep your pulse down" bit. Linguistically, the reasoning previously offered simply could not hold water.

But only through searching, do we finally get to the point where we begin to see the light.

As for your new conjecture... I don't know. In French, the last two letters of the word "pouls" are silent. So the word sounds like "pou". Granted, "pou" sounds closer to "poul" than "pulse", but how did they add the sound "l" to arrive at the Kreyol word "poul"? Usually, we find that in passing down words, the tendency is to drop consonants rather than add them out of the blue. So there is in fact a greater discrepancy between the French world "pouls"
and the Kreyòl word "poul" than would be at first deduced just by looking at the way the words are written.

It's really very funny, you know, when you think about it. You have offered the word "pouls" as evidence. But the word "pouls" sounds like "pou(x)" which is another French word for: louse (lice) [poux de tête] and pubic lice or crabs [poux du pubis].

So, what you are saying in fact is that a little crab (pou du pubis) escaped being scratched away and grew up to become a chicken (poul).

The little crab jumped off the crotch and became a chicken!

Òltègèt naw and type that sentence one hundred times:

The little crab jumped off the crotch and became a chicken!

(Nothing weird about that. Stranger things happen in Haiti.)

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:19 pm

Michel,

If you have a source for your info, it would help sharing it with us.

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Post by admin » Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:03 am

[quote]Folks! Like or not we have to admit the legacy of the American Occupation in our daily kreyol language. Now, we are under a “multi-national force”, The MINUSTAH soldiers are foreigners and I am sure that the Haitian kids in the streets could grasp some few words from these soldiers. Sooner or later, like it or not, these words are going to be part of our kreyol language.

Don't feel bad about it, Marylin, Guy and Leonel; we are not the only ones. The members of the Academie Francaise were furious when they realized that the French language was invaded by English American words use by teen age French in their classroom, and every day life.
Leonel wrote:[quote]Michel, I swear, last Saturday, I was thinking about "Mouri poul ou". Guess what, I also thought that it came from Pulse. I think that you are probably right. It makes sense. In terms of expression from US Occupation. That is also true. We
have a lot of words from the American Occupation.[/quote]
Leonel ! you are right! And Guy is still in denial and continued to play St. Thomas.[/quote]
Michel, you are so far off in your reasoning, I can only shake my head at what you write. To me, linguistics is not an ideology, and I do not associate it with nationalism or patriotism. To me, linguistics, and etymology in particular, is a science, period. We don't say this is so because we wish it to be so. That's not the way it works.

I could not care less if words in Kreyòl were passed down to us by the Americans, the Germans, the invisibles, or even some extra-terrestrials. All I am asking is that you apply some critical thinking to your wild assertions.

I never once stated that the Americans did not influence the Haitian language during the 1915-1934 Occupation. However, we cannot begin to explain all the particularities of the Haitian language, based on the 1915-1934 American Occupation, without offerin
g some sort of reasonable basis.

So far in the discussion, no one has yet to offer a reasonable explanation for the origin of the expression "mouri poul ou" in Kreyòl. That's where our difference lies. Just because you have associated the word "poul" to the English word "pulse" (and tried to tell us that "poul" comes directly from "pulse" because your granmoun said so) does not in any way explain the particular construction or evolution of the expression "mouri poul ou". As I said, let us try to elevate our reasoning above the level of four-year-olds when we are dealing with word history. Of course, you are entitled to make guesses. Guessing is fun!! But the trouble comes when you elevate your guesses to the level of certainty, and you have applied no critical analysis whatsoever to gauge the likelihood of truth.

Based on the facts that you have so far, in your own unique way, explained to us how the following words and expressions came about: "mouri poul ou", "pye mayas", "zenglendo", ...
, I suspect that you may soon publish a book on the origins of Haitian Creole words and expressions. One suggestion: please include in that book also the origins of Boukman the marabou, and how the Apaches and Cherokees mingled with the Tainos of Ayiti. All in all, it will make for a wildly entertaining book.

Michel, I realize that we are here on the topic of "silly translations" to have fun. I also agree that we are all entitled to make guesses. I have nothing against that. The only thing that bothers me is when you come up with a line of reasoning like:

[My granmoun have told me that "mouri poul ou" comes from "keep your pulse down" because the word "poul" comes from "pulse" which was passed down to us from the American soldiers during the 1915-1934 occupation.]

If you are making a "blag", fine. But if you are serious, do you even begin to realize the level of assumptions and unaddressed issues left to the wind by the above line of reasoning?

Hopefully, I am wrong, and y
ou just intended to be funny.

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Post by admin » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:40 pm

Jaf, ou pa fè yon lide jan mwen kontan obsèvasyon ou fè la, paske mwen te fin "give up" sou bagay "mouri poul ou" a. Pou ki sa? Se paske mwen santi ke mwen pa te kapab fè nou konprann ke se pa esplikasyon ki pi fasil la pou nou kouri aksepte tankou se li menm ki fòseman laverite. Ki evidans nou geneyen ke espresyon "mouri poul ou" pa te egziste nan kreyòl la de pi anvan Okipasyon 1915-34 la??? Eske se sa granmoun Michel yo di a pou nou kouri aksepte? Paske si ou vle byen gade, se pa sans mo "poul" la (nan sans "pouls" nan franse oswa "pulse" nan angle) ke mwen tap diskite non!! Se orijin tout espresyon "mouri poul ou" a ansanm ak derivasyon etimolojik li tou. Mwen ta renmen nou retounen sou agimantasyon mwen an ak tèt poze pou nou wè objeksyon mwen tap fè Michel la. Sa mwen di, sè ke gen de twa ti pwoblèm ak esplikasyon li a:

1) menm si "pulse" (EN) avèk "poul" (KR) gen menm sans idyomatik la, se pa yon prèv DITOU ke mo kreyòl sa der
ive de mo angle a, SITOU KE YO PA PWONONSE MENM JAN DITOU.

2) mo franse "pouls" la sanble plis nan pwononsyasyon li ak "poul" (KR), men sepandan an franse 2 dènye lèt nan mo "pouls" a soud, sètadi yo pa pwononse ditou. Men sependan, mwen pa konnen si se te toujou konsa. Petèt yon etimològ franse ta kab di mwen si yon lè yo te konn pwononse konsòn "l" la nan mo "pouls" a nan tan lontan. Si sè le ka, li ta pi vit posib ke se lan franse ke sans mo "poul" nou an soti, se pa ni nan angle, ni nan Okipasyon.

Men lè ou di: [quote]"mouye poul ou" - jan Marilyn jwenn nan disksonè a fè sans tou. Nou tout ki abitye wè ti poul lapli mouye ki rete tou dousman nan lakou ka imajine kijan ekspresyon "mouye poul ou" ta ka defome pou li bay "mouri poul ou".[/quote] lamenm, ou louvri yon lòt baryè la ki kab byen esplike orijin espresyon an. E esplikasyon ou bay la, li ta rezoud 2 kòkennchenn difikilte:

A) li ta tou montre ke menm si mo "poul" (KR) la ta fini pa gen menm sans avèk "p
ouls" (FR) ak "pulse" (EN), sa pa vle di DITOU ke li blije derive de 2 mo sa yo dirèkteman. Ofèt mo a kab tou senpman soti nan ti bèt volay nou tout abitye avèk li a. Lò sa, pa genyen okenn defòmasyon nan son mo a. "Poul" ta soti de "poul" tou senpman.

B) Fonetikman, mo "mouye" ta kab fasilman defòme an "mouri" jan ou di, sitou ke nou konnen fò byen ke konsòn "r" la nan Kreyòl pa sonnen egzakteman menm jan ak konsòn "r" la nan angle, franse, panyòl, elatriye. Gen moun ki di Ayisyen gen tandans parese nan jan yo pwononse lèt sa. Mwen di nan zafè lang, nan pwen bagay de "parese". Nou jis pwononse konsòn "r" la nan jan pa nou, en pwen sè tou. Sa ki pa tande li, se yo ki an tò, nesesèman, paske nou mèt nan domèn nou. Men mwen panse li fò posib ke "mouye poul ou" ta kab fasilman dejenere nan "mouri poul ou".

C) Finalman, esplikasyon ou sijere a, Jaf, ta gen avantaj ke li ta esplike tout espresyon an entegralman, olye yon sèl mo nan espresyon an, anvan nou di "Eureka! nou esplike tout bagay la nè
t". Se nan sans sa, mwen te vle nou aplike yon apwòch ki pi disipline, si se pa sa n ap tonbe nan folklò nètalkole.

Bon, m ap rete la. Men mwen byen kontan mwen twouve yon lòt moun sou fowòm lan ki prefere yon ti jan pi kritik sou koze granmoun yo, e mwen pa vle di granmoun Michel yo sèlman.

Mwen rete la.

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:32 am

Guy & Jaf,

Afè "mouye poul ou" te vinn lan tèt mwen plis ke eksplikasyon okipasyon ameriken an. Mwen te twouve diskisyon sa te twò entèlijan pou m te antre ladan l. Jaf te pran devanm e li eseye bay ti eksplikasyon sa ki pi pre sa mwen te panse ekspresyon vle di. Misye ban m panzoup!

Mwen panse tou ke ekspresyon ka gen yon rapò a lè yo mouye kòk lan gagè. Mèt kòk la konn plen bouch li ak dlo oubyen klerin e pi li "spray" dlo lan bouch li an sou kòk lan. Aprè sa, li pran men l, li pase l sou plim kòk lan pou dlo antre ladan. Kòk lan sanble avèk yon poul mouye aprè sa e li pare pou l batay ankò ou pou l retounen lakay li. Mwen pat konn al lan gagè souvan. Mwen ta renmen mande moun ki konnen pi byen ke mwen si se sa vrèman mèt kòk lan konn fè e pou ki sa yo soufle dlo ak klerin sou kòk lan.

Gen de pwoblèm lan apwòch sa. Youn, se kòk ka l lan gagè, pa poul. Men, mwen kwè gen de kontèks anayiti ke nou itilize mo poul e nou v
le di kòk ak poul. Pa egzanp, si ou gen yon poulaye lakay, ou pa di yon moun mwen leve poul ak kòk. Ou jis di l, mwen leve poul lakay mwen. Lan sans as, ou refere a poul e kòk.

Dezyèm pwoblèm lan apwòch sa, gen de fwa mèt kòk la soufle dlo ou klerin sou kòk lan gagè, se pou oubyen pou kòk l ka reprann li pou l goumen pi byen, oubyen pou l "cool down" kòk la tankou yon jouwè foutbòl bwè yon ti vè Gatorade aprè yon jwèt. E la a, eksplikasyon vin konplike pou eksplike apwoch etimolojik mwen an. Mwen ta renmen konnen ki sa Guy panse de sa.

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Post by admin » Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:43 am

Jean-Marie, "mouye kòk ou, tande!"

Anmwe,,, eskize m wi, se vle wmen te vle ri!

Antouka, Jean-Marie, apwoch ou a pozitif seryezman. Mwen panse yon lang se espresyon tout yon kilti, kidonk lò n ap fè rechèch etimolojik, nou pa kapab inyore kilti pèp la. Mwen kontan wè jan jaf re-santre balon an, epi jan ou reponn a pas la tou. Ou tou wè se bon foutbolè Jeremi ou [te] ye.

Mwen kwè ou deja rezoud premye objeksyon ou te pote a pwòp ipotèz ou a. Mo "poul" la souvan anplwaye nan sans jenerik li a, tankou yo fè sa nan lòt lang tou. Epi ou tou wè ke li pa ta fin kòdyòm si yon nèg ta mande yon lòt pou "mouye kòk" li nan mitan moun ki gen lespri toujou sou sa [Mezanmi, eskize m wi, Anacaona]. Mwen kwè, "mouri poul ou" se yon espresyon ke tout moun ta jije plis akseptab, lan nenpòt ki sikonstans.

Pou dezyèm objeksyon an, mwen kwè li gen plis fòs. Paske si mèt kòk la mouye kòk la pou fè l pi djab toujou nan ko
nba a, sa parèt lopoze "mouri poul ou" jan nou anplwaye espresyon sa nan jounen jodi a.

Kidonk, Jean-Marie, mwen poko kapab rezoud mistè sa, men mwen apresye apwòch pa w la. Li demontre ke evolisyon yon lang pa rete chita sèlman nan prete mo sèlman nan lòt lang. Se vre, tout lang modèn sèvi ak lòt lang nan devlòpman vokabilè yo. Nan pwen okenn dout nan sa. Men derivasyon espresyon yo plis gen rapò ak evolisyon kiltirèl pèp ki pale lang lan.

Antouka, Jean-marie, lò ou gen bon bagay konsa nan djakout ou, pa tann zòt ba ou panzoup!


Ak pasyans, n a wè tete foumi [oswa, n a wè trip foumi].

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:48 am

Bèt tèlman tonbe ke m gen epresyon fòk Guy ta deplase on pati nan diskisyon sa yo pou foure l anba "inivèsite ann pale a".

JM, m te konn wè anpil moun mouye kòk batay ak dlo e kleren pou kalme yo anvan yal nan gagè. Se kòmsi yo te vle sere fòs ak enèji yo pou yo ka goumen pi byen.

gelin

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Post by admin » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:02 pm

[quote]JM, m te konn wè anpil moun mouye kòk batay ak dlo e kleren pou kalme yo anvan yal nan gagè. Se kòmsi yo te vle sere fòs ak enèji yo pou yo ka goumen pi byen. [/quote]
Bon, obsèvasyon w lan, Gelin, vin bay dekouvèt Marilyn/Jafrikayiti/Jean-Mari a plis jarèt toujou. Ayibobo!

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