‘A willy old fox’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th December 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 30 December 2012 18:26

As the world cheers in a new year, the Vigil would like to explain to our English friends how Mugabe’s looming 89th birthday celebrations could be described in the Zimbabwean media as ‘to soup with the devil’.


In our exuberant tossing around of the idiom of a second language, our Zimbabwean ‘scribes’ have come up with our own version of English which has ‘stood the taste of time’.


The Vigil has closely followed the colourful Zimbabwean media – both print and electronic – over the past decade to help inform our comments on political developments at home.


We are particularly grateful to Barbara in Australia for her daily compendium of articles on the internet site, which has made it relatively easy to access much of this material.


It shows that fresh interpretations of common English words, phrases and sayings are building a new language, much as the Jamaicans and others have created their own patois. It often reflects a simple misunderstanding but usually adds a new dimension.


It was only recently that a founder member of the Vigil realised that the entirely sensible ‘chatting the way forward’ was a Zimbabweanism for ‘charting the way forward’!


Here are a few other examples of Zimbabweanisms which have come to our attention and enlivened Zimbabwean English:

·        ‘smirked of’ (smacked of)

·        ‘dump-founded’

·        ‘dumb squib’

·        ‘feather in our nest‘ (feathering our nest)

·        ‘nerve-wrecking’

·        ‘all sorts of niceties and sweet talk’

·        ‘clucking in their boots’ (quaking)

·        ‘deformation of character’

·        ‘missed carriage’

·        ‘wrecks havoc’

·        ‘next to little’ (next to nothing)

·        ‘change tact’

·        ‘horse pipes’ (hose pipes)

·        ‘taped water’


The last Vigil of the year was cold, wet and windy but we wish all our supporters a happy new year. Thinking of the sunshine at home we were reminded of a Zimbabwe newspaper speaking of someone as being ‘grin with envy’.


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