Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Just Now

The phrase “just now” in Guyana doesn’t imply the immediate past as it does in the States, but refers to an indeterminate amount of time in the future. It can mean anything from one minute, one hour, a week, a few months or never. It’s an ambiguous phrase which oftentimes leaves the receiver waiting and waiting until request is fulfilled.

Here’s an illustration of its versatility:

When it means in a minute… or maybe five….
Student #1: Miss, when you sharin’ out test papers?
Me: Just now. Go sit down.
Student #2: Miss, ya sharin’ out test papers?
Student #1: Miss said, “Just now go sit down.”
Student #3: MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS, you sharin’ out test papers? How many marks I get?
Student #1: You don’t hear good? Miss said, “Sit down.”

When it means an hour or two….
Me: Sir, we have a staff meeting this afternoon (during school hours). What do you want to do with the children?
Headmaster: Just now I gonna decide Miss.

When it means in a few weeks…
Student: Miss, you leaving (the country) just now?
Me: Yup. July coming.
Student: Alright Miss. I gonna come by you just now and you gonna share your sweetie and chico with me.

When it means never…
Me: My mom sent me a package on May 5th. It’s July already, when can I expect it?
Postal Worker: Just now. Probably got sent to Africa you know.

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