goat-mout

Misty. It's not really blood, she's just been licking the red salt-lick.

Siganus Sutor, our correspondent in the Indian Ocean, has started a blog — you can look at it here and it’s in the blogroll — it’s about the French language as it is used in Mauritius.  It lists all sorts of words and expressions that are used there; some come via English or from India, but they’re French.  It is really interesting and fun to read.

There was one thing about goats, that Sig put in a comment here yesterday.  I find it so extraordinary that I think it requires a post of its own.  This is what Sig wrote:

In Mauritius “la bouche cabri” (the goat’s mouth) refers to someone who mentions something bad that might happen and who makes it happen. I thought this caprine Cassandra had an English-speaking equivalent in the Caribean, and here it is, amazingly:

51. ‘Im ‘av’ goat mout’
He has a goat’s mouth

A person is said to have a goat’s mouth when he/she wishes another evil, and the wishes are fulfilled. It also applies to one who has the foresight to discern impending danger and forewarn those concerned. In either case, one is likely to say “‘im ‘av’ goat mout’,” or “‘im put’im goat mout ‘pon” whoever suffers.

P. 119, Jamaican sayings, By G. Llewellyn Watson

One can only hope that Norwegian goats never learn the tricks from their faraway cousins.

Sig mentions a blog from Trinidad, Small Island Girl,who says in her own piece entitled ‘Goat Mouth’:

In Trinidad they say you have goat mouth when if you say like don’t do that you’ll cut yourself and two minutes after you cut yourself then they say you have goat mouth …

But she’s really talking about a visit she made in 2005 to the Tobago Jazz festival, on the island where she grew up,  She goes on,

… don’t know where that came from but that was my experience that night every time I say something it happened so there was like a Jazz village set up with people selling art and craft and food it was nice the place was not bad I was impressed and I said I wonder if my favourite artist will be here lets go look low and behold he is there in person I go up to him and started rambling on about how I love him and his art and I have one of his paintings in my living room and I can’t afford his originals yet but I am saving for it one day I was talkng rubbish and he said real serious you can’t afford my art but you can afford this show? and he made me laugh I said you have a point 

Actually it’s a really interesting blog that makes you want to head immediately for the Caribbean, but that’s another story.  I want to know why this expression, ‘goat mouth’ — la bouch cabri — appears in two different languages off the coast of two different continents.  Did it originate in Africa?  If anyone can explain it, please post a comment.

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