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A Good Jamaican Dictionary
Where Can I Get One?

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Trying to find a good Jamaican dictionary?

Something that can help you translate a few of the words we use... at least you won't be left clueless when we Jamaicans talk right? lol.


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Jabari Jamaican Dictionary

Well, I suspect there have been many attempts to translate and publish such material, but they are just that, 'attempts'... many of the authors doesn't even fully understand the language themselves!

I have done some research for you though and was lucky to find at least 6 relatively good references, three of them I really like and I think should help you very well:

  1. Dictionary of Jamaican English
  2. A book called Understanding Jamaican Patois
  3. And another, Jabari Authentic Jamaican Dictionary

None of them can adequately capture all the expressions we use, but I believe they did a good job capturing or explaining some of the most popular terms and slangs.

  • The Jabari Jamaican Glossary captures over 3000 clear and concise definitions of Jamaican words and phrases.

    Also included are pronunciation guides, variants, usage notes, parts of speech etc. I have a copy that I myself refer to quite often - I love it!

  • Emile Adams' Understanding Jamaican Patois is another great resource.

    This easy-to-understand introduction to Afro-Jamaican grammar "explains clearly and simply the basics of Jamaican patois. Most importantly I think the book has an important role to play in helping Jamaicans take pride in their language and see that it is not second-class"

    (Deborah Pruitt, anthropologist, Berkeley, California). (Foreign Language Studies)


  • Dictionary of Jamaican English 

    This is the second edition of the authoritative Dictionary of Jamaican English, first published in 1967.

    This edition includes a greatly extended supplement and offers a systematic indexing of the extent to which the lexis is shared with other Caribbean countries: Surinam, Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Nicaragua and Belize.

    The method and plan of the Dictionary are basically those of the Oxford English Dictionary, but oral sources have been extensively tapped in addition to detailed coverage of literature published in or about Jamaica since 1655

OK, now I've provided you with enough tools, go ahead and learn the language - it will be much easier than you may have guessed.

Plus the new knowledge will come in quite handy especially if you are coming here for a vacation!

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