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Jamaican Patwa (Patois)
Here Are Your First Words :-)

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Jamaican Patwa/Patois Jamaican, by Nemonie Cassells | Associate Writer

Out of Many, One People…that is our Jamaican motto, and it is simply stating that our “land of wood and water” is made up of people whose ancestors come from many different race and cultural backgrounds.

Some of us Jamaicans have ancestors tracing back to the nomadic race of brown skinned Asians, known as the Arawaks, who first arrived on the Island.  (Read history of Jamaica here)

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CLICK HERE FOR THE TRANSLATED LIST BY...

NOUNS/PRONOUNS || VERBS || ADVERBS || POPULAR PHRASES

Some came from the Africans who were brought here as slaves. Some came from more modern Asians who came here to work after slavery was “abolished”, and of course, there are descendants here from European background as well. 

Whichever ethnic background we may come from (And believe me when I say, the bloodlines have been mixed over the many years), we are all one people under the warm island sun! Jamaica land we love!

With all the factors stated above, no wonder we have the best of everything that we have available to use… I’m talking about; Food, Entertainment, Sports and Language! 

Now even though our first language is English, our creole; patois, is what we are most recognized for! Our dialect, I’ve been told many times, is the best in the Caribbean! 

And people just love to hear us speak, to hear our accent and the words we use, even if they don’t understand a lick of what we are saying. 

Many believe our patois is broken English, but they are actually incorrect in this. Our patois is actually made up of not only English, but some of the West African languages  and a little Spanish too (Ironically the word “patois” is french)! 

With so many language influencing our tongue, it is quite interesting to listen to, even if not learned.

Today I am going to teach you patois by revealing the patois word for your English. When you’re done here, you should be able to enjoy a nice conversation with your Jamaican friends and family without feeling left out! 

Ready?

OK ('Arite)!

JAMAICAN PATWA
Your First Words :-)

NOUNS/PRONOUNS

English

Patois

 

Woman

Uman

 

Child/Children

pickney/ pickiney

 

Boy

Bwoi

 

Girl

gal

 

I

mi

Me

mi

My

mi

Mine

fi mi

We

wi

Us

wi

Our

wi

Ours

fi wi

He

'im

His

im

Him

im

She

shi

Her

ar

Hers

fi ar

You

yuh

Your

yuh

Yours

fi yuh

They

dem

Them

dem

Their

dem

Theirs

fi dem

This

dis

That

dat

 

ADVERBS

English

Patois

Not

nuh

Too

tuh

To

tuh

Never

neva

Together

togedda

Rather

radda

Ever

eva

Nearly

Naily

So

suh

First

fuss

Where

weh

Why

wah mek

What

wah

Here

yah, yah suh

There

deh, deh suh

Down

dung

Alright

Arite

VERBS

English

Patois

Eat

nyam

Cry

bawl

Throw

fling, dash

Hang

heng

Let

mek

Make

mek

Say

seh

See

si

Send

sen

Sit

siddung

Spit

pit

Spoil

pwile

Spread

pred

Stand

tan

Think

tink

Take

Tek

Understand

andastan

Upset

bex

Vex

bex

POPULAR PHRASES

English

Patois

What going on/What’s up?

What a gwan? Wahappen?

Are you ok?

Yuh good? Yuh Arite?

I’ll be right back

Mi soon come back

Hey!

Yow!

Oh Lord!/ OMG

Lawd Gad!/ Lawd-a-massy

Where are you?

Weh yuh deh?

Jealousy /Envy

Badmind

Don’t upset me/ mess with me

Nuh ramp wid mi!

Gossip

suss/ mix up/ mix up ah blenda

Jamaica

Jamdung/ Jamrock/ yahd

America

Farrin/ Merica

I don’t care

Mi nuh cya/ mi nuh bizniz

Mind your own business

Yuh too faas/ mine yuh own bizniz

You feel me?

Yuh zimmi

Friend

Parry/ dupes/ fren/ mi bwoi(male)/ mi gal(female)

I understand

Zeen/ Rrr

Something is really good

It bad eee/ sell aff!

Small amount

Likkle bit

Child!

Pickney!/ Chile

Practice those and in no time, you'll be able to hold good conversation with a true “Yardie” in patois.

Your Welcome!! :-)

One of the fastest ways to understand a dialect or language is through movies and TV shows. Here are some of the best (and worst) Jamaican accents in cinema.

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Jamaican Patwa (Patois) | Written: June 25th, 2019

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