Don’t let a Jamaican call you…

 

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Butu, gyal clown, mowly, pretty-dunce– these are just a few of the (sometimes hilarious) terms that Jamaicans use to describe people unfavourably, and if any of them is directed at you, it means you might have gotten on our wrong side. Don’t know where that is? Let’s just say it’s somewhere you don’t want to be 🙂

Jamaica’s official language is English; however if you touch down in Jamrock on any given day you will hear most people talking in Patois, our colourful dialect that has an English base but a strong African influence. It’s a mix that has produced a very unique language that people of other countries love to imitate; and you know what? We don’t mind at all; we actually love to hear someone with a different accent talking in Patois. Continue reading

Random Phrases in 4 Languages

When I came to the Bahamas I was a bit intrigued the first time I heard the expression ey used at the end of a question. Here’s an example, You crazy ey? Now 6 years on and I find myself saying things like ey (eh/ huh), bey (boy)- sometimes just for fun, but more often than not, automatically. So I thought I would share some phrases/ words that are frequently used by Bahamians. I have also included the English version along with a Spanish translation of each.

Many people, too, seem to be fascinated by the Jamaican accent and slang. I sometimes break out into Patois to the delight of my students, who want me to repeat the word/ phrase. It’s also fun to see the confused faces when I say something completely incomprehensible to them! One of my personal favourites is chakka chakka (disorganized). So of course I had to give you the Patois/ Jamaican version of each phrase as well. Continue reading