Learn How to Speak Jamaican? Well it’s not quite another language, just a different twist!
Anyone who has been to Jamaica on holiday/vacation can probably think of at least one phrase that tourists pick up and repeat non-stop for the duration…..
If you fancy adding to that limited list of words and phrases, read on. 🎓
Keeping the memories alive
Flicking through my book shelves recently, I re-discovered this brilliant little booklet on How to speak Jamaican‘.
I haven’t set eyes on it for years and had completely forgotten I’d bought it.
Typical – another forgotten holiday souvenir (I think that’s an idea for some future blog posts)!! 🤔
You know that stage at the end of your holiday where you go back to the hotel gift shop one last time to see if there’s anything you missed during the fifteen times that you’ve already been in there?
Maybe this time you’ll find some special ‘thing’ to bring home to help keep those wanderlust memories alive….well that’s how this one ended up in the bag.
The colourful cover got my attention and it’s lightweight – perfect when you’re already pushing it with your luggage allowance. ✈️
So you want to improve your ‘Jamaican’?
This is quite a comical guide, written to entertain as much as to inform.
It’s probably all the more amusing to those of us who already have a reasonable grasp on a bit of Jamaican/West Indian lingua. 🔎
How to Speak Jamaican written by Ken Maxwell and and illustrated by Livingston McLaren (first published in 1981), is a humorously illustrated glossary style run down of common Jamaican patois (words and phrases) with translations given in more universal/formal English.
To be honest, not all the words and phrases are limited to Jamaicans, a lot of them are common throughout much of the Caribbean sometimes with slightly different tones and accents. 🌴
A lot has to do with pronunciation and dialect…
Jamaican Patois in Writing
It’s unusual to see Jamaican/West Indian patois written down because it’s generally a spoken thing ‘not a written thing’, so seeing it written next to the Queen’s English translation, is quite funny and really highlights the contrast between them. 🧐
Jokes aside, there’s more to Jamaican patois than ‘everyting irie’ and ‘yeah man‘ (or ‘yeah mon‘ as some like to put it).
I think this book does a really good job of showing this.
‘How to Speak Jamaican’ would make a great gift for friends visiting Jamaica for the first time, with no prior patois experience.
Marco Polo, Frommers, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Berlitz etc. probably won’t be much help with this one. 😆
Instruction for any Complaints
Maybe there are some who might beg to differ on a few of the translations – the address for complaints is available inside the book – should you require it!! 😉