Jamaica is certainly a very Unique place when it comes to language. you are never certain what some people are saying and exactly what they mean. I believe though that Jamaicans refuse to speak the Queen's english, and looking at some of these english words, who can blame them.
They are unpronounceable. No wonder Jamaicans tend to make up their own words. imagine "Cerfitikit" instead of the English version "Certificate"; or "Hauspital" instead of "hospital"; we even attack the spelling of certain english words. Take a word like "Agriculture" for instance.Jamaicans simply spell it agriculcha.
However it doesn't stop here..some english sentences are by far too ineffectual for us Jamaicans. Imagine you are a boy of 12 and you are playing in the back garden (yard)and your mother says "come here boy", what would you do? Well I know most Jamaican youngsters wouldn't even turn to look at the speaker until she says it this way"kom (cum) ya bwoy" then you know she really means business.
Some of the most colourful of Jamaican expressions can be traced back to the languages of West African countries like Ghana. Early arrivals from these countries found it difficult to pronounce Barbaric language constructions like "th". Thus, "the" became "de","then" became "dem", and "that" became "dat" - a speech pattern which conformed with those of Africa and which persists to this day."Th" at the end of a word proved particularly tricky. If a Jamaican says his girlfriend has beautiful "teet", rest assured he is complimenting her dental work, not her bustline.
To further simplify the Africans' transition to life in colonial Jamaica and its strange tongue, the peculiarities of Eglish grammar were often simplified or totally abandoned. Both case and gender were ignored in favour of simply 'him" -for men, for women for you or I alike. a young girl or woman became "gal".But the Plural became "de gal dem". In fact, the plural "dem" applies to almost everything -cars, people, dogs, even children.
Jamaicans play speech games with vowels, especially the letter 'a'. A garden can become either a 'gyarden" or a "gordon", depending on the gentility of the speaker.
The influence of Africa is also found in the way Jamaicans shift their syllables and re-arrange the stress to suit their purposes. A mattress becomes a "ma-trass". A tomato becomes either "tomatis" or "salad" depending on its size. The ubiquitous surname Smith becomes unrecognizable to the Jamaican Visitor as "Simmit".
Words with African roots that linger in contemporary patois include "putta-putta" for mud, "duckanoo" for a particular kind of pudding, and "Anansi story" for fairy tale.
More recent years have found yet another form of African influence creeping into Patios. - The language of the Rastafarians. Central to their speech is the emphasis on the singular "I" or the plural "I and I" to underline the importance of the individual. thus, devine becomes "I-vine." Ethiopia is "I-thiopia" and wonderful or fabulous has simply become I-rie.
For Jamaicans place names are almost always castrated. Jamaicans talk about going to Santi Cruz and not Santa Cruz the largest town in the Parish of St. Elizabeth; or even MoBay instead of Monetgo Bay, the tourist capital in the north of the country.Most Jamaicans will talk about going to Merica, instead of America..and of course no one in Jamaica talks about Britian, "much less" Great Brittian.You would probably get a lot of starring faces if you should call it that..Most folks still call it England, and they will never change that no matter what the queen says.
Have you ever heard some phrases and some statement form a Jamaican which have probably left you wondering 'what was that (he/she) said. Well Jamaicans are noted comedians and they will take every opportunity to Mock the English language, especially if you are a foreigner or stranger...even Jamaicans will laugh at their fellow Jamaicans when they do this.
check this out: "A cum mi cum fi cum call yuh" which in english probably translates to "nurse my son has just swallowed a mango seed and he can't breathe can you come and help us please." Or even this case:" A ready yuh ready aready." which translates into " The bus doesn't leave for another ten minutes why are you all dressed up. A rye comment on Jamaicans sense of time.
If you ever visit Jamaica for a pre-scheduled speaking engagement, never turn up on time, or you will proably be given lectured glances about island etiguette Guest speakers are expected to leave audiences in the heat of the midday sun for at least an hour before turning up,if you appear earlier you may be forced to wait on the audience yourself or speak for an hour about the essence of timeliness in the marketplace, which won't make a drop of difference to island culture.
Jamaicans regard time and distance as subservient to the individual. Thus the often misunderstood phrase "soon come" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker will turn up sooner ... or later.
Another source of confusion for the unwary is the use of measurements unknown elsewhere.Who besides a Jamaican knows that a "gill" is a quarter of a pint? or that a "big gill" is just a little bit more? This is a crucial piece of knowledge when one is buying a drink of white rum.
In measuring land, the English unit of chains is still employed. the original measuring chains used by surveyors were comprised of heavy wire links, each link exactly 7.9 inches long, so that the chain could be folded and carried in a bag. One hundred links equalled a chain of precisely 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch.
If a Jamaican tells you that your destination is "a few chains from here", it is not far away, if it is "a stone's throw",on the other hand, it may be anywhere from a few metres to a kilometre or more.
In fact, scientific quantities of time or measurement are not important. it is the quality of the time or the amount that really counts. Imagine a man being asked to comment on the state of his health and saying " When I think of what I are and what I use to was, it makes me feel a funny felt as if i are dead." Is not really an uncommon thing you will hear, a normal and appropriate response to thi would be "yes massa" never try to correct the speaker's english. because he was not speaking english in the first place.
The ultimate key toJamaican speech is the word "rass". Originally, it meant backside, bum, derriere. It still retains that meaning in jamaica, but as humpty Dumpty told Alice "it also means what i intend it to mean".Thus, a man who is "a tieffin rass" is a dishonest person. On the other hand, "Come here yuh ole rass, mek a bi yuh a drink!" may be used when men greet their friends.
Jamaicans may even say to each other with envy: "Dat is a rass house." Or a man who spots an attractive woman walking past may lean over to his friend and smile, "Dat gal pretty to rass" - about which no further comment is necessary.
When a Jamaican speaks everyone listens, believe me if it's not different it'll be humerous.Using big words and using them out of context is a common thing for us Jamaicans. "The infractural maladjustment of the current fiscal financial situation is effectively a policy guaranteed to decapitate an overburdensome economy." only the speaker could tell you what that means.and to top it all, it's easy to get caught up in the euphora....Me, I'm proud to be a Yardbwoy,J-can, Jammy, Yardy, Homeboy,or whatever the phrase is these days for us Jamaicans,explease me cuse.