Native Jamaicans don't speak English languages

Information and travel guide to Jamaica

The patois emerged among the slaves and became socially acceptable through the Rastafarians

The official language of Jamaica is English, but sometimes you can hardly understand a word in conversations that locals have with one another. That's because they speak Patois or Jamaican English. This language originated when the slaves changed their way of speaking in order to be able to communicate behind the backs of their masters. In Jamaican English there are still expressions and words that come from Chinese, Indian and various African languages. European influences cannot be ignored either. The language sounds unusual to tourists at first, but after a short time you can understand a lot, at least if you speak English.

For a long time, the Jamaican Creole language was viewed as inferior. But in the course of time it was able to establish itself more and more and was carried out into the world, for example through reggae music. The Rastafaris in particular have had a significant influence on the patois in the recent past and the language is now socially acceptable, so that various artists write their works in patois and an "Oxford Dictionary of Jamaican English" has been published.

Patios sounds like a simplification of English and is mainly characterized by a certain speaking rhythm. Some examples:

"Rhythm" becomes "riddim", "I am hungry" becomes "me hungry" and the famous th is replaced with d. So the others are not "them", but simply "dem".

Where are you from?

Ah we you come from?

Hello, how are you?

Eh man, wha happen?

Everything OK?

Everyt’ing irie?

Are you coming

U nu come?


Ya man!


One love

Greeting / farewell






Roger that!/?

Lakes! /?

Come soon

Doesn't mean the bus (or whatever) is about to show up, but rather the opposite. It is to be understood in the sense of "will appear at some point, or not ... you will then see."

The influence of the Spaniards on the history of Jamaica cannot be overlooked or overheard to this day, because many places were founded by the first colonial rulers, so they got Spanish names.

Montego Bay

Often called MoBay by the locals, named after the butter (manteca) that the Spaniards exported from Jamaica.


Sometimes just called town.

Ocho Rios

In short: Ochee, is Spanish for "eight rivers".


In short: Neg, the place was named after the black thornfish that were native to the rivers in the area. Black means negro in Spanish.

Port Antonio

Was originally christened Puerto Anton by the Spanish.


Called Sav by the locals, translated from Spanish means "plain by the sea".