Wha gwaan mi yout? Bomboclat Rasta! A wuh dem a try fi krank dem rudebways! You don’t get a thing? Well, you are not alone, I always had a bit of a hard time understanding the Jamaican slangs too. Many people especially young adults like to chat away in this strange language; you can listen to them for hours without understanding a word!
Where do they learn this language from? Of all languages why this one? Well, to answer those questions, a bunch of youth educated us about this new language that is slowly becoming major.
To understand or keep current with Jamaican slang, you need a teenager. So that's what I did, I visited about ten teenagers.
“Patois is a beautiful language; you find common terms like "yuh dun noh” meaning you already know or “Bomboclat”, a Jamaican expression meant to convey shock or surprise. It unites us as youth who love reggae and dancehall music,” said Ronnie Gashumba, a student at Lycee de Kigali
Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary are significantly different from English, despite heavy use of English words or derivatives. Jamaican Patois displays similarities to the Pidgin and Creole languages of West Africa, due to their common descent from the blending of African substrate languages with European languages.
It is widely known that the Jamaican English sounds more like a melody than an actual formal language. In fact, Patois phrases are often marked with precise intonations which give it all its unique characteristics
“You don’t need to go to class to learn this language, just listen to ‘Rasta-vibration’, if you love Jamaican music, you will definitely learn it, and even Patwa-English dictionaries are available,” Tony Bangirana, a.k.a Ton Banton.
The greatest influences of the Jamaican patois are teenagers and the Dancehall music. Due to the influence of both these groups, many different phrases and words have been created. With slangs, after a while a new one emerges and takes the previous one’s place.
“Many Dancehall artistes come up with various words or phrases to express meanings in their songs and their listeners begin to use it on a daily basis, so to attract fans, we sometimes throw in some slangs in patois too,” Said, Ras Kayonga, a dancehall reggae artist.
Reggae music is so vital in one’s voyage to speak Jamaican Patois and Jamaican Slang that it might be the number one way of learning the language. Roots reggae will also give you an insight into the culture of Jamaica and Rastafari!
So, bradas and sistas do yu ting but remember Inna Di dancehall, Yuh haffi speak Patwah an noh di term dem!