Welcome to “Learn Jamaican Dialect in 5 lessons ”. This comprehensive course will instantaneously teach you how to interact with locals and become a Jamaican cultural Ambassador (FACT: There are actually more Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica, so chances of you finding a few are very high).
Our ultimate course covers the uses and relationships between popular local expressions and corresponding English translation. This course is primarily for those who want to communicate effectively with locals and allow everyone to share special moments that will create a life time of great memories.
This course features practical and real easy to follow translations between two persons having conversations to make your experience as real as possible.
So whether you're planning to visit Jamaica or just enthused about learning our Dialect. Let us help you understand one of the key ingredient to our music, and culture from the comfort of your own home with our easy-to-use guide.
With this course you:
ah foo fah?- whose is it?
example:ah foo fah bag ah sih'n dis? - whose bag of things is this?
ah whe ee deh?- where is it?
unno seet?- have you(plural)seen it? unno know?- do you(plural)know? wha mi seh?- what did I say?
whay uh seh?- what did you say?
whay u hah seh?- wha tare you saying?(earlier this word was used as a “Greeting”,but it is also used when asking questions)
whad em ah seh?whatare they saying?
wha yuh seh likkle while?- what did you say just now? (literally: what did you say a little while ago?)
desso yuh wanty?- is that where you want it?
ah suh ee guh? - is that how it goes?
duh wha?- do what?
example: yuh affi duh wah? - you have to do what?
whe yuh deh?- where are you?
wha mi duh?- what did I do?
wha yuh waah mi duh?- what do you want me to do?
yuh ear misah?- do you hear me sir?
wha dem deh pon?- what are they up to?
donti?- am I correct?(often used at the end of a sentence when asking a question)
example:dem lef fram yah roun tree, dontit ?- they left from here around 3, am I correct?
(wha) mek?- why are?;what makes? (the“wha” is sometimes omitted in this phrase)
example:wha mek yuh ah guh?- why are youg oing?
example:mek yuh look pah mi suh? - what makes you look at me like that?(Note the“wha” is omitted,as we said it could be earlier).
wha bow yuh?-what about you?
den yuh nuh know wah?- and do you want to know what else?
example:den yuh nuh know wah?eem seh eem done -And you want to know what else?He said that he is done.
simiah seh?- do you see what I am saying?
example: mi luv guh Town, simiah seh?- I love tog o to Kingston , do you see what I am saying?(Kingston is the capital city in Jamaica)
wha duh yuh?- what is wrong with you?; what is the matter with you?
Using the Word “Mek” to Give Instructions:
mek – let; make
mek wi dweet - let us do it
example: ah sops suh mek wi dweet - it's easy so let's do it mek dem galang – make them go on
mek wi tap yasso - let us stop here
example: mi tirsty mek wi tap yasso – I am thirsty let us stop here mek up fih eet – make up for it
mek wi tan up - let us stand up
example: mek wi tan up caw wi bow fih splurt – Let us stand up because we are about to go
mek mi tan - let me stay; let me be
example: mek mi tan yasso - let me stay here
example: mek mi tan nuh! an tap badda badda mi - let me be! and stop bothering me!
mek yuh tan - let you stay; let you be mek yuh seet - let you see it
mek yuh gwaan - let you go
mek wi guh nuh! - let's go!
example: ee dark mek wi guh nuh - it's dark let us go / it's dark why don't we go
mek wi tan yah - let us stay here
example: di show nice mek wi tan yah langah - the show is nice let us stay here longer
mek wi seet - let us see it
example: ee cris, mek wi seet - it's pretty let us see it.
mek wi si dung - let us sit down
example: mi foot dem tieyad mek wi si dung - my feet are tired let us sit
mek unno siddung - let you (plural) sit down
example: wi ah guh mek unno siddung - we are going to let you (plural) sit down.
mek ee guh dung – make it go down
Words Describing People, Places and Things
sih'n; sinting – something
example: sit'n a kip ova deh -something is being held over here
(usually refers to a concert,meeting,gathering etc)
dah gal deh - that girl there dat ooman - that woman dah mon - that man
dem – them
comboluh - friends (often used derogatorily)
example: ah fi yuh comboluh dem deh? - are those your friends? (used derogatorily)
draw dung - to lose weight
example: she draw dung eeh? - she lost weight didn't she?
rudey; rudebwoy; raggamuffin - gangster; thug; ruffian
example: ah bare rudebwoy deh bout yah – there are nothing but thugs here.
stoosh – boastful; fancy
example: shi ave awn stoosh boot – she is wearing fancy shoes. example: dem gwaan stoosh eeh? -they behave boastfully, don't they?
bag ah wire - a trouble maker cravem - greedy
example: dem cravem, dem nyam tuh much- they are greedy, they eat too much
ginnal – slick; trickster
example: eem too ginnal mi nuh ramp wid eem - he's too slick I don't mess (play around)
cruff - lacking ambition
example: smaddy tell eem seh dem cruff – somebody told him that they lack ambition.
lakka; lakka wha - similarly to (similar to)
example: eem an mawgah lakka tred - his hand is skinny similarly to a thread. (skinny like thread)
claffy – someone who behaves foolishly (this word is often used derogatorily)
example: dat wutliss setee- that worthless couch
penny – to be jealous
example: dem ah penny ar - they are jealous of her penny yuh - jealous of you (No audio available) penny eem - jealous of him (No audio available)
fenneh - out of luck
example: eem get fenneh! - he is out of luck!
talawah- feisty; fierce
example: shi likkle buh shi talawah - she is small but she is fierce
chakah chakah – untidy
example: wha mek di place suh chakah chakah? - why is the place so untidy?
ben – vexed; angry; to twist; bend; to pout at the mouth.
example: mi ben caw yuh nay seh nutten – I'm angry because you did not say anything example: watch eem ah ben up eem mout – watch him pouting his mouth (usually said about
someone who is becoming angry)
boops (verb) - to take large amounts of money from someone by using charm or persuasion boops (noun) – a person with money who is being taken advantage of
example: dem ah boops (verb) eem out – they are taking all his money example: eem ah ar boops (noun) – he is her source of money
pop dung - to break down
example: di kiyaar pop dung affa eem drive aff- the car broke down after he drove off dunkyah - someone that does not care; lackadaisical
tegareg - a hooligan
ee – it (No audio available)
Showing Location or Position:
desso - there
obah desso - over there (“ova desso” means the same thing)
fi deh - to be; should be
example: ah desso ee fi deh - that's where it should be
deh bout - to be present; to be around
example: di police mussi deh bout - the police must be around yasso – here
tan - to stay; to stand; to have a certain personality
example: wi ah tan yasso- we are staying here / we are standing here deh- to be present (literally means: there)
deh whe - it's where (literally: there where)
example: ee deh whe dem leffy - it's where they left it.
deh deh - to be there
example: nuff mon ooda shame fi deh deh- many men would be ashamed to be there deh desso- to be there in a specific location
deh yah – to be here
example: nuh guh nuh whe ee deh yah - don't go anywhere it's here
deh ear - it is here
example: nuh guh nuh whe ee deh ear- don't go anywhere it's here
dem deh – those over there
example: ah dem deh wi waah – it's those over there we want ee deh side dah - it is beside
ee deh side dah di..... – it is beside the ........ ee deh undah di ..... - it is under the .......
ee deh inna di - it is inside the ............
ee deh pan tappah di - it is on top of the ........ fi gwaan – should go
example: ah dem deh fi gwaan - it's those that should go inna – in
inna di - in the...... / inside the ............ inna wha? - in what?
inna whe? - in where?
pon – on ponny - on it
pon di lef - on the left
pon di right - on the right miggle - middle
up suh - up there
up desso - up there nuh whe - nowhere
example: ee nuh deh nuh whe - it is nowhere
somewhe – somewhere
example: ee deh somewhe roun yah - it's around here somewhere
example: di boot dem deh ahdoor - the shoes they are outside dah one yah - this one here
dah one deh - that one (there)
example: dah one deh mi waah - that's the one I want
dut – dirt; the ground
example: look pon di dut fi eet - look on the ground for it
fur - far
Some Words with Several Meanings:
The word "Tan" has several meanings
tan - to stay; to have a certain personality; to stand; to let be example: tan dung deh - stay down there
example: wha mek yuh tan suh? - why are you like that? (literally: what makes you stay so?)
example: ah suh eem tan - that's how he is; that's how his personality is example: mi tell di ole ah dem fi tan up - I told all of them to stand up example: mek wi tan! - let us be!; leave us alone!; let us stay!
The word "Bun" has several meanings
bun - to burn; to cheat on someone; to hurt someones feelings example: di fiyah bun eem - the fire burned him
example: eem gal ah geem bun - his girlfriend is cheating on him (literally: his girl is giving him cheat)
example: dem lose an ee bun dem - they lost and their feelings are hurt
The word "Buk" has several meanings
buk - to meet; to push to the limit
example: till wi buk again - until we meet again
example: shi ah guh buk di car spidomitah - she's going to push the car speedometer to the limit.
buk up - to happen by luck; to meet by accident example: ah buk up dat! - that happened by luck!
example: wi might buk up one ah dem day yah - we might meet accidentally one of these days
The word "Bruk" has several meanings
bruk – to break; to have no money
example: bruk glass nuh fi deh ponny grung - broken glass doesn't belong on the ground. example: mi nah guh bleach caw mi bruk - I'm not going clubbing because I have no money
bruk out - to behave wildly; to break out
example: wi si dem ah bruk out inna di session - we saw them behaving wildly at the gathering example: nuff mon waah bruk out ah pavahty- a lot of men want to break out of poverty
bruk dung - to break down
example: di kiyaar bruk dung e-nuh? - you know?, the car broke down!
bruk wile - to behave wildly
example: dem jussa wait fi eem lef fi bruk wile- they are just waiting until he leaves so they can behave wildly.
bruk weh - to break away; to break loose
example: di kite tring buss an di kite bruk weh - the kite string broke and the kite broke loose.
The word "Cris" has several meanings
cris- stylish; good looking; doing okay
example: dah kiyaar deh cris - that car is stylish
example: dah ooman oba deh look cris– that woman, over there, is good looking example: yuh cris? yuh waah sih'n? - are you okay? do you want something?
Size, Quantity, Strength:
brawtah - to give an extra one for free.
example: mi done buy tree, suh yuh ah gimme brawtah?- I have bought 3, are you giving me an extra one for free?
ole eep - a whole heap; a lot wingy- tiny
example: wha kynna wingy sih'n yuh ah gimmy? - what kind of tiny thing are you giving me?
wanglah – plentiful; a lot
example: di tree dem ripe suh wi have ee wanglah – there is fruit on the trees so we have a lot
likkle bit – small; petite; a little bit
example: shi likkle bit eeh? - she is small isn't she?
(eeh – used at the end of a sentence to show that you're asking a question)
example: dash weh likkle bit ah eet – throw away a little bit of it (Sometimes the 't' in “eet” is silent)
craven - greedy
example: yuh too craven yuh jus done nyam an yuh waah more - you are too greedy, you just finished eating and you want more.
mawgah – skinny
treddy treddy – skinny; slim mampy - fat
bluhbuh bluhbuh - massive, huge
degeh degeh - used to emphasize that there isn't much of something or there isn't much of someone example: one degeh degeh fren shi ha - she has only one friend
dibby dibby – weak; low quality fenkeh fenkeh – weak; sickly
sops - easy
example: dah tes deh ah sops - that test is easy piyaagi piyaagi - weak
piyaa piyaa- weak helabah- very big
ram – full (No audio available)
beenie - small, tiny (No audio available)
nuff- a lot (No audio available)
trappin- strong (No audio available)
example: da breddah deh trappin eeh? - that brother is strong, isn't he?
lik ah barrows- to borrow something
soeh-suh – only; nothing but
example: ah soeh-suh mango pon di table - There are nothing but mangoes on the table. kiyaa baddah- cannot bother
ah suh ee guh? - is that how it is?
ah fraa whe day yah – recently; just a few days ago ah mussi suh - that must be how it is
tek set - to focus negative attention on; to attack
example: ah mi shi tek set pon - she focused her negative attention on me example: di dawg si eem an tek set pon eem - the dog saw him and attacked him
yuh too faas - you are too nosy; you are too quick well waah - really want
example: di pickney well waah fi guh - the children really want to go tek lick – to get hit
low wi - allow us; let us be
example: low wi mek wi guh tru - allow us to go through example: low wi nuh! - let us be! / leave us alone!
den mi nuh seh - didn't I say....
example: den mi nuh seh eem nuh fi dweet? - didn't I say that he shouldn't do it?
Note: “den mi nuh seh” sounds similar to “den mi know seh”. (No audio available)
den mi know she... - and i know that....
example: den mi know seh shi nayna guh – and I knew that I she was not going. (No audio available)
eye deh ah mi knee – ever since I was young
example: fram mi eye deh ah mi knee mi know ar - I've known her ever since I was young
mine shawp - to be careful; to have a sharp mind
example: ef yuh nuh mine sharp yuh crash - if you're not careful you will crash example: eem ah nuh nuh buffo eem mine shawp – he is not stupid, his mind is sharp
lef whe fram bow yah! - leave from around here!
kotch - to live with someone temporarily; to prop open; to sit on example: shi ah kotch wid dem - she is living with them temporarily example: ah beg yuh kotch di door fi mi - please prop open the door
example: di drum ah kotch pon di chair- the drum is sitting on the chair
hell an powdah ouse- a violent situation
example: ah hell an powdah ouse if dem buk up – it will be a violent situation if they meet bruk packit - to have no money (literally: broke pocket)
yuh mussi mad! - you must be mad dash weh- to throw away
chek fi- to look for; check for; to be into example: shi nuh chek fi dat - she is not into that
let awf- to give
example: let awf sih'n pon mi! - give me something!
flex - to behave; to make a move
example: bow time fi wi mek ah flex - it's about time we made a move example: watch ow unno flex - be careful of how you (plural) behave.
shock out - to wear outstanding clothes all bout – everywhere
unno nuh seet - you (plural) have not seen it. siddung yah - sit down here
kwoaty cut - out of luck
example: yuh kwoaty cut, nuh more nuh deh deh- you are out of luck, there are no more there.
sleeping police - speed bump (No audio available)
bhawl - to cry, to bawl (No audio available)
tek weh- take away (No audio available)
run boat - to cook (No audio available)
fawwud- to come, progress, to go forward (No audio available)
example: dem yute deh ah mek ah fawwud- those young people are making progress (No audio available)
example:yuh wanty, den fawwud – you want it, then come. (No audio available)
Some Common Words and Vocabulary:
kiyaa - cannot
massy – gang; crew; posse
puhpalik – to somersault; to flip over (used when referring to people)
bly - to give someone a chance
example: wi geem ah bly caw eem suh kine - we gave him a chance because he is so kind
bare/pear – only; nothing but
example: ah bare bud eem luv ketch- he only likes catching birds
example: pear crisas pawk up roun yah – there are nothing but pretty cars parked around here
wine - to dance nyam – to eat gimbridge- junk kurroaches- junk shoob- shove
higglah – a street side merchant
example: ole heap ah higglah deh out deh – a lot of street side merchants are out there badda - to bother; to be badder than
casco- fake (No audio available)
link - meet with, to contact, to call up, to visit (No audio available)
bus - to burst, to damage, a bus (vehicle) (No audio available) example: dem bus dung di wall – they damaged (flattened) the wall example: mine yuh bus di balloon – you be careful of bursting the balloon
example: eem bus up di ole ah di bakkle – he damaged (smashed) all of the bottles
hot – to be hot, to hurt, to be dangerous (No audio available)
example: fi mi an ah hot mi – my hand is hurting
example: da pawt ah di districk deh ot- that part of the neighborhood is dangerous
(in this example hot is pronounced 'ot' without the 'h' as it is pronounced in some parts of
Jamaica- this will be explained later)
frenemy - a friend who is an enemy (No audio available)
wuk – work (No audio available)
A Few Numbers: As Some Jamaicans Pronounce Them:
Please Note: Jamaicans use the same words as used in Standard English for counting. The difference is in the pronunciation. Here are a few examples:
nil – zero tree - three tutty - thirty fawty – forty
tutty tree – thirty-three (No audio available)
Lesson 6 * There is no audio for Lesson 6
Hi, I am from the lovely Island of Jamaica, where I live in the Tourist Capital on the North Coast which boast some of the worlds best beaches and attractions. My interaction with Tourist and other Travelers spans from Hotels, Tour Operators, Attractions, Banking and for the past 7 years, Information Technology as a consultant. I have a passion for people and as a traveler myself I understand the importance of blending in like the "Natives" to get the best of all opportunities and capture every moment.