Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bajan to English to Jamaican Dictionary (Some of what I’ve learned so far)

I thought I'd share some of the fun things I've learned in terms of language while I've been in BIM and try to break down some language barriers while I'm at it. Bear in mine that I am not a linguist. I am merely a learning Caribbean girl.

1) Sain- Something- Sumn/ Sup’n
Sentence examples:      (Bajan) Do sain fa me
                                     (English) Do something for me
                                     (Jamaican) Do sumn fi mi

2) Malicious- Curious/Inquisitive- Faas
Sentence examples:      (Bajan) Wendy Williams does be too malicious when it comes to celebs
                                     (English) Wendy Williams is too inquisitive when it comes to celebs
                                     (Jamaican) Wendy Williams too faas when it come to di celebrity dem

3) Gine- Going- A go/ Gone a (in relation to a person going somewhere)
Sentence examples:      (Bajan) I gine campus mart
                                     (English) I am going to to the campus mart
                                     (Jamaican) Mi a go di campus mart or Mi gone a campus mart

4) Wunna- You (Plural)- Unu
Sentence examples:      (Bajan) Wunna does really make me sick
                                     (English) You (all) make me sick
                                     (Jamaican) Unu sick mi
On a related note:
Bajans also say “yuh all” while Trinis (Trinidadians) say “all yuh” (sometimes sounds like ‘all ya’).

At first, I was thrown by how some things were said by Barbadians or Trinidadians but when I put them next to things said by Jamaicans or those of another Caribbean country, it somehow makes sense in terms of how words and phrases evolved. Eg: Wunna makes sense when I look at how similar it sounds to unu- it sort of sounds like “unu” with a ‘w’ at the front. Another example is “all yuh”. It’s just an inverted way of saying “you all”/”yuh all”.

5) Hey/Hay- Here- Ya so
Sentence examples:      (Bajan) What gine on hey?
                                     (English) What is going on here?
                                     (Jamaican) Whaa gwaan ya so?/What a gwaan ya so?

Note:  It may seem confusing to those of us not versed in Jamaican patois but “go” and “going” is conjugated (in Jamaican patois) depending on the subject being referred to as well as the preposition it follows as well as the tense. It’s just something I’ve learned to speak much better than I’ve learned to explain. Maybe when we become standardized, it’ll be easier. ;)


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