Jamaican Language

The official language in Jamaica is English. As Jamaicans, however, we speak our own creole language which is called Patois (pronounced ‘Patwa’). Patois is beautiful, most visitors find it fascinating. Most Jamaicans tend to speak mixed Patois and English , while there are few that speaks strictly English, but most are able to speak Patois. Please bear in mind that you will also find native Chinese here who may speak with their accent, or Indians who also speak with their native accent.

It can be very amusing how Jamaicans can quickly switch to their visitors English language accent without even thinking about it. How do they do it? Your guess is as good as mine. Why do they do it? Jamaicans tend to be very friendly and entertaining, and are able to adapt very easily and quickly.

Another interesting feature of our Patois language is that it is spoken slightly different in some Cities. For example, one may hear this Patois phrase in Ocho Rios, “mi wen a goh” which means in English “I was going”. But in Negril you may hear “mi ben deh goh”.

Don’t be too concerned about the Patois language when you visit. Most or all tourist caterers speak English and try to communicate as clear as possible to visitors. As I also mentioned earlier, some Jamaicans may quickly begin talking like you. So, don’t be surprised. “Ebery ting irie mon” (everything will be o.k.).

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