Jamaican Language

langEnglish is the official Jamaican Language, but Patois (Patwa) is the language spoken most of the time. so when we speak of language in Jamaica, what we are really referring to is “Patwa.”

Here’s a video sample…

“Patwa” is a language made up solely of Jamaican words…which is really a combination of English and African dialect. It is not internationally recognized as an offical language, but it gets the communication job done! Jamaicans speak it among themselves and they understand each other very well…and It has been around for a very long time.

This is one of the true distinguishing factors for Jamaicans around the world.

Jamaican language

It came about during the slave days of the 17th century! West African slaves brought to the island were forced to learned the English language. Without formal training they began to make their own words that they could understand. Eventually, it would become what we now call “patwa.”

Today you will find that it spoken all over the island, in both the rural and urban areas among educated and uneducated Jamaicans alike. Which means that if you were to visit the island, or happen to meet any “true” Jamaican anywhere on the planet, you are bound to hear some Jamaican words coming out of their mouths.

Learning How To Speak Jamaican

Learning how to speak the Jamaican language is not all that hard either. There are no textbooks or official spelling of the Jamaican words that comes along with it, but you will find quite a few language dictionaries, videos, and audios created to teach those interested in learning the language…and I have to say that many of them are pretty good.

What this means for you the interested learner is that you need to begin by subscribing to the free newsletter offered at the top of this page, then grab yourself a copy of a Patwa dictionary.There are a lot of good ones out there. Next, you want to familiarize yourself with the words, listen to some pronunciations, find a Jamaican to practice with (optional), then visit the Island.

The language dictionary does a very good Job in covering a lot of words and should give you a solid foundation in speaking and understanding the language to a great extent.

That said, I hope you enjoy it! …and don’t forget to drop us a line and let us know your progress.


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What Other Visitors Have Said…

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Q: People say Gyal instead of girl why is that?

A: It just a matter of pronunciation. We call it patois (patwa) a combination of African dialect ……

Greeet Work!!
Well I’m a white boy, but I love Bob Marley’s songs and I play them a lot on my guitar. Anyway I constantly feel hat I want to speak like a Jamaican. Thanks ……

thanks love the page! keep up the good work blasssssss!…

All former British Caribean Islands speak Patwa. Some words may differ but the dialect is the same. the difference may be the Accent….

I wanna have this on my computer
Q: Can I download this somehow?

A: Download what?…

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4 Responses to Jamaican Language

  1. Fimi journal July 18, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    There’s a book called the jamaican creole language available on amazon it is the best I found so far

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