Patois Phrases

There are thousands upon thousands of patois phrases. Everyday phrases such as “cho mon ah whe yuh a duh” or “eem bay kno” are repeated each day in Jamaica. Phrases are used in just about every situation. There are phrases used to express happiness and joy. There are phrases used to express surprise. There are phrases used in the innumerable situations people encounter in their everyday lives. There are no limits to the phrases and the situations in which particular phrases can be used.

Let’s discuss this further and then look at some examples.

Phrases used to express happiness
Certain phrases are used in the Jamaican language to express surprise or happiness. A phrase which begins with the word “wuhyoi” may be used to express surprise, happiness or even grief. For example the phrase “wuhyoi, ah yuh bay fi gwaan” means “wow, it’s you who should have gone”. Depending on how the phrase is used it could be used to expresses the speakers surprise that the person he or she is speaking to did not go. Similarly, the same phrase could be used to express grief or sorrow that the person being spoken to did not go.

Phrases used to express surprise
A word which often precedes an expression of surprise is the word “jeezan”. For example the phrase “jeezan! Cooh deh” means “WOW! Look at that.” Here this word “jeezan” is used in the patois phrase to attract attention to someone or something. Those familiar with Jamaican patois would immediately realize that the speaker is either excited or surprised about something or surprised at someone because the word “jeezan” was used.

Phrases used in everyday situations
In Jamaican Patois there are invariably patois phrases which are used in everyday situations. For example: “nuh” is a word which when used at the end of a sentence can show that the speaker is being insistent or impatient. Here is an example of the word “nuh” used in an everyday patois phrase: “jus nyammi nuh.” This phrase means “just eat it, already” here we used the word “already” as a loose translation of the word “nuh” to show that the speaker is either being insistent or impatient with whoever he or she is speaking to because whoever he or she is speaking to “has not yet finished eating or has not yet started eating.”

The Jamaican dialect is a rich and expressive one containing thousands upon thousands of patois phrases and expressions.