Non-Regional Diction: Jamaican Labrish

Labrish = gossip, chit-chat.

Everyone who has lived in Jamaica or who hangs around Jamaicans will notice that we speak in a corrupt form of English when we are among ourselves. It’s a dialect derived from a combination of Irish, English, and West African words and accents. There is no dictionary and the dialect is not the same throughout the island, but we all understand each other.

Imagine, to rahtid, seh mi coulda write inna patois an’ seh everybaddy did know ah wha’ me a seh! What a prekkeh! It woulda mean seh me an mi fren dem cuddn chat bak a people!

Mi chile, eff a wan ting fi mi people dem know seh a wen dem reach a farin, yu haffe bruk out eena patois.

Wha me seh!

Wen mi sistren dem an me a chat pon de phone doah, an’ wi nuh wah nuhbaddy fi know a wha we a seh, wi jus bruk out an start seh ennyting wha come a wi mout. Cos’n seh, dah way deh, de people dem inna de affice cyaan falla wi! Lawdamassy!

Seetya now — comma farin an all kyna stushie, speekie-spokie, uptown, downtown, crassroads people dem a chat de same way.  Fo wi nuh waan people fi faas inna wi bizniz. Eeh? Nuh chue?

Cuh ya nuh ma, same ting ya now. Mi haffe go cosn seh, mi deh a mi deks an faasie-dem a come fi si ah oo mi a chat to. Me gawn back a bakra wuk.

Tek cyear, Missis! Walk good!



Imagine if when I wrote in patois that everyone would know what it is I was saying. How horrible! It would mean that my friends and I couldn’t speak wherever we wanted!

Every Jamaican knows that once they get to a foreign country, they have to start speaking in some Jamaican patois.


When my friends and I are on the phone with each other, we just start speaking in our dialect and that way no one in the office can understand. Ha!

So here we are in a foreign country and everyone, upper class, lower class, middle class, all start to speak patois the same way. After all, you don’t want everyone in your business, do you?

See? Just as I said. Here comes someone who has overheard me speaking to you and is asking what it is that I’m saying. Gotta go back to work now.

See ya!

Daily Prompt: Non-Regional Diction

Categories: NaBloPoMo, postaday

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