The Jamaican patois (patwah) is a really interesting language. We may speak the same language, but unlike the many others in existence, there are various ways to spell most words. For instance, the Jamaican patois for girl can be spelt gyal, gal or gurl; but this depends on the writer themselves. Another interesting thing about this language is that while all Jamaicans may speak it, not everyone can read it. This ties in with the various spellings available for the words, as well as the fact that the language is not taught officially in any school (even though there should be a version of the bible written in patois). Let me take the time here to mention a lovely Jamaican lady by the name of Louise Bennett-Coverley (Ms. Lou), who had started the task of preparing written forms of patois and shared them to the world through poems and songs. So, I do apologize if my spelling may seem a bit different from the ones you may be familiar with. As I said before, it is all dependent on the writer.

The wonderful Ms. Lou

Anyway, with that out of the way, here are some more Jamaican Sayings in continuation to the previous mumble.

 

“See an’ blind, hear an’ deaf” (See and blind, hear and deaf)

Translation: There are situations where you should pretend that you did not hear or see anything in order to avoid getting involved.

 

“A nuh di same day leaf drop a wata battam dat it rotten” (It is not the same day that a leaf settles at the bottom of water that it decays)

Translation: Some things will take time so have patience.

 

“Di fus’ wata hog find, him wash” (The first water that a hog/pig finds, he will wash himself in)

Translation: Do not let an opportunity pass you by as you never know when you may get another chance.

 

“Chicken merry, hawk deh near” (If a chicken is merry, a hawk is nearby.)

Translation: Your actions have consequences, so while you are acting out or misbehaving be wary as your punishment will catch up to you.

 

“Learn fi creep before yuh walk” (You must learn to crawl before you walk)

Translation: You have to take things slowly. Learn the basics first.

 

“If yuh throw stone inna hog pen, the one who squeal, is him it lick” (If you were to throw a stone in a hog’s/pig’s sty, the one that squeals is the one that was hit)

Translation: The one who reacts the most to a statement is offended by it or guilty of something.

 

“Kibba yuh mout’” (Kibba your mouth)

Translation: Shut up. Keep quiet.

 

“Wah no poisen fatten” (What doesn’t poison you will fatten you)

Translation: Basically, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

 

“Every day bucket a go a well, one day di battam a go drop out” (Every day a bucket is taken to the well, but one day the bottom of it is going to drop out)

Translation: There is a breaking point for everything.

 

“Every dawg has his day an’ every puss his 4 o’clock” (Every dog has his day and every cat his 4 o’clock)

Translation: You will get your time and your chance, don’t worry. Just because I am fortunate, blessed and have success now, doesn’t mean that you won’t some day as well.

Every dawg has his day an’ every puss his 4 o’clock

“Yuh tink a one day monkey want wife” (Do you believe that it’s just one day that a monkey wants a wife for?)

Translation: Never forget those who have helped you in the past as you may need their help in the future.

 

“Wanti, wanti, cyah getti; getti, getti nuh wanti” (Want it, want it, cannot get it; get it, get it, do not want it)

Translation: Do not take what you have for granted as there are others who may want or need what you have and cannot get it.

 

“Ol’ fya stick easy fi ketch” (A used fire stick is easy to catch)

Translation: It is easy to rekindle an old romance.

 

Well, that’s it for this mumble. Seems like I’m getting a handle on keeping them short. Just kidding, had to restrain myself and cut a whole lot.

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