Want to know how to say "hi" in Jamaica? "Yow Wah gwaan" (pronounced wa-gwaan) is one way to say “hi” or “hello” in Jamaica. Actually, the main language is English in Jamaica. The locals call it Patois (patwa) and linguists call it Jamaican Creole. Jamaican Patois is a spoken language that has a variety of words that are formed together to make organized sentences. But it is considered normal to just say "hi" or "hello."
When listening to a Jamaican speak, sometimes it is hard to understand what they say because they usually speak rather fast. The words seem to run together all the while, and leaving out certain syllables makes it difficult to understand the first time. For instance, if a word like “everybody” comes into the sentence, only two syllables may be pronounced.
Jamaican Creole language roots mainly come from the English language, but it has not been established as an official language yet. Sailors, indentured servants, convicts and soldiers brought early Modern English to the Caribbean, and it was known as a more conservative form of English. Fragmented English was in the making during the slavery days and had African influences.
Between 1700 and 1834, a large number of Africans were sent to Jamaica to work on the sugar plantations. The white Creoles on the island did not want to portray themselves as being Englishmen. With that said, the union between the Africans and the white Jamaicans brought about the Jamaican Creole. However, writers often publish in Creole, materials such as novels, short stories and plays. Usually, written Creole is updated standard English.
When visiting Jamaica, you have to pay really close attention when a local speaks to you, but there should not be a problem with any language barriers.
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