In Jamaica as in other countries, saying hello and greeting people are very important. There are many different and varied ways of giving salutations in Jamaican Patois; the local dialect. The ways of giving salutations in Jamaican could be categorized as formal and informal. We will take a look at the most common ways of greeting people in Jamaica; both formally and informally.
The Formal Way of Greeting People
Standard English is the official language spoken in Jamaica and it is the language most often spoken in formal situations. You’ll often hear Standard English being spoken in job interviews, ceremonies, on local television shows and in such similar formal settings. Examples of formal greetings might include common expressions such as: “hello, how are you” which is often followed by “nice to meet you” or “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Informal Ways of Greeting People
Jamaican Patois is generally an informal way of speaking. Patois is most frequently spoken at home, in the streets, sung in music, used in local plays, and in other such informal situations. It is interesting to note that Jamaican patois is increasingly gaining acceptance and as a result it is increasingly being spoken in (formal) social situations once people feel comfortable with each other. Below you will find some popular ways of greeting people informally, along with an example of the greeting being used in a sentence. Note that the greeting can either be used as is or as a part of a sentence.
whaa gwaan? – what’s going on? / How are you?
Example: Whaa gwaan sah, nuh si yuh sence di daydah day – How are you sir? I haven’t seen you since the other day.
Whe yuh ah deal wid? – what’s the deal with you?
Example: Whaapm yute, whe yuh ah deal wid? – Hello young man, what’s the deal with you?
Rispec – used as a greeting
Example: Yes sah, rispec – Yes sir. Respect.
ah yuh dat? – sometimes used as a greeting (said in such a way to suggest that it’s been such a long time that the speaker hasn’t seen the listener that now he isn’t certain if he recognizes him or her)
Example: Whaa! Ah yuh dat? – Wow! Is that you?
There are many varied ways of greeting people in Jamaica. This article looked at some of the ways to greet people both formally and informally. Examples of the informal greetings, being used in a sentence, were given.Jamaica, music, patois, re