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What Language Is Spoken in Jamaica?

What Language Is Spoken in Jamaica?
language of jamaica
(Last Updated On: November 7, 2023)

What Language Is Spoken in Jamaica

Are you planning a visit to Jamaica and wondering what language is spoken in Jamaica? Well, there are three languages that are spoken in Jamaica: English, Spanish and Patois (a creole language that developed from English).

Each of these languages has its own history and origin, but it’s interesting to note that Jamaica’s official language is still English—even though it’s not the most commonly spoken language by far.

This guide to the languages of Jamaica will provide you with some history and information about each one. You might be surprised to learn what language people speak in Jamaica! Read also about our Haitian Creole Translation Services.

The History of Jamaican Languages

The English language is Jamaican’s native language, however, there are many African languages spoken on the island. Jamaican English is a dialect of English spoken in Jamaica.

This dialect includes various Creole and pidgin intermediate varieties, as well as some forms of Standard English. The Jamaican Creole language developed from contact between runaway slaves and their British owners. Konchri Sain is an African-based religion that was brought to Jamaica by slaves.

The oral language was developed by slaves who were unable to read or write. North America and Central Africa are two regions where the Jamaican dialect is spoken. There is a language barrier between these two regions due to the difference in culture and origin.

The Jamaican poems contain plenty of salty idioms that might not be understood by English speakers outside of Jamaica. It takes time for non-native speakers to become fluent with such words and phrases. Some people have even called this Jamaican patois.

West Africans often mix their own regional tongue with Jamaican Creole, resulting in a new form of mixed language. Younger generations of children can grow up speaking this mixed tongue without realizing it has any roots at all in West Africa.

what language is spoken in jamaica
language jamaica

A Brief Overview of Jamaican Patois

Jamaican Patois is an English Creole language spoken on the island of Jamaica. It is considered a separate language from standard English, but is closely related to it. Jamaican Patois has its own grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

It is estimated that about 2.5 million people speak Jamaican Patois as their first language. The majority of those speakers are Jamaicans, but there are also small populations of non-Jamaicans who use the language as well.

Other countries with substantial populations speaking Jamaican Patois include Guyana (190,000), Trinidad and Tobago (450,000), Belize (90,000), Dominica (90,000), Canada (3500) and US (5000).

However, for most speakers, Jamaican Patois is only used in informal settings or with family members or friends. Standard English is usually used when interacting with outsiders or when discussing serious topics. In school, children learn both languages – which can be confusing at times.

The official language of government documents is still standard English; however, more signs have been translated into Jamaican Patois over time to make them more accessible to locals.

As part of the colonial legacy in Jamaica, many locals identify with their British heritage while simultaneously rejecting British oppression by using both languages interchangeably.

The Origins of Patois

The official language of Jamaica is English, but the vast majority of Jamaicans also speak a unique dialect of English known as Patois. Patois developed from a mix of African, Spanish, and English influences, and is considered by many to be a creole language.

Although English is the main language of education and government, Patois is used more frequently in day-to-day life. While some people may consider Patois to be a substandard form of English, it is actually a rich and complex language with its own grammar and vocabulary.

Nevertheless, Patois is not based on any particular European language and is influenced by contact between native Africans and Europeans who spoke other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Welsh and Cornish.

language in jamaica

Are There Any Other Languages Spoken in Jamaica

Jamaica is an English-speaking country, but that doesn’t mean that Jamaicans don’t have their own way of speaking. Jamaican Patois, or simply Patois (pronounced patwa), is the native language of the island.

Although most Jamaicans speak English, you’ll hear Patois being used more often than not. Patwa is a dialect of English that developed from Africans who came to Jamaica as slaves and mixed with Europeans. It’s heavily influenced by African languages like Twi and Yoruba, as well as French Creole and Spanish.

Patois is mostly spoken on the street, though it’s gradually gaining acceptance in formal settings too. As an outsider, it can be hard to understand what people are saying without being fluent in Patois yourself – but if you take some time to learn some words here and there then your understanding will grow with every conversation!

jamaica languages

How Has English Influenced Jamaican Creole

Jamaican Creole is a dialect of English that is spoken on the island of Jamaica. The language has been influenced by both African and British influences.

Jamaican Creole has its own unique pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. While the majority of Jamaicans speak English, there is a small minority who speak Jamaican Creole as their first language. Check out our infographic about Haitian Creole.

In fact, many Jamaicans find it difficult to understand those who don’t speak this dialect. Even some native English speakers have trouble understanding Jamaican Creole.

For example, words like ‘deh’ are often used to replace ‘the’. ‘Deh mi sey dat deh be bad tings happenin’ could translate into ‘I said that things are happening’.

These types of substitutions make it challenging for non-Jamaicans to decipher what is being said or written.


Jamaica is a melting pot of cultures, and as such, there are a variety of languages spoken on the island. The three most common languages are English, Spanish, and Patois.

No, Jamaican is not just broken English. It is a language in its own right, with its own grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Jamaican is a creole language, which means that it has elements of both African and English.

Ello is the most common way to say hello in Jamaican patois. It is very similar to the English version but they don’t pronounce the ‘h’ at the start.

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