Home Jamaica's Culture & Heritage 15 Jamaican Patois Words That Originated From Ghana

15 Jamaican Patois Words That Originated From Ghana

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After the abolishing of the Atlantic Slave Trade, many slaves that were from Africa were left to live in the island plantations they worked on. Some of these lands later evolved into countries such as Jamaica.

Many of them were from different African countries and thus communication was a bit of a challenge since education was restricted.

So they came up with their own language which is now popularly known as Patois. A fusion of bits of different languages including English. So you’re likely to come across some words in patois that can be found in many African languages most predominantly Ghana. It is believed most of the slaves that were shipped to Jamaica were from Gold Coast.

Well! Let’s find out how true this assertion is.


1. Adrue – Medicine

Medicine in the Patois language is Adrue, pronounced “Aduru” which actually comes from the Akan language “Aduru” or “Aduro” which also stands for medicine.

2. Afasayah – Wild Yam

Wild yam in Akan is termed as “Afasew” and the Jamaicans term it as “Afasayah”, you see the similarities?

 

3. Afu – Farm

They term the plantation or the farm as “Afu” in Patois, same as “Afuw” in the Akan language.

 

4. Anansi – Spider

Thought only the Akans call it Anansi right, the Jamaicans also call it Anansi too.

 

5. Bafan – Baby

A baby below the age of two is called a “Bafan” in Patois and the word was derived from “Bofra” in the Akan language.

 

6. Broni – White person

They say Broni too in Patois

 

7. Casha – Thorn

Thorn in Akan is “Kasei” and in Patois the word is “Casha” which is where the word was derived from.

 

8. Dokunu – Kenkey

The Jamaicans say Dokuno too.

 

9. Nana – Grandparents

Nana means grandparents in the Akan language, it means the same in Patois too.

 

10. Opete – Vulture

We say Opete, they say opete too and it means the same.

 

11. Poto-poto – Mud

Akans will say, potoo or poto poto, the Jamaicans say same too.

 

12. Kaba-Kaba – Unreliable

Means fast fast in Ewe, to describe an unreliable person in Patois but the word is also predominant in the Ewe language too.

 

13. Mumu – Dumb

Mumu means dumb in both the Ewe and the Akan language and it also means same in Patois.

 

14. Kongkos – Gossip

The Jamaican will say, Kongkos and the Akan will say, Konkonsa. Hope you catch the drift.

 

15. Dote – Ground

Dote means ground in Patois and in Akan it means sand and you can clearly see where it is coming from.

 

Source – Wikipedia