As a young person growing up in Jamaica, you would often hear your parents, grandparents, or any other adult using a myriad of sayings meant to keep you in line or to impart life-long lessons. As you get older, you may even find yourself using some of these same sayings.
Journey with me down memory lane to explore a few of these sayings you heard growing up Jamaican:
1.“Yuh free paper bun” – Your free time is up!
Popularly uttered to children in reference to having to go back to school, at the end of a holiday break
2. “Pass me di ting deh………a nuh dis mi did sen yuh fa”
Bring to me (the name of the item)… this is not what I asked for
3. “Di house fi clean ! Uno love go out and di place look suh. No man nuh want nuh nasty gyal”
The house needs to be cleaned! You all like going out leaving the place like this. No man will want to be with a messy woman.
4. “Yuh wah sumting fe cry bout” – Do you want a reason to cry?
Jamaican parents always ask this question whenever they are scolding a child and the child begins to cry. The child usually stops crying at this point.
5. “Go wash di two likkle plate dem in the sink” – Wash the few plates in the sink
This is often a deceiving statement, because the sink is usually overflowing with plates instead of having just a few.
6. “Come outta big people business, yuh love mix up too much”
This is an adult conversation, please go elsewhere. Oftentimes adults will start a conversation in your presence, and when you try to hang around to catch the “tea”/ listen, they ask you to go elsewhere.
7. “Me n yuh ah nuh fren”
You and I are not friends. A parent would usually say this to remind the child to know his/her place whenever they are being cheeky or disrespectful.
8. “U too walk bout, u nuh see di news? People ah dead!”
You spend too much time on the road, haven’t you seen the news? People are dying! A parent will say this whenever they notice their child going out very often, highlighting that it isn’t always safe outside.
9. “Mi affi speak to dem parents first”
I will have to speak with their parents first. A mother’s response to her child asking to visit a friend’s house.
10. “You bathe yet? Cleanliness is godliness”
Have you taken a bath yet? Cleanliness is next to godliness
Regular showers and keeping your body clean is viewed as a sign of spiritual purity.
11. “Guh drink some tea. It wi mek yuh feel bettah
Have some tea, you will feel better. Tea is considered the universal medicine in Jamaica and is always recommended first when someone isn’t feeling well.
12. “No , guh siddung ahn read yuh book yuh love out ah door too much” *kisses teet*
This is a response a parent often gives to a child asking to go outside, usually to play.
13. “A hope a so yuh know yuh book work.”
I hope you know your schoolwork, just the same. A parent will say this usually when they see or hear a child enjoying something that is not school-related.
14. “Ms.chin or Mr.chin”
The name automatically used to refer to a Chinese or Asian person in Jamaica
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