If you are a foreigner to the island, you may have fallen victim of “trying to speak like the Jamaicans do”. Though English is our official language we often resort to speaking Jamaican Patois and take delight in listening to non-natives trying to speak like we do. So perhaps you have been around us long enough to hear us speak about different things – whether describing someone, addressing someone or merely heard us blurt one of our colourful expressions – nuh true?! (Isn’t it true?)
Let me share with you, an interesting list of names Jamaicans give to body parts.
- Farrid is the term used to describe the forehead, the part of the face that is just above the eyebrows.
- Han miggle is the popular term used to describe the palm of the hands.
- Foot battam refers to the sole of the foot.
- Nose-ole is the phrase used to describe the nostril.
- Jaw cawna is the term used to describe the side of the jaw, where the moveable lower bone and the fixed upper bone meet.
- Knee cup is the term used to refer to the knee cap. This is a thick bone forming a joint with the thigh bone, covering and protecting the surface of the knee joint.
- Cubbitch hole is the term used to describe the depression found at the nape of the neck.
- Nable refers to the navel and is often paired with “string” when referring to the umbilical cord; Nable-tring/navel-string. The navel is the area on the abdomen where the umbilical cord was once attached. It may be a hollow area, flat or protruding.
- Heel back refers to the heel, the projection at the back of the foot. The location of the heel on the foot makes the “back” in the name redundant; Just not in the eyes of Jamaicans.
So the next time you hear a Jamaican describing a body part, and you are not sure what they are referring to, don’t be afraid to ask!