It is almost unlikely for Jamaicans to greet you with merely a hi, or hello. There is always an additional comment attached to the greeting, sometimes offensive and sometimes inquisitive. They sometimes don’t mean any harm when they spew these greetings but they most times come across offensive to the person on the receiving end.
Here are some ways Jamaicans greet people they haven’t seen in a while:
- Yuh skinny eeh or Wat a way yuh get maagaa… Yuh sick? – You look very meager…. Are you ill? Jamaicans tend to associate weight loss with illness and so whenever they see someone that they perceive have lost weight, they tend to ask or wonder if the person is ill. It can be offensive if the person being questioned is very healthy and chooses to start maintaining a specific weight for personal reasons.
- Yuh round eeh – You look plump/fat! This is the opposite of telling someone they look slimmer than last saw them and as equally as offensive to the person being addressed.
- Yuh scarce like gold – You are as scarce as gold. Gold is considered a very rare element and so this statement is merely saying that the person is hard to find.
- Life gree wid yuh – Life is treating you well. This is a Jamaican’s way of telling someone that they are glowing and that life seems to be treating them well.
- A yuh dat! – Is that you? An exclamatory phrase, used when a Jamaican is excited to see someone, but they still have an ounce of shock or disbelief.
- Yuh alive! – You were alive?! This statement is not actually because they believe you have died but rather because they had not seen nor heard from you in a while, it was almost as if you never existed anymore.
- Rahtid a who dis? – Well who is this? This is a rhetorical question. The speaker does actually know who you are and is asking rhetorically.
- A weh yuh did deh? – where have you been? This statement can seem a bit intrusive especially if the speaker seems to expect you to answer and you really don’t want to share. But it’s also a way of saying they haven’t seen you around, for some time.
- Lawks, fat ah kill yuh! – Wow, you are so overweight! Jamaicans are notorious for telling people that they have gotten fat or gained weight. Ironically not everyone appreciates being told this especially when the weight gain is not one that they want naturally and or is related to some medical issues.
- A long time me nuh see yuh enuh – it’s been so long since I last saw you! Older folks especially tend to use this statement a lot. Just like the English translation, it simply means they haven’t seen you in a while.
- Yuh big as yuh want to be! – you are as big as you want to be! This statement simply means, you can be whoever/whatever you want to be.
- Yuh dash mi weh – You have forgotten about me! A lot of people get offended with this greeting because communication is said to go both ways. This statement insinuates that the person on the receiving end has not taken the time to reach out to the speaker. The person on the receiving end might be thinking that the speaker could have also reached out themselves.
- Yuh get rich an’ switch – You got rich and changed up on us! Jamaicans use this statement as an indirect way of telling someone that their attitude towards them has changed or that they don’t seem to be the person that they knew.
- Ah wha yuh bring fi mi – What did you bring with you for me? Though usually not expecting anything in return, this is a usual question Jamaicans greet friends and family with, especially those that are coming from abroad.
- Whappen Strainjah – What’s up stranger? Jamaicans refer to anyone they haven’t seen in a while – could be a few days, months or year as a stranger. So calling you a stranger is their subtle way of saying you have been missing in action for a while.
How have you been greeted by a Jamaican you haven’t seen in a while? Tell us below, how you were greeted.