The Language

The official language of Barbados is English, however many claim that the Barbadian dialect can be a whole separate language due to its limitlessness, ever increasing vocabulary and words which have multiple meanings. The dialect is a fusion of mainly British English and components borrowed from languages in West Africa. Some words or phrases (and meanings) that you may hear during your visit to Barbados are:

  • Bajan - Of Barbadian decent
  • Wanna - You all
  • All two - both
  • Dis - this
  • Dat - that
  • De- the
  • Effin - a variant of ‘if’
  • In-troot - Are you telling the truth?
  • Bad feels - feeling ill
  • flim or picture - a film/movie
  • bassa bassa- A fight or uproar
  • Big up - salutation/ kudos
  • Cuh-dear - an exclamation to something that is cute
  • Cuttah - Bun Sandwich
  • Safe - cool, good, ok
  • Lime - hang out in a group
  • Whahappen - What happened?
  • Wah part you from? - Where do you live?
  • Wuk-Up - To dance by moving your waist and hips in a circle
  • Caw Blen/ Cheese on bread / Crimons - Oh shoot!
  • Uh? - Pardon me?

Proverbs

Barbadian Proverb 1. Ef greedy wait hot wud (would) cool- Patience will be rewarded
Barbadian Proverb 2. Cat luck ain dog luck- What one person may get away with may cause problems for another person
Barbadian Proverb 3. De higha de monkey climb, de more he show he tail- The more you show of the more you show your faults
 

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