Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist phonetic system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.
It sweet mi so til! Patwa step up inna life an a bling pon gold chain. Di Friday night a Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW), mi buck up one journalist mi know long time. Im name Rob Kenner an im fly een from New York fi CFW. Im run Boomshots.com an im av one TV show pon Youtube an one Internet radio show. Im deh all bout.
Rob did a wear one chain hitch on pon one piece a plastic. Mi aks im a wa dat. Wen mi look good mi see seh di plastic did cut out fi show writin. An guess weh it a seh? TUN UP. Rob tell mi seh a one a im fren mek di chain an she deh pon di fashion show dat deh night. Im ha fi represent.
Di designer name Reshma B. She a music journalist an she call herself Reggae Girl About Town (RGAT). Fi her website a bawl out. Reshma born a London an from she a pikni she a listen reggae music. An she love Jamaica culture an fi wi language. One a di first gold chain she mek a REGGAE GAL.
Everywhere Reshma go, people a aks ar bout di chain dem. So she mek up her mind fi launch di line last year an she call it Reshma B chains. Rob do one interview wid her weh come out inna April inna Vibe magazine. Hear weh she seh: “I’m inspired by the street slang in my travels from London to Brooklyn to Kingston”.
Some a di Jamaican liriks pon di chain dem a DASH OUT, BRUCK OUT, SLAP WEH, BENZ PUNANY an MAAD. Some a di other word dem a TRILL, WAVY, FADED, RATCHET, SWAG an NANG. An Reshma just put out some new chain wid so-so ganja leaf.
PATWA WID ENGLISH ACCENT
Out a di whole a di chain dem, di one weh sell off nof nof a WAH GWAN. Mi did ha fi tell Reshma seh WAH GWAN no spell right. She lef off one a di A inna GWAAN. An she shuda put one next A inna di miggle a WAH an GWAAN. Dat naa stop di chain dem from sell.
An wen mi tink bout it, mi see seh same way wi fix up English fi suit wi, a di said same way English people a fix up fi wi language fi suit dem. Dem a chat patwa wid English accent. So ‘wa a gwaan’ turn inna ‘wa gwan’. An wi dis ha fi lou dem. Wi cyaan chain up fi wi language. It change up wen it go a foreign. Same like reggae music.
Reshma B du special chain fi all kind a cebrelity. Popcaan did love WAH GWAN chruu Worl Boss did av one liriks weh im aks, “Wa a gwaan Papcaan?” So im link Reshma an she mek a chain fi im an im Unruly Crew: TR8. Dat stan fi “Straight”. Popcaan seh, “Real thugs never figet di dump land or weh we come fram”.
An lickle before Reshma come a Caribbean Fashion Week, she mek up one special order fi Madonna fi ar “Rebel Heart” tour. Seet deh! Mi av nof rispek fi Reshma B. Shi done know bout ‘total fashion’, as mi breda, Kingsley, seh inna di ad fi CFW.
An talking bout cebrelity, all a unu weh did read mi column two week aback, “Celebrity Wedding at UWI Chapel”, an did a aks mi fi picture a Erica Reid an Nardo Currie, unu better buy Gleaner. Dem inna Flair magazine. TUN UP!
It swiit mi so til! Patwa step op ina laif an a bling pan guol chien. Di Fraide nait a Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW), mi bok op wan jornalis mi nuo lang taim. Im niem Rob Kenner an im flai iin fram New York fi CFW. Im ron Boomshots.com an im av wan TV shuo pan Yuuchuub an wan Intanet riedyo shuo. Im de aal bout.
Rob did a wier wan chien ich aan pan wan piis a plastik. Mi aks im a wa dat. Wen mi luk gud mi si se di plastik did kot out fi shuo raitn. An ges we it a se? TUN UP. Rob tel mi se a wan a im fren mek di chien an shi de pan di fashan shuo dat de nait. Im a fi reprizent.
Di dizaina niem Reshma B. Shi a myuuzik jornalis an shi kaal arself Reggae Girl About Town (RGAT). Fi ar websait a baal out. Reshma baan a London an fram shi a pikni shi a lisn rege myuuzik. An shi lov Jamieka kolcha an fi wi langgwij. Wan a di fos guol chien shi mek a REGGAE GAL.
Evri we Reshma go, piipl a aks ar bout di chien dem. So shi mek op ar main fi laanch di lain laas ier an shi kaal it Reshma B chains. Rob du wan intavyuu wid ar we kom out ina Iepril ina Vibe magazine. Ier we shi se: “I’m inspired by the street slang in my travels from London to Brooklyn to Kingston”.
Som a di Jamaican liriks pan di chien dem a DASH OUT, BRUCK OUT, SLAP WEH, BENZ PUNANY an MAAD. Som a di ada word dem a TRILL, WAVY, FADED, RATCHET, SWAG an NANG. An Reshma jos put out som nyuu chien wid suoso gyanja liif.
PATWA WID INGGLISH AKSENT
Out a di uol a di chien dem, di wan we sel aaf nof nof a WAH GWAN. Mi did ha fi tel Reshma se WAH GWAN no spel rait. Shi lef aaf wan a di A ina GWAAN. An shi shuda put wan neks A ina di migl a WAH an GWAAN. Dat naa stap di chien dem fram sel.
An wen mi tink bout it, mi si se siem wie wi fiks op Ingglish fi suut wi, a di sed siem wie Ingglish piipl a fiks op fi wi langgwij fi suut dem. Dem a chat patwa wid Ingglish aksent. So ‘wa a gwaan’ ton ina ‘wa gwan’. An wi dis a fi lou dem. Wi kyaahn chien op fi wi langgwij. It chienj op wen it go a farin. Siem laik rege myuuzik.
Reshma B du speshal chien fi aal kain a sibreliti. Popcaan did lov WAH GWAN chruu Worl Boss did av wan liriks we im aks, “Wa a gwaan Popcaan?” So im link Reshma an shi mek a chien fi im an im Unruly Crew: TR8. Dat stan fi “Straight”. Popcaan se, “Riil tugz neva figet di domp lan ar we wi kom fram”.
An likl bifuor Reshma kom a Caribbean Fashion Week, shi mek op wan speshal aada fi Madonna fi ar “Rebel Heart” tour. Siit de! Mi av nof rispek fi Reshma B. Shi don nuo bout ‘total fashion’, az mi breda, Kingsley, se ina di ad fi CFW.
An taakin bout sibreliti, aal a unu we did riid mi kalam tuu wiik abak, “Celebrity Wedding at UWI Chapel”, an did a aks mi fi pikcha a Erica Reid an Nardo Currie, unu beta bai Gleaner. Dem ina Flair magaziin. TUN UP!
I was really amused. Patwa has gone upmarket and is blinging on gold chains. The Friday night of Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW), I ran into a journalist I’ve known for quite some time. He’s Rob Kenner and he flew in from New York for CFW. He runs Boomshots.com and he has a TV show on Youtube and an Internet radio show. So he’s large.
Rob was wearing a chain with a bit of plastic attached. I asked him about it. When I looked closely, I saw letters cut out of the plastic. And guess what the word was? TUN UP. Rob told me that one of his friends had made the chain and she was on the fashion show that night. He had to represent.
The designer was Reshma B. She’s a music journalist who goes by the name Reggae Girl About Town (RGAT). Her website is hot. Reshma was born in London and she became a reggae fan quite early. She loves Jamaican culture and our language.
Everywhere Reshma went, she was asked about the chains. So she decided to launch the line last year. And she called it Reshma B chains. Rob did an interview with her that was published in April in Vibe magazine. Here’s what she said: “I’m inspired by the street slang in my travels from London to Brooklyn to Kingston”.
Some of the Jamaican expressions on the chains are DASH OUT, BRUCK OUT, SLAP WEH, BENZ PUNANY and MAAD. There’s also TRILL, WAVY, FADED, RATCHET, SWAG and NANG. And Reshma just put out some new chains with a ganja leaf desgin.
PATWA WITH AN ENGLISH ACCENT
OF all the chains, the bestseller is WAH GWAN. I had to tell Reshma that WAH GWAN wasn’t spelt correctly. An A was left out of GWAAN. And she should have put another one between WAH and GWAAN. That’s not affecting sales at all.
And when I thought about it, it struck me that just as we adapt English to suit ourselves, English people adapt our language to suit themselves in exactly the same way. They speak patwa with an English accent. So ‘wa a gwaan’ becomes ‘wa gwan’. And we just have to let it be. We can’t chain our language. It changes when it goes abroad. Just like reggae music.
Reshma B does custom chains for all sorts of celebrities. Popcaan loved WAH GWAN because Worl Boss had a song in which he asked, “Wa a gwaan Popcaan?” So he got in touch with Reshma and she made a chain for him and his Unruly Crew: TR8. That’s “Straight”. As Popcaan says, “Real thugs never figet di dump land or weh we come fram” [Real thugs never forget the dumped up land or where we come from].
And just before Reshma came to Caribbean Fashion Week, she did a special order for Madonna for her “Rebel Heart” tour. There you have it! I have a lot of respect for Reshma B. She understands ‘total fashion’, as my brother Kingsley, says in the ad for CFW.
And talking about celebrities, all of you who read my post, “Celebrity Wedding at UWI Chapel”, and were asking for pictures of Erica Reid and Nardo Currie, you must buy the Gleaner. They’re in Flair magazine. TUN UP