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Language of Barbados

Our native language is English but the Bajan dialect often seems like a language all of its own.

Our local dialect is referred to as "Bajan" just as our people are. It is a mixture of broken English with an accent inspired by various African languages brought over by the slaves.

The Bajan dialect is totally and completely limitless. Individual words usually have multiple meanings, for example, "dis" which means "this" and means to disrespect or to fail to acknowledge someone or something.

Also, one word is often made out of multiple words, for example "moboton", which, broken down, is an amalgamation of the words "mob", "of" and "ton" and means a whole lot. Bajan's seldom uses the word "very" instead, the word that "very" would be referring to, is just repeated, for example, instead of saying, "that girl is very pretty" in Bajan, one would say, "da girl pretty, pretty, pretty".

Which leads us to another point, the sound created by "th" is pronounced with a "d" sound, for example, that - dat, this - dis, the - de, and so on. Word endings are also cut short, allowing for many words to flow into one, for example, "happen" rather than "happened", "wha" rather than "what", which leads to "whahappen?" rather that "what happened?".

Barbados, like most places in the world, also has local sayings that have very specific meanings, however, they are too numerous to mention and ever changing "rules" of the dialect. One way to learn more is to read the article entitled "Ya know ya is a Bajan when..... ", the other way is to come on over, pay us a visit and try to figure it out for yourself!

For more information about the Dialect and Language of Barbadians please continue on here.

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Visitor Rating: 9.00 from 1 users
Information Assumed Accurate On: Jun 22, 2013
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Visitor Comments:

By: Sabrina
hi i am a barbadian/bajan.'soon come' means that we are coming even though we are far from coming. only bajans understands this as the sense of time eludes us. it is also a sense of frustration as the person may have asked that half hour ago and the respond was the same, it is just a way to soothe the person.
Date: Mar 8, 2014

By: cassiano genino de ima filho
In a world where English is the global and profitable language, that is, people make money by teaching, selling books, etc. So, if Barbados wants a piece of the cake. They should speak good English to take advantage of
the still growing business of the English Industry.
Date: Mar 19, 2013

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Date: Oct 11, 2011

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Date: Jul 13, 2011

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Date: Feb 7, 2011

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Date: Sep 7, 2010

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Date: Jun 29, 2010

By: Juju
Can anyone tell me what 'soon come' means in bajan/patois? I'v been told that it means never- not on your life! Is that true?
Date: Jun 8, 2010

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Date: May 30, 2009

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Date: Mar 13, 2008

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Date: Nov 28, 2007

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Date: Oct 18, 2007

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Date: Oct 17, 2007

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Date: Sep 25, 2007

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Date: Apr 14, 2007

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Date: Mar 6, 2007

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Date: Mar 1, 2007

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