What is the meaning and use of “seh” in Caribbean dialects of English?

I have heard “seh” used in Jamaican English but I think it’s probably used in other parts of the Caribbean too. I know that in many cases, it is simply the equivalent of standard English “say”. However, it is also used in sentences like: “Mi know seh dem nuh like mi”, meaning “I know that … Read more

Is “bobsled” or “bobsleigh” more commonly used in Jamaican English?

"Bobsled" versus "Bobsleigh" , along with Wiktionary’s entries on bobsleigh and bobsled say that “bobsled” is more commonly used in the US and Canada, and that “bobsleigh” is more common in British English. However, neither source mentions which term is more commonly used in Jamaican English, nor does Wikipedia’s article on Jamaican English. Which term … Read more

Where does the word “spliff” come from?

Neither the OED and Etymonline has any answer to the etymology of the word. The latter does suggest it may have an origin in the Caribbean, but offers nothing better. The first citation is from 1936 only. Here are the last two citations: 1975 High Times Dec. 137/1 — Like Marley, he’s a spliff-toking Rastafarian. … Read more

Expressions that are not words, but sounds

Jamaican-style patois and derivations thereof seem to be on the rise again in British cities after a lull (I remember it being very popular in the 70s and early 80s). While on a trip to London I was struck by what native speakers of that idiom refer to as kissing teef [sic] – a sound … Read more