The Jamaican patois language has its origins highly influenced by West Africa.
Created by slaves that were brought to the island in the 1600s, the word Patois is derived from French and means “rough speech.”
Also known as Creole, the language is a mixture of broken English and other African languages with Akan being very predominant.
The huge Akan influence in the language is as a result of the sizeable number of Akan slaves that were brought to the island from West Africa to work on plantations during the Transatlantic slave trade.
According to Ruby Madden in The Historical and Culture Aspects of Jamaican Patois, slaves were “divided into groups deliberately without a common language to prevent revolt.”
As a result, “slaves began to learn pidgin in order to communicate with each other and their masters. The children grew up in this life, learned pidgin from their parents as their first language and it evolved from pidgin to creole.”
Take a look at some of the patois words that have Akan origins below:
Akan name: Ankye
Meaning: Refers to a fruit (Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish.)
Akan name: Aduro
Akan name: Afaséɛ
Meaning: Wild yam
Akan name: Afúw
Akan name: Anansi
Meaning: A Spider. It also refers to a folklore character.
Akan name: Abɔfra
Meaning: A baby or toddler
Akan name: Oburoni
Meaning: A white person
Akan name: Kasɛ́i
Akan name: Dɔkono
Meaning: Dessert cooked in banana leaves
Akan name: Kokobé
Akan name: Konkonsa
Akan name: Nana
Akan name: Mpotompoto
Akan name: Anibre
Akan name: Opete
Akan name: Akyeampong
Meaning: It is an Akan surname. It means “destined for greatness.”