At Yo Mon, we like to have fun, so occasionally we’ll sprinkle our speech with a few Jamaican favorites, like mon, come yah, or we simply change the to da. It’s possible we’ve put a little Bob Marley on the iPod, grabbed a pair of shades and pretended we had dreads, but there’s no photographic evidence of that. Why do we like to do these things? Because they’re fun! Because when we think of Jamaica, we picture white sand and blue water and we feel a bit more peaceful. We feel chill. We feel level, mon. So, in the spirit of fun and chill and level, we give you a Jamaican primer—Jamaican Speak 101.
Come yah: We sprinkle this one into conversations like rainbow jimmies! It’s so easy! Come yah, mon! Quite simply, it means come here, but feel free to spice it up a little.
Level: We mentioned this before because we love it. It means calm down. So, the next time your friend is freaking out over an upcoming exam, their cell phone bill, a boy or your child is throwing their Cheerios in a fit of rage, just look at them, pretend your feet are in the sand and say, “Level, mon.”
Wanga-gut: A personal favorite but a little harder to work into conversation than “level”. Wanga-gut is a hungry belly. Try this: “Mon, my wanga-gut is aching for Da Dark Chocolate at Yo Mon.”
Lilly bit: Means a little bit or tiny, as in, “Hey mon, you’ve got a lilly bit of Tropical Sorbet on your nose.”
Laba-laba: Laba-laba means to chat, gab or gossip. We saw a lot of this recently when Ryan Beatty came to visit us—“Da girls all laba-laba while they waited for Ryan Beatty.”
Kiss me neck: This is a common expression of surprise, and you have to admit—it’s a fun one. Try this one on for size: “Kiss me neck! Yo Mon has Shamrock Birthday Cake AND Cookies and Cream this week! Score!”
Fenky-fenky: This word is much like it sounds—finicky. We give this word to all the parents out there with picky eaters: “My son is so fenky-fenky! He won’t eat anything but pizza and Yo Mon frozen yogurt!”
Nice up: Nice up means to get the party started. At Yo Mon we like to think we nice it up everyday.
Rest, mon: This one’s not too hard to figure out, is it? Rest, mon means relax, calm down! Maybe we should carve this above the doors at Yo Mon because that’s just what we hope you can do with us.
Screechie: Screechie means to sneak by, as, “Dat bwoy schreechie past his mama for da rainbow sprinkles.”
Skin Your Teeth: There is a lot of teeth skinning going on at Yo Mon! Skin your teeth means to smile.:) Fill da cup, feed da soul, skin your teeth!
Dogheart: A dogheart is someone who is especially cold and cruel, for example: “Dat dogheart only filled my cup halfway!”
Darkers: Darkers are sunglasses, and we see these a lot at Yo Mon, as well. “Even wit dos darkers, I know she’s been here twice today.”
Cork up: We like Yo Mon to be corked up every day (filled up, jam-packed, crowded). The more the merrier, mon!
These are just a few of our favorite Jamaican words and phrases. We hope you’ll give a few a try today. Come into Yo Mon and toss a few around with us! Think we’ve missed some important ones? Post them on our Facebook or Twitter pages! In the meantime, inna di morrows, mon!