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I just paused Luke Cage season 2, at 32:33 into episode 6.

Without spoiling the content, 2 Jamaican men were talking and in response to a prompt, one of them said: "Me say war". It wasn't a response to a question or similar which would prompt a "Me say X" type of answer either, and proper English would be "I say", not "Me say".

The question I have is simple. If this wasn't a movie, would they have used a different language? I'm Norwegian and I will plead pretty ignorant about which language Jamaican people use.

By "movie language" I really mean "They picked English because most people would understand this, even though the actual people talking would probably use a completely different language that would require subtitles".

"Me say war" is pretty bad English, but yes, it would be understandable if a non-English speaker would respond to someone they only know would understand English (of the languages they would have in common), but it sort of stuck out like a sore thumb to me.

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    Jamaicans have a different patois than strict UK or US English. – Meat Trademark Jun 30 '18 at 21:58
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The official language of Jamaica is English, but it's a fairly strong local dialect that's often used, and that's what is being demonstrated in the show.

From this link:

While English is the official language of Jamaica, the large majority of the Jamaica people speak a form of English Creole, known by linguists as Jamaican Creole or Patois. Jamaican Creole can best be described as an English-lexified Creole language; a mixture of English and a variety of West African languages.

As I recall, the Jamaicans in the movie Cool Runnings spoke in a similar fashion.

As an interesting side point, when watching this show in the UK on Netflix with the subtitles switched on, what you get delivered is "normal" English as opposed to the actual dialogue being spoken - the subtitles tell you what the character would have said if they were speaking without the patois.

  • So what you're saying is that this is actually what two jamaican people would say to each other (in the context of saying something like "I say this is war")? – Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen Jun 30 '18 at 21:36
  • I believe so, yes – Dave Jun 30 '18 at 21:39
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It's "Mi say" not 'Me say' but yes, that's Jamaican patois - see How to Speak Jamaican Patois

To hear it for real, try Linton Kwesi Johnson's 'Forces of Victory' album There's a full track listing on the right of that page.
It's all spoken, he's a dub poet. [As a bonus, it's also one of the best reggae albums of all time ;)

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"Me say war" is part of the lyrics of "War", that can be easily considered as one of the greatest songs (in terms of social and consciousness poetry) of Bob Marley. I'm also watching the serie and thought that it was a reference, and wondered to myself if somebody understood it that way; when i googled it (as "Bushmaster me say war"), you guys were the only who notice something and talk about it xd. Now i've got a doubt, i think it just could be on of these two: - Nobody get it that way (i think that is a quote, obviusly based on that Patois language you were talking) - Nobody watched the serie

Haha, greetings from La Plata, Argentina

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