What is Bajan?

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What is Bajan?
Bajan is a shortened term for “Barbadian”, referring to the people of Barbados, its culture, food, language, and many other things relating to this country. Barbados is a small island country in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean and has a land area of only about 431 square kilometers.

Barbados may be a small country, but Bajans or Barbadians are known to have a moderately high standard of living. In the past, Bajans relied on the cultivation of sugarcane to boost their economy, but in recent decades the country has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism industries. Today, all Bajans are proud guests of a steady influx of tourists from other countries with world-class facilities.

But aside from referring to the people of Barbados, Bajan is also the term used in describing their English-based Creole type of language. Bajan language is a mixture of African terms and English phrases to form a uniquely Barbadian style of language. The Bajan type of Creole language is said to be distinct from the other Creole languages spoken by neighboring countries in the Caribbean region. Bajan in Barbados is based in English while those of the neighboring countries like Jamaica, are either Irish or Scottish-based. The African influence on Bajan language is attributed to the West African slaves who settled in the country who were forced to speak English by their captors. This resulted to the mixture of English phrases with African words and idioms which has now become the Bajan language.

English is still the main language spoken by Bajans in school, in government offices, in TV programs, and in other daily activities. In most formal occasions and activities, most Barbadians use English for communication. English is also considered a native language among all Barbadians or Bajans. Bajan language or the English Creole type of language is somewhat restricted to informal settings like in family and friendly gatherings and events.

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