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Encyclopedia > Jamaican Creole
Jamaican Creole
Spoken in: Jamaica
Total speakers: 4 181 171
Language family: English Creole
 Jamaican Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: none
ISO 639-3: jam

  Current distribution of Human Language Families A language family is a group of related languages said to have descended from a common proto-language. ... An English-based creole language, or English creole for short, is a creole language that was significantly influenced by the English language. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ...

Jamaican Creole, also known locally as Patois/(Patwa) or simply Jamaican, is an English/African-based language --not to be confused with Jamaican English nor with the Rastafarian use of English-- used primarily on the island of Jamaica. Jamaican is the descendant of a 17th century creolization process which, simply put, consisted of West and Central Africans acquiring and nativizing the vernacular and dialectal British Englishes (including significant exposure to Irish and Scottish varieties), with which their enslavement brought them in contact. Of course it must be understood that all languages are derived from usually more than one already existing language. For examples, Italian, Catalan, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are all derived from Latin and respective local languages. Modern day Jamaican creole is what is called a linguistic continuum in linguistics terms[1][2] -- meaning that the variety of the language closest to the lexifier language (the acrolect) cannot be distinguished systematically from intermediate varieties (collectively referred to as the mesolect) nor even from the most divergent rural varieties (collectively referred to as the basilect). Patois, although without a formal definition in linguistics, can be used to describe a language considered as nonstandard. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... World map showing location of Africa A satellite composite image of Africa Africa is the worlds second_largest continent in both area and population, after Asia. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Haile Selassie I Rasta, or the Rastafari movement, is a religion that accepts Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia, as God incarnate, whom they call Jah. ... A phase that happens to native languages in a peripheral, especially colonial society that emerge from the previous dominance of a high language imposed by the center. ...


Significant Jamaican-speaking communities exist among Jamaican expatriates in Miami, New York City, Toronto, Hartford, Washington D.C., Brazil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama (in the Caribbean coast), and London.[3] Mesolectal forms are similar to Basilectal Belizean Creole, and a mutually intelligible variety is found in San Andres Islands, Colombia, brought to the island by descendants of Jamaican maroons in the 18th century. Jamaican creole exists mostly as a spoken language. Although standard British English is used for most writing in Jamaica, Jamaican has been gaining ground as a literary language for almost a hundred years. Claude McKay published his book of Jamaican poems Songs of Jamaica in 1912. Creole and English are frequently used for stylistic contrast in new forms of internet writing.[4] This article is about the city in Florida. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... When used by itself in a sentence, the term Hartford can refer to one of several places in the United States. ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... “West Indian” redirects here. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... A mesolect is a register of spoken language whose character falls somewhere between the prestige of the acrolect and the informality of the basilect. ... In linguistics, a basilect is a dialect of speech that has diverged so far from the standard language that in essence it has become a different language. ... Belizean Kriol, Kriol, or quite simply Belizean, is one of the main branches of Central American Creole English, closely related to Miskito Coastal Creole, Colón Creole, and San Andrés and Providencia Creole. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Claude McKay. ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary are significantly different from English, despite heavy usage of English words or derivatives. It is to the point where a native speaker of a non-Caribbean English dialect can only understand a heavily accented Jamaican speaker if he/she speaks slowly and foregoes the use of the numerous idioms that are common in Jamaican. Jamaican Creole displays similarities to the pidgin and creole languages of West Africa due to their common descent from the blending of African substrate languages with European tongues. Behind the barrier of very different accents, there is actually mutual intelligibility between many of them, such as Sierra Leone's Krio and Nigerian Pidgin English, and Jamaican Creole[citation needed]. First language (native language, mother tongue) is the language a person learns first. ... An idiom is an expression (i. ... See also the Keriu language and Krio Dayak language of Indonesia. ... Nigerian Pidgin English is a version of English with Nigerian elements (words, gestures, and connotations) added in. ...


This is due to the fact that many Jamaican words have their origin in various African languages and the language syntax is mostly derived from the various African languages. Pluralisation of nouns is done by either prepending a cardinal --de five bud=the five birds-- or by appending the plural indicator, "dem" --de bud dem=the birds. Similarly, verb tense is specified using prepended tense indicators --mi swim, mi a go swim, mi beh~ swim, mi a fi swim, etc.

Contents

The pronominal system

The pronominal system of Standard English has a four-way distinction of person, singular/plural, gender and nominative/objective. Some varieties of Jamaican Creole do not have the gender or nominative/objective distinction, though most do; but usefully, it does distinguish between the second person singular and plural (you).

  • I, me = mi
  • you, you (singular) = yu
  • he, him = im or i~ (nasalized in the basilect variety)
  • she, her = shi or i~ (nasalized, with no gender distinction in the basilect variety)
  • we, us = wi
  • you, you (plural) = unu
  • they, them = dem

To form the possessive adjectives and the possessive pronouns, simply add "fi-" to the pronouns above. Note, though, that most varieties of Jamaican Creole use merely the nominative/objective pronouns in place of these possessive variants, which are used for emphasis.

  • my, mine = fi-mi
  • your, yours (thy, thine) = fi-yu
  • his, his = fi-im (pronounced as one syllable)
  • her, hers = fi-shi (also fi-'ar, and fi-im in basilect variety)
  • our, ours = fi-wi
  • your, yours = fi-unu (pronounced funu, one syllable)
  • their, theirs = fi-dem

Often, fi- is used in front of nouns, to indicate possession (replacing 's).


e.g. a fi-Anne daag dat, that is Anne's dog.


Vocabulary

Naturally, Jamaican Creole contains many words borrowed from English as well as from Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi,Trinidadian, and African languages. Examples of such words include "duppy" meaning 'ghost' from Twi adope, id; "pickney/pickiney" meaning 'child' (taken from an earlier form "piccaninny" and ultimately borrowed from Portuguese "pequeno"/Spanish "pequeño"); "obeah" (also from Twi) referring to a type of spell-casting or witchcraft native to Africa (and also used as a popular scapegoat for common woes); and even "seh" meaning 'that' (in the sense of "he told me that" = "im tel mi seh") and taken from a west African dialect. The pronoun "unu", used for "you (plural)", was taken from Igbo. Words from Hindi include "nuh", "ganja" (marijuana), and "janga" (crawdad). The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Hindi ( , Devanagari: or , IAST: , IPA: ), an Indo-European language spoken mainly in northern and central India, is the official language of the Union along with English. ... Trinidad (Spanish, Trinity) most commonly refers to the larger island of the nation Trinidad and Tobago, the subject of this article. ... Twi (pronounced chwee ) is a language spoken in Ghana by about 7 million people. ... The Ibo are a group of people living in what is now Nigeria. ...


Of course there are lots of words referring to popular produce and food items - "ackee", "callaloo", "guinep", "bammy", "roti", "dal", "kamranga". Binomial name K.D.Koenig The Ackee or Akee (Blighia sapida) is a member of the Sapindaceae (soapberry family), native to tropical West Africa in Cameroon, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote DIvoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. ... It has been suggested that Chapati be merged into this article or section. ... Masoor dal Masoor dal prepared using traditional yellow dal recipe Dal (also spelled dhal, dahl, or daal, daar) is a preparation of pulses which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split, as well as a thick, spicy stew prepared therefrom, a mainstay of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. ...


Tense and aspect marking

The tense/aspect system of Jamaican Creole is fundamentally unlike that of English. There are no morphological marked past tense forms corresponding to English -ed -t. There are 2 preverbial particles: 'en' and 'a'. These are not verbs, they are simply invariant particles which cannot stand alone like the English ‘to be’. Their functions differs also from the English

  • 'en' is called a ‘tense indicator’
  • 'a' is called the ‘aspect marker’
  • '(a)go' is used to indicate the future
  • Mi run
    • I run (habitually); I ran
  • Mi a run or Mi deh run
    • I am running
  • A run mi dida run or A run mi ben/(w)en a run
    • I was running
  • Mi did run or Mi beh~/(w)en run
    • I have run; I had run
  • Mi a go run
    • I am going to run; I will run

Use of the copula (equivalent to "to be")

  • the Jamaican Creole equative verb is also 'a'
    • e.g. Mi a di teecha (I am the teacher)
  • Jamaican Creole has a separate locative verb 'deh'
    • e.g. Wi deh a London or wi deh ina London (We are in London)
  • with true adjectives in Jamaican Creole, no copula is needed; adjectives are a special class of verbs
    • e.g. Mi tyad now (I am tired now)

Negation

  • negator ‘no’ used in present
    • Wi no deh inna London (We are not in London)
    • Mi naah (no +a) run (I’m not running)
  • 'neba’ or ‘neva’ used only in past. But are also used as they are in English, e.g. I never eat fish - mi neba niam fish.
    • Mi neba knuow dat (I didn’t know that)
    • Nobaddy neva siim (si+im) (Nobody saw him)
  • insertion of a 'y' in a word
    • Mi kya~ do dat (I can do that)
    • Mi kyaa~ do dat (I cannot do that)

Phonology

Characteristic features include the absence of /ɒ/ (as in British English "got"), which fell together with /ɑː/, as in most US Englishes. Jamaican Creole developed two palatal plosives, namely /kʲ/ and /ɡʲ/, they derive from English palatal allophones of /k/ and /ɡ/. Due to African influences, /kʲ/ and /ɡʲ/ are now phonemes in Jamaican Creole. Furthermore, Jamaican Creole has no /θ/ (as in Standard English "thing") phoneme; /θ/ fell together with /t/. Other features of many Jamaican dialects include:

  • /v/ being pronounced as /b/,
  • Word-initial /h/ being dropped (Have becomes 'ave) in many dialects, but may also be added to words beginning with vowel sounds: "eye" becomes "hi." (or pronounced yeye)
  • Intervocalic /t/ becoming /k/, little = likkle, bottle = bahkkle
  • Occasional metathesis; film = flim, crispy = cripsy, ask = aks
  • Deletion of word-initial /s/: 'pit=spit, 'pen'=spend, 'tumok/'tomok=stomach

Metathesis is a sound change that alters the order of phonemes in a word. ...

Localization

Some word usage varies in different areas of Jamaica. For example, the word "something" may be pronounced as "sint'n" or as "som'n".


Orthography

Because of its status as non-standard, there is no standard or official way of writing Jamaican Creole; (for example the word 'there' can be written 'de', 'deh' or dere'; and the word for 'three' is most commonly spelt 'tree', but it can be spelt 'tri' or 'trii' to distinguish it from the noun tree). Often, Standard English spellings are used even when words are pronounced differently. At other times though, a spelling has become widespread even though it is neither phonetic nor standard (eg. 'pickney' = 'child'; in this case the spelling 'pikni' would be more phonetic). However, due to increased use on the internet and in e-mail in recent years, a user-driven process of partial standardization has been taking place.


Examples

  • That man was swimming
    • Da man de did a swim.
  • Three men swam.
    • Tree man did a swim.
  • I do not like what you are saying about your girlfriend.
    • Mi nuh like wah yu a seh bout yu gyal.
  • I did not say anything about you.
    • Mi neva seh nuttn bout yu.
  • The children are making too much noise.
    • Di pickney, dem a mek too much nize.
  • Where are you going?
    • Weh yu a go?
  • What are you doing?
    • Weh yu a du?
  • Those boys are hungry, you should give them something to eat.
    • Dem de bwoy, dem belly a yawn, yu a fi gi dem sintin fi heat.

(Note that double negatives in Jamaican Creole are used as intensifiers)

  • Nyam- v. to eat ex: "Mi a go nyam" (I'm going to eat)
  • Pickney- n. a child or children ex: "Ey pickney, wha you name?" / "Dem pickney deh 'aad-ears" (Hey, child, what is your name?/ Those children are disobedient--literally are 'hard of ears,' an idiomatic expression meaning that they do not do what they are told)
  • Seh- that (as in: "'im tell mi seh you a im/har boops" (He told me that you're her sugar-daddy)

See also

Antiguan Creole is a linguistic variety spoken in Antigua and Barbuda. ... A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable language that originated from a non-trivial combination of two or more languages, typically with many features that are not inherited from any parent. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Belizean Kriol, Kriol, or quite simply Belizean, is one of the main branches of Central American Creole English, closely related to Miskito Coastal Creole, Colón Creole, and San Andrés and Providencia Creole. ... See also the Keriu language and Krio Dayak language of Indonesia. ... Bajan or as called by the industrialised world Barbadian Creole is an English-based creole language spoken by persons on the West Indian island of Barbados. ... Guyanese Creole (Creolese by its speakers; also called Guyanese Creole English) is a creole language spoken by several hundreds of thousands of persons in Guyana. ... Saint Kitts Creole is a linguistic variety spoken in Saint Kitts and Nevis. ... Virgin Islands Creole is an English-based creole dialect spoken in the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. ... Bahamians speak an English creole or a dialect of English, known in the Bahamas as Bahamian Dialect. ... Nigerian Pidgin English is a version of English with Nigerian elements (words, gestures, and connotations) added in. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

References

  1. ^ John R. Rickford (1987), Dimensions of a Creole Continuum: History, Texts, Linguistic Analysis of Guyanese. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.
  2. ^ Peter L. Patrick (1999), Urban Jamaican Creole: Variation in the Mesolect. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
  3. ^ Mark Sebba (1993), London Jamaican, London: Longman.
  4. ^ Lars Hinrichs (2006), Codeswitching on the Web: English and Jamaican Creole in E-Mail Communication. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

External links

Wikibooks
Wikibooks has more on the topic of
Jamaican Creole

  Results from FactBites:
 
CREOLE IN BRITAIN (2669 words)
Speakers of individual creole languages have a right to use the individual name of their language (for example, "Patois" or "Patwa" is the popular name for what linguists would call Jamaican Creole).
The English-lexicon Creoles, by which I mean those Creoles which are sometimes considered to be dialects of English, have a special problem, because of the overwhelming power of English as a national and international language.
Even where Creole is recognised as having a role to play in national life, as it was for a short time in Grenada, the effect of this is often to leave Creole where it always was - playing second fiddle in education and politics to Standard English.
Jamaican Creole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1307 words)
Jamaican Creole, also known to foreigners as Patois/(Patwa) or simply Jamaican, is an English/African-based language --not to be confused with Jamaican English nor with the Rastafarian use of English-- used primarily on the island of Jamaica.
Jamaican is the descendant of a 17th century creolization process which, simply put, consisted of West and Central Africans acquiring and nativizing the vernacular and dialectal British Englishes (including significant exposure to Irish and Scottish varieties), with which their enslavement brought them in contact.
Mesolectal forms are similar to Basilectal Belizean Creole, and a mutually intelligible variety is found in San Andres Islands, Colombia, brought to the island by descendants of Jamaican maroons in the 18th century.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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