Jamaican Patois

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Jamaican Patois

Jamaican Patois, otherwise known as Patwa, Afro. Jamaican, just plain Jamaican or, Creole, is a language that has been until quite recently referred to as"ungrammatical English."(Adams, 199 1, p . I 1)

Creole languages are actually not unique to Jamaica, they are found on every continent although their speakers often do not realize what they are. The rest of the terms refer strictly to Jamaican Creole. Creoles are languages that usually form as the result of some human upheaval which makes it impossible for people to use their own languages to communicate. What people often refer to as the 'bad' or 'broken-English' of Jamaica are actually local Creoles that usually come about through a situation of partial language learning (Sebba 1, 1996, p.50-1.)

The technical definition of the term Creole means-, a language which comes into being through contact between two or more languages. The most important part about this definition is that a new language comes about which was not there before, yet it has some characteristics of the original language(s) and also has some characteristics of its own. The Creole of Jamaica and the Caribbean is referred to as an 'English-lexicon' and this language came about when African slaves were forced into a situation where English, or at least a very reduced form of English, was the only common means of communication. The slave traders and owners spoke English while the slaves spoke a variety of African languages and the slaves had to assimilate by learning English which explains why much of the vocabulary is English in origin. Although there is much English vocabulary, many words were also adopted from African languages when no equivalent English word could be found such as, wo...

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