Songs of Silence

Topics: Jamaica, Dialect, Jamaican Patois Pages: 3 (1036 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Jamaica Language is a reflection of the diversity of the people of Jamaica. The wonderful blend of various races and cultures has affected the languages spoken in Jamaica. The immigrants from outside Jamaica have brought with them their language as well and languages like Spanish, Irish, and Scottish. The other two significant languages of Jamaica are Taino and Arawak, specific to particular regions. Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois (Patwa or Patwah) and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-lexified creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora. It is not to be confused with Jamaican English nor with the Rastafarian use of English. The language developed in the 17th century, when slaves from West and Central Africa were exposed to, learned and nativized the vernacular and dialectal forms of English spoken by their masters: British English, Scots and Hiberno-English. Jamaican Patois features a creole continuum 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). The Creole language was developed as a mean of communication among the slaves because they wanted to communicate with each other in a language that was unfamiliar to their masters so they invented patois which is a mixture of English and their language. The slaves were from different countries and regions of the world so were the masters. With all the different tongues combination came the complicated but interesting language Creole. Jamaicans themselves usually refer to their dialect as patois, a French term without a precise linguistic definition.

The most unique of the languages of Jamaica is a dialect formed by the amalgamation of words from many languages with English. It is known as...
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