The speech event depicts two Caribbean natives Oliver Samuels and Marvin ‘Trini’ Ishmaels as two tourists who have just arrived at their destination in Canada. Oliver Samuels is a Jamaican native while Marvin ‘Trini’ Ishmaels is a native of Trinidad. Both characters are at the moment placing telephone calls to various places in hopes of finding a room for rent. The speech event is used to demonstrate the language varieties of the interlocutors. It also depicts how an individual’s identity can be determined and defined by the way they speak. There are two language domains used in the speech event; the country of Toronto where the event takes place and the telephone booth the exact location of the speech event. Oliver speaks a Jamaican dialect called a Patwa (English-lexicon Creole) while Trini converses using the Trinidadian language which is also an English-lexicon Creole. In relation to the language variety used by the unheard interlocutors, it can be assumed that they speak Canadian, a variety of the Standard English as both Oliver and the Trini attempt to speak “proper” when conversing with them. Although Caribbean islands are in close proximity with each other and share similar experiences and histories (as a result of colonialism) they are also different. It is because of the historical events that occurred in these islands during colonialism that defines each territory and makes it differ. One such difference is illustrated in the language varieties of the islands. Roberts contends, Jamaican speech has a number of peculiarities, some pervasive and strong, others not. The strong and pervasive ones are in pronunciation. The omission and addition of [h] at the beginning of a word or syllable have occurred in the history of many languages.
In the speech event we can hear this peculiarity illustrated as Oliver speaks. He removes the h from the beginning of words that begins with it and places it at the beginning of words that do not. For example when he is conversing with Trini about having pride and therefore he cannot just go and barge in on people he states, “Mi [h]ave me pride ou kno’. And again when he converses with unheard interlocutor two; he says, “Lady, di [h]ouse empty mam?” This peculiarity of placing the h at the beginning of words that do not have it is evident when he commands Trini to, “Talk wit likkle class, like ou [h]intelligent”. Another peculiarity of Jamaican speech that is demonstrated in the speech event comes out when Oliver says, “Talk wit likkle class….”. He removes the two t’s following the I only to replace them with two k’s. Peter Roberts notes, “The consonants [t] and [d] preceding [I] change to [k] and [g] respectively. Roberts also contends, “In the area of morphology the outstanding feature of Jamaican non-standard speech is the use of (h)im in the subject position, in contrast to (h)e used in the other territories”. This morphological feature is illustrated in the speech event when Oliver says, “Suppose [h]im did [h]ave you to endure like ah me”. Another aspect of the difference in the language variety of Jamaicans comes out in sentence structure. Oliver says, “Mek ah tell ou something”. The word ‘mek’ should be ‘let’. So the sentence should read if it is to be grammatically correct, ‘Let me tell you something’. However, as a unique feature of Jamaican dialect they substitute m\’mek’ for ‘let’. Robert states, “In the area of syntax the outstanding features are in the use of some prepositions/adverbs and in the function and meaning of mek (< make) in some contexts……….The word mek is used in non-standard Jamaican speech where standard English has let…”. On the other hand while Jamaican dialect has features that are unique to it so does the language variety in Trinidad. Roberts contends, “Trinidadians also use a specific associative plural with the words man and boy(s)….”. This is evidentiary in the speech event as Trini adds the word ‘man’ at the end of...
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