In the Caribbean and specifically in Jamaica, the most accepted language for communication is that language left to us by our European colonisers. The pidgin that developed from the contact of the African slaves and European masters later developed into their own individual languages (or Creoles). They (the elite in society) shun these languages as inappropriate or inadequate for public and sometimes even private use. This notion is widely accepted by even those who can speak nothing else but the Creole. It has fed belief that the use of the Creole, in Jamaica’s case “patois”, makes one inferior to the users of Jamaican Standard English.
This research serves to educate the minds of these “elite” and those not so fortunate but have adapted that way of thinking. It also serves to inform them of the reasons not to doubt the equality of the Creole to the official language, to remove the thought of the Creole being inferior or bad language, and to invoke a sense of pride in one’s “nation language”( term used by the Barbadian poet Braithwaite).
➢ Do young people consider patois as bad language?
➢ Do people view Jamaican Creole as Jamaican Standard English’s equal?
➢ Has the language prejudice-taught to us by our European colonisers- been passed on to this present generation and by what degree?
➢ Can prejudice be prevented from being perpetuated for coming years?
➢ Indispensible- Absolutely necessary; vitally necessary
➢ Mother tongue- One's native language; the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next
➢ Culture- All the knowledge and values shared by a society
➢ Creole- A mother tongue that originates from contact between two languages
➢ Prejudice- A partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation
➢ Dialect- The usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people
Creole according to the Dictionary.com is a pidgin that has become the native language of a speech community. . Language is the spoken or written form or way of communicating in a society. “The mother tongue is indispensable in all forms of progress of a community: psychological and intellectual balance of its members. If we continue to force the child, Martiniquais, to subject to a lifestyle in French at school and a Creole one at home, we will reinforce the process of collective irresponsibility plaguing the Martinique community ... a people who is reduced to practice its language only at home is condemned to face the death of its culture, of which this will only be the mirror reflection of an otherwise real agony.” Edouard Glissant, writing about Creole in Martinique. We can embrace this statement made by Edouard Glissant in the wider Caribbean and even more distinctly Jamaica. “Many sociologists argue, in fact, that without language, there can be no culture at all.” according to Lisa J. Mcintyre in her book, The Practical Skeptic Core Concepts in Sociology, third edition. This definitely backs Edouard Glissant’s statement “condemned to face the death of its culture’. Often times, our own dialect is pushed to the back burner and scoffed at. This may not seem like a big issue but it helps to destroy our culture.
“We keep knowledge from the majority of people by denying them knowledge in the language they use. There is something very wrong in saying to a human being, 'Let me cut off your legs, and I will give you artificial ones, which will be perfect.' I'm saying let us walk on our own two feet...” says, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer who initiated literature in his native Gikuyu tongue. Language is about identity, according to Linton Kwesi Johnson in Jamaica Gleaner, 2006/10/15.He says, “For me, one of the defining characteristics of poetry is...
Bibliography: Lisa J. McIntyre. (2006). The Practical Skeptic Core Concepts in Sociology (Third edition). McGraw-Hill. Phillip A. Butcher.
Cassidy, F. G., 1971a. Jamaica Talk. Three Hundred Years of the English Language in Jamaica.
Cayol, D., 2008. Patois or Jamaican Creole? Report in The Jamaica Gleaner, June 29, 2008.
JLU, 2005. The Language Attitude Survey of Jamaica. Data Analysis. Jamaican Language Unit,
Department of Language, Linguistics & Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities & Education,
Angus Stevenson. (2002). The Little Oxford English Dictionary (eight edition). United States. Oxford University Press Inc., New York
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Hubert Devonish. (2002). Language rights, justice and the constitution. Jamaica Gleaner, 2002/01/27
Geof Brown. (2008). Patois as language or broken English. Jamaica Observer, 2008/7/04
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