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Patois. Chantal Dufreny Jessica Turral . Also Known As. Patwa Afro. Jamaican Jamaican Creole. “ungrammatical English” ?. Creole. Creoles are languages that form as a result of some human upheaval which makes it impossible for people to use their own languages to communicate

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Chantal Dufreny

Jessica Turral

also known as
Also Known As
  • Patwa
  • Afro. Jamaican
  • Jamaican Creole

“ungrammatical English” ?

  • Creoles are languages that form as a result of some human upheaval which makes it impossible for people to use their own languages to communicate
  • Arise due to the interaction between a native language and a forced language
  • Result: a new language comes about that has some characteristics of the original languages and also has some characteristics of its own
recall the anglo saxon invasion
Recall: the Anglo-Saxon invasion
  • Upheaval  Changes language
  • Began in 449
  • Ruled from 5th Century until the Norman Conquest in 1066
  • Old English comes about
  • Anglo-Saxon language and culture viewed as more sophisticated
  • Celtic influences practically eradicated
  • Indigenous people called the Arawaks were residing in Jamaica
  • The Arawaks were a peaceful group of people who migrated from Venezuela at 2 separate points in history (650 & 900AD)
  • Columbus “discovered” Jamaica in 1494
  • Influx of Spanish-Europeans in 1510 into what is present-day Spanishtown
slavery in jamaica
Slavery in Jamaica
  • 1655 Jamaica is captured by the British who turned to large-scale importation of Africans to be used on sugar plantations (until emancipation in 1838)
  • African slaves forced into a situation where English was the only common means of communication
  • Slavetraders and owners spoke English
  • Slaves spoke a variety of African languages
  • Slaves had to assimilate by learning English
  • More than 90% of the 2.5 million people in Jamaica are descendants of slaves brought from western Africa by the British
origin of patois
Origin of Patois
  • A lot of the words in Patois are of English origin
  • Some words also adopted from African languages especially when no equivalent English word could be found
  • (often for words that refer to people, plants, animals, activities, and religious words)
  • Note: the name Jamaica is derived from the Arawak word Xaymaca meaning “Island of springs”
  • No other known traces of the Arawak exist today
jamaican english rastafarian english
Jamaican English &Rastafarian English
  • There are two other languages often confused with Jamaican Creole
  • Jamaican English is a regional dialect of English
  • Rastafarian English is tied heavily to the religion.
eastern western jamaican creole
Eastern & Western Jamaican Creole
  • There are two types of Jamaican Creole: Eastern and Western
  • Phonologically different
  • One difference: Eastern dialect treats /h/ as a phonetic
  • Western (Like English): treats /h/ as phonemic
  • Phoneme: The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, as the m of mat and the b of bat in English
status of h
Status of /h/
  • Western Jamaican Creole: h is phonemic meaning that the h sound change produces a separate word with a change in meaning
  • /hiit/=hit and /iit/=eat
  • /han/= hand and /an/
  • Ham and am
  • Eastern Jamaican Creole: h is phonetic
  • There are no sound differences between the words with h and those that are h-less but the words have different meanings
  • For example: pen and pin
  • /iit/=hit and /iit/=eat
differences between english and jamaican creole
Differences Between English and Jamaican Creole
  • Jamaican Creole is missing Dental Fricativesθ, ð
  • English ð (voiced dental fricative), e.g. in function words
    • they, the, those, them, father
  • Jamaican Creole:
    • dey, de, dose, dem, fadda
  • English θ (voiceless dental fricative)
    • threes, with
  • Jamaican Creole:
    • tri, wid
  • Also missing ʒ (voiced alveolar fricative)
  • Unable to pronounce the “er” sound in “pressure”
    • Becomes “preh-shah”
back harmony
Back Harmony
  • In English there are no restrictions on back harmony
  • In Jamaican Creole, high vowels have to agree on backness.
  • The high vowels are /i/ and /u/
  • The combinations /iu/, /ui/ are impossible
  • But /ii/ or /uu/ are possible
  • As in “biini” (tiny) and “ziin” (okay)
Backness matching doesn’t matter with /a/
  • a can be paired like /ai/, /ia/, /au/, or /ua/
  • “baik” (bike), “buat” (boat), “taun” (town)
  • In English we do not have this restriction, meaning that there is not need to match on backness
  • Ex) intuition (the /ui/ is ok
peripheral vowel harmony
Peripheral Vowel Harmony
  • Sequences of mid vowels can not follow each other within one symbol
  • /e/, /o/
  • However, peripheral (not mid) vowels may occur in sequences (/i/, /u/, /a/)
  • As in “buat” (boat), “biak” (bake)
  • /tri man did a suim/
  • /dem a fait fi wi/
  • /im kiann biit mi/
  • /buai/
  • Dah language weh yuh proud a,
  • Weh yuh honour an respec-
  • Po Mas Charlie, yuh no know se
  • Dat it spring from dialec
the continuum
The Continuum
  • The debate surrounding the use of Patois as opposed to Standard English dates back to the times of slavery
  • During slavery, Standard English was presented as a superior language
  • The indigenous language was denigrated to inferior status
  • Many people in Jamaica are somewhere along the continuum between speaking British Standard English and the local Patois, so there is a great deal of linguistic flexibility
  • The middle and upper class Jamaicans often use Patois in social settings but not in the workplace
  • Negative impact of dialect: Illiteracy?
  • Many believe that the high rate of illiteracy in Jamaica is due to the presence of the two languages
  • Children are taught to read and write in Standard English
  • Yet they speak Patois
  • There are those who strongly support the formalization of its use in Jamaican society while there are those who strongly opposite it
effect of jamaican patois on education
Effect of Jamaican Patois on Education
  • Jamaican students who grew up in a Patois-speaking household sometimes report that they felt their success on the verbal section of the SAT was hindered
  • Different vocabulary – many of the words you are expected to know for the SAT are never used in your house
presence of patois outside of jamaica
Presence of Patois outside of Jamaica
  • Not only through the spread of reggae music which is highly popular around the world
  • There are also large communities of people from Jamaica living in other countries
  • Many go to England (which is to be expected since they were under British rule for many years)
  • In the years following WWII the US and the UK were in need of reconstruction and expansion of their economies.
  • Following 1944 there was tremendous migration of Jamaican immigrants (esp in London and NY)
patois in the us
Patois in the US
  • New York has the largest population of Jamaican immigrants (439,400)
  • One of the largest communities of Jamaican-Americans in NY is in Queens where there is a population of 93,153
  • Those who are born in the US but born of Jamaican heritage usually don’t acquire the ability to master Patois
  • Patois is lost in first generation Americans because it is not taught, or even allowed, in American schools.
  • Jamaican Creole
    • Otelemate G. Harry
    • Department of Language, Linguistics & Philosophy
    • University of the West Indies, Mona Campus
    • Journal of the IPA (2006) 36/1