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Jamaican English, which includes Jamaican Standard English, is a variety of English spoken in Jamaica. Like Canadian English
Canadian English
(also part of the broad North American English
North American English
classification), it resembles parts of both British English
British English
and American English
American English
dialects, but uniquely has many aspects of Irish intonation. Typically, it uses the same spellings as found in British English.[1] Although the distinction between the two is best described as a continuum rather than a solid line,[2] it is not to be confused with Jamaican Patois, also known as Jamaican or Jamaican Creole.

Contents

1 Sociolinguistics 2 Grammar 3 Vocabulary 4 Pronunciation 5 Language use: Jamaican Standard English versus Patois 6 See also 7 References

Sociolinguistics[edit] Jamaican Standard English is a variety of International Standard English (see English English). Since the mid-20th century, Jamaica
Jamaica
has increasingly developed stronger social and economic ties with the United States
United States
and the increasing popularity of U.S. cultural offerings, including film, music, and televised dramas and comedies, exposure to American English
American English
has been increasing steadily. Grammar[edit] Although Jamaica
Jamaica
is closer to the United States, Jamaica
Jamaica
was colonized by the British until 1962. Therefore, Jamaicans follow the British grammar, and British English
British English
is taught in school. Vocabulary[edit] Recent American influence is apparent in the lexicon (babies sleep in "cribs" and wear "diapers" or "pampers"; some people live in "apartments" or "townhouses", for example). Generally, older vocabulary tends to be British (babies wear "nappies", not "diapers"; cars have "bonnets" and "windscreens"; children study "maths", use "rubbers" to erase their mistakes and wish they were on "holiday"), while newer phenomena are typically "imported" together with their American names. The American term "trunk" is almost universally used instead of the British term "boot" on cars, while the engine covering is always referred to by the British term "bonnet" (as elsewhere throughout the English-official Caribbean). This is probably because the American term, "hood", is used in Jamaica
Jamaica
as a vulgar slang for penis (but not elsewhere in the Caribbean).[3] Jamaican Standard English uses many words also used in Jamaican Patois, such as "duppy" for "ghost"; "vendah" for "informal vendor/hawker"; and some terms for Jamaican foods, like "ackee", "callaloo", "guinep", and "bammy". Pronunciation[edit] Jamaican Standard English pronunciation, while it differs greatly from Jamaican Patois
Jamaican Patois
pronunciation, is nevertheless recognizably Caribbean. Features include the characteristic pronunciation of the diphthong in words like "cow", which is more closed and rounded than in Received Pronunciation or General American; the pronunciation of the strut vowel /ʌ/ (again, more closed than the RP or GenAm version, though not as closed as in the Creole); semi-rhoticity, i.e., the dropping of the "-r" in words like "water" (at the end of unstressed syllables) and "market" (before a consonant); but not in words like "car" or "dare" (stressed syllables at the end of the word). Merger of the diphthongs in "fair" and "fear" takes place both in Jamaican Standard English and Jamaican Patois, resulting in those two words (and many others, like "bear" and "beer") becoming homophones. (Standard English speakers typically pronounce both closer to "air", while Jamaican Patois (Creole) speakers render them as "ear"). The short "a" sound (man, hat) is very open, similar to its Irish versions.[citation needed] Language use: Jamaican Standard English versus Patois[edit] It has been claimed that Jamaican Standard English and Jamaican Patois exist together in a post-creole speech continuum. Jamaican (Creole/Patois) is used by most people for everyday, informal situations - it is the language most Jamaicans use at home and are most familiar with, as well as the language of most local popular music. Standard English, on the other hand, is the language of education, high culture, government, the media and official/formal communications. It is also the native language of a small minority of Jamaicans (typically upper-class and upper/traditional middle-class). Most Creole-dominant speakers have a fair command of English and Standard English, through schooling and exposure to official culture and mass media; their receptive skills (understanding of Standard English) are typically much better than their productive skills (their own intended Standard English statements often show signs of Jamaican Creole interference). Most writing in Jamaica
Jamaica
is done in English (including private notes and correspondence). Jamaican Patois
Jamaican Patois
has a standardized orthography,[4] and has only recently been taught in some schools. As a result, the majority of Jamaicans can read and write Standard English only, and have trouble deciphering written Patois (in which the writer tries to reflect characteristic structures and pronunciations to differing degrees, without compromising readability). Written Patois appears mostly in literature, especially in folkloristic "dialect poems"; in humoristic newspaper columns; and most recently, on internet chat sites frequented by younger Jamaicans, who seem to have a more positive attitude toward their own language use than their parents.[5] While, for the sake of simplicity, it is customary[by whom?] to describe Jamaican speech in terms of Standard English versus Jamaican Creole, a clear-cut dichotomy does not adequately describe the actual language use of most Jamaicans.[citation needed] Between the two extremes—"broad Patois" on one end of the spectrum, and "perfect" Standard English on the other—there are various in-between varieties. This situation typically results when a Creole language is in constant contact with Standardised English (superstrate or lexifier language) and is called a creole speech continuum. The least prestigious (most Creole) variety is called the basilect; Standard English (or high prestige) variety, the acrolect; and in-between versions are known as mesolects. Consider, for example, the following forms:

"im/(h)ihn de/da/a wok úoba désò" (basilect) "im workin ova deso" (low mesolect) "(H)e (h)is workin' over dere" (high mesolect) "He is working over there." (acrolect)

(As noted above, the "r" in "over" is not pronounced in any variety, but the one in "dere" or "there" is.) Jamaicans choose from the varieties available to them according to the situation. A Creole-dominant speaker will choose a higher variety for formal occasions like official business or a wedding speech, and a lower one for relating to friends; a Standard English-dominant speaker is likely to employ a lower variety when shopping at the market than at their workplace. Code-switching can also be metacommunicative (as when a Standard-dominant speaker switches to a more heavily basilect-influenced variety in an attempt at humor or to express solidarity). See also[edit]

Regional accents of English speakers Nation language

References[edit]

^ Andrea Sand (1999), Linguistic Variation in Jamaica. A Corpus-Based Study of Radio and Newspaper Usage, Tübingen: Narr,. ^ Peter L. Patrick (1999), Urban Jamaican Creole. Variation in the Mesolect. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. ^ Jamaica
Jamaica
Phrase Dictionary "Rasta/Patois Jamaica
Jamaica
Dictionary" ^ Dynamics of orthographic standardization in Jamaican Creole and Nigerian Pidgin, Dagmar Deuber and Lars Hinrichs, World Englishes 26, No. 1 (February 2007), pp. 22–47, doi:10.1111/j.1467-971X.2007.00486.x. ^ Lars Hinrichs (2006), Codeswitching on the Web: English and Jamaican Patois in E-Mail Communication. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

v t e

Dialects and accents of Modern English by continent

Europe

United Kingdom

Received Pronunciation

England

Varieties by common name

Barrovian Black Country Brummie Bristolian Cheshire Cockney

"Mockney"

Cornish Cumbrian East Anglian East Midlands Essex Estuary Geordie Kentish Lancastrian Mackem Mancunian Multicultural London Norfolk Northern Pitmatic Potteries Scouse Southern Suffolk Sussex West Country

"Mummerset"

West Midlands Yorkshire

Varieties by geographic location

East of England

Essex Norfolk Suffolk

East Midlands North

Cheshire Cumbria

Barrow

Lancashire Manchester Merseyside Northumbria

Sunderland Tyneside Pitmatic

Yorkshire

South

Kent Thames Estuary; London

Multicultural London

Sussex

West Country

Bristol Cornwall Dorset

West Midlands

Black Country Birmingham Stoke-on-Trent

Northern Ireland

Mid Ulster Ulster Scots

Scotland

Glasgow Highlands

Wales

Cardiff Gower Port Talbot

Ireland

Dublin

D4

South-West

Cork

Supraregional Ulster

Channel Islands

Alderney Guernsey Jersey

Elsewhere

Gibraltar Isle of Man Malta

North and South America

United States

Varieties by common name

African American Appalachian Boston Cajun California Chicago; Detroit; Great Lakes Chicano Mid-Atlantic

Philadelphia; South Jersey Baltimorese

General American High Tider Maine Miami Midland Midwestern New England New Mexican New York Old Southern Pacific Northwest Pennsylvania Dutch Pittsburghese Rhode Island Southern Texan Upper Midwestern Western Vermont Yat Yeshivish Yooper

Varieties by geographic location

Delaware Valley; Mid-Atlantic

Pennsylvania Dutch Philadelphia; South Jersey Baltimore

Midland Midwest

Great Lakes; Inland North Upper Midwest Upper Peninsula of Michigan

New England

Boston Maine Rhode Island Vermont

New York City; Northeastern New Jersey

New York Latino

North South

Acadiana Appalachia Chesapeake; Pamlico Miami New Orleans Texas

West

California New Mexico Pacific Northwest

Western Pennsylvania

Canada

Aboriginal Atlantic

Cape Breton Newfoundland Lunenburg

Standard

Ottawa Valley Pacific Northwest Quebec

Caribbean

Bahamas Barbados Dominican Republic Jamaica Puerto Rico Trinidad

Elsewhere

Bermuda Falkland Islands Guyana

Oceania

Australia

Aboriginal Broad; Strine General South Australian Torres Strait West Australian

Elsewhere

Fiji New Zealand Palau Solomon Islands

Other continents

Africa

Cameroon Ghana Kenya Liberia Malawi Namibia Nigeria Sierra Leone South Africa

White

Cultivated General Broad Cape Flats

Black Indian

Uganda

Asia

Bangladesh Brunei Burma or Myanmar Hong Kong India Malaysia Nepal Pakistan Philippines Singapore Sri Lanka

v t e

English-speaking world

Click on a coloured area to see an article about English in that country or region

Further links

Articles

English-speaking world History of the English language British Empire English in the Commonwealth of Nations Anglosphere

Lists

List of countries by English-speaking population List of countries where English is an official language

 

Countries and territories where English is the national language or the native language of the majority

Africa

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Americas

Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda The Bahamas Barbados Belize Bermuda British Virgin Islands Canada Cayman Islands Dominica Falkland Islands Grenada Guyana Jamaica Montserrat Saba Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sint Eustatius Sint Maarten South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Trinidad and Tobago Turks and Caicos Islands United States United States
United States
Virgin Islands

Europe

Guernsey Ireland Isle of Man Jersey United Kingdom

Oceania

Australia New Zealand Norfolk Island Pitcairn Islands

 

Countries and territories where English is an official language, but not the majority first language

Africa

Botswana Cameroon The Gambia Ghana Kenya Lesotho Liberia Malawi Mauritius Namibia Nigeria Rwanda Sierra Leone Somaliland South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

Americas

Puerto Rico

Asia

Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Hong Kong Special
Special
Administrative Region India Pakistan Philippines Singapore

Europe

Gibraltar Malta

Oceania

American Samoa Cook Islands Fiji Guam Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia Nauru Niue Northern Mariana Islands Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tokelau Tuvalu Vanuatu

Dependencies shown

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