Jamaican Patois and the Power of Language in Reggae Music Essay

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Jamaican Patois and the Power of Language in Reggae Music Introduction Creole languages are found all over the world on every continent. When two or more languages come into contact to form a new language a Creole language is born. Some type of human "upheaval" that forces people to find a way to communicate, without using their own languages, stimulates the creation of a Creole language. In the case of Creole languages in the Caribbean, the "upheaval" is the past history of slavery. Most Creole languages are based on one language. In Jamaica the African slaves were thrown into a situation where the only common means of communication was English, or at least broken English, therefor Jamaican Creole has a majority of its roots in…show more content…
Language in Jamaica today reflects the history of the country’s interaction with a variety of cultures and languages from many ethnic, linguistic, and social backgrounds. Aside from the Arawaks, the original inhabitants of Jamaica, all people were exiles or children of exiles. Over 90% of the 2.5 million people living in Jamaica today are descendants of slaves brought from western Africa by the British. The local Jamaican language is a reflection of a history of contact with a variety of speakers, but the official language remains to be Standard English (Pryce, 1997). The most influential speakers were immigrants from Africa and Europe. Kwa, Manding, and Kru are amongst the variety of prominent African languages apparent in Jamaican history. Early Modern English was brought to the Caribbean by sailors, soldiers, indentured servants, convicts, and settlers (lower-class whites) in the form of regional and non-standard dialects. For the most part Early Modern English was highly conservative (Lalla and D’Costa, 1989). Today in Jamaica, Jamaican patois falls at one extreme of the linguistic spectrum while Standard English lies at the other end of the spectrum. The majority of the population falls in between the two (Adams, 1991). At one end there is the educated model

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