Analysing Jamaican Creole Through English Language Essay

Creoles can be by and large defined as truly assorted linguistic communications, which emerged from the intermixing together of two or more different linguistic communications and became the female parent lingua of a new coevals of talkers, geting “ the full scope of communicative maps that a native linguistic communication demands ” ( Svartvik 2006: p.183 ) . Most Creoles developed as a consequence of colonialism and lived side by side with the dominant linguistic communication. As a effect, these contact assortments were reduced to take down maps and seen as “ aberrant ” or “ broken ” signifiers of the linguistic communication from which they derived. Nevertheless, since postcolonial times, there has been a displacement towards the acknowledgment and credence of national linguistic communications and individualities, which has given rise to a new position and chances for those stigmatised assortments ( Schneider 2007 ) . Jamaican Creole, by and large known as “ Patwa ” , can be considered as a good illustration of English-based Creole which has begun to get the better of stigma around its usage and be recognised as a to the full developed linguistic communication, every bit good as a symbol of Jamaican individuality ( Schneider 2010: p.102 ) .

Jamaican Creole has its beginnings in the late seventeenth century, when British colonised the district ( 1655 ) and imported slaves from West Africa to work in the plantations. Those Africans shortly started to outnumber white population and became the lingual theoretical accounts of the new slaves, lending with this to distribute the Creole ( Schneider 2007 ) . During the decennaries of colonialism, JamaicaA?s linguistic communication and civilization were dominated by the British norms. In this sense, Standard English was considered as the “ highest ” assortment, acquired through formal instruction and used in public and formal context ( Devonish and Harry 2008: p. 256 ) ; for its portion, Jamaican Creole was stigmatised as a “ bastardised deformation of English, to be avoided at all costs in public discourse ” ( Schneider 2010: p.102 ) . After independency in 1962, a sense of patriotism emerged and led to new attitudes towards JamaicaA?s national civilization and linguistic communication. However, this manner for credence was non easy and Jamaicans had to contend against biass and an exonormative orientation which favoured the Standard assortment without taking into history worlds of linguistic communication usage and the JamaicansA? individuality ( Schneider 2007: p.234 ) . The figure of Louise Bennett may be used to stand for the spirit of this period and can assist us to understand the current lingual state of affairs in Jamaica. Therefore, taking one of the BennettA?s most celebrated verse forms “ Back to Africa ” ( 1966 ) , we are traveling to analyze the characteristics of Jamaican Creole, every bit good as the ground that led the poet to utilize this assortment and the thoughts she wanted to convey.

The poem trades with a miss, called “ Miss Mattie ” , who wants to travel back to Africa because she thinks that her fatherland is at that place. The poetic voice develops a group of statements to seek to carry the miss non to emigrate to that continent and, at the same clip, offers the reader a good description of JamaicaA?s kernel.

First, Bennett presents JamaicaA?s population as a combination of different civilizations: ( aˆ¦ ) you great great great/ Granma was African/ But Mattie, doan you great great great/ Granpa was Englishman? ( aˆ¦ ) / You whole coevals ( aˆ¦ ) / oonoo all is Jamaican! Harmonizing to Holm ( 2000: p.93 ) : “ Cultural beginning of the population in the 1960 nose count was 76 % African, 15 % Afro-European, 3.5 % East Indian, 1 % European, 1 % Chinese and 3 % other ” . Nowadays, it is estimated that “ over 90 % of JamaicaA?s population are of African beginning ” ( Schneider 2008: p.610 ) . Second, the poet alludes to JamaicansA? facial characteristics and coloring material, which reflect their African heritage and separate them from English people: Ohio, you view the countenance/ and between you an de Africans/is great resemblance! . Therefore, Bennett introduces in this verse form the specifying features of the Jamaican population: their cultural thaw pot and their strong African roots.

Finally, the poetic voice claims that the miss does non necessitate to look for her fatherland because Jamaica is already her place: you dah travel fe seek you homelan/ for a right deh so you deh! . In this sense, the poet considers that the existent fatherland is the topographic point where 1 is born, instead than the state of hereditary beginnings. In the same vena, Bennett besides seems to promote Jamaicans to accept their African heritage and do the island their ain place, as it is the lone manner to accomplish self-identification: make Surely a whe you come from so you got/ somewhe iron come back to!

Sing the linguistic communication, the verse form is wholly written in basilectal Creole. Jamaican Creole has West African linguistic communications as its substrate ( Startvik 2006: p. 183 ) ; which means that linguistic communications from Akan, Kwa and Buntu households are likely to hold influenced portion of Jamaican basic grammar and pronunciation ( Patrick 2008: p.610 ) . In this sense, as it can be seen in the verse form, Jamaican Creole portions several features with the remainder of Atlantic Creoles and differs in some facets from the English grammar.

First, in Jamaican Creole, tense and facet are non marked by inflectional morphology, but by context. Therefore, neither the 3rd individual remarkable -s nor the past signifier of the verb semen were found in the verse form: Ef the whole worl start [ `startsA? ] fe travel back/ whe dem great granpa come [ `cameA? ] from! . In the same vena, progressive facet is merely signalled by pre-verbal dash ( you no cognize wha you dah seh? ) and the basal signifier of the verb is used to show participle map in do/Sure a whe you come [ `have comeA? ] from ( aˆ¦ ) ; nevertheless, non-concord was appears in the verse form to show the past signifier of the verb to be: ( aˆ¦ ) you great great great/ Granma was Africa.

Second, subsidiary verbs were non found in interrogative or negative sentences. Negation is marked by agencies of the preverbal negator no, both in negative indicative moods sentences and in imperative 1s. The usage of no is a “ clearly Creole ” characteristic ( Scheneider 2010: p.106 ) , which is besides really common in other linguistic communications, such as Spanish, and can be seen in the early phases of the grammar of 2nd linguistic communication scholars, every bit good as in child linguistic communication acquisition. Other negative constructions are the usage of doan in negative tickets ( But Mattie, doan you great great great/ Granpa was Englisman? ) and the presence of dual negations ( But no Tell cipher say ) ; which is a characteristic that appears non merely in other Creoles, but besides in other non-standard English assortments ( Schneider 2010: p.106 ) .

Sing pronouns, foremost and 2nd personal signifiers were found: Maine, you, oonoo ( `unuA? ) and besides interrogative pronouns ; such as weh/whe ( `whereA? ) , every bit good as the genitive signifier who-fa ( `whoseA? ) . Furthermore, as Patrick ( 2008: p.633 ) claims, au naturel personal pronouns sometimes fulfil genitive maps ; in this sense, “ you ” can mention to the personal pronoun you or to the genitive you: Ef a difficult clip you dah run from/Tek you ( `yourA? ) opportunity! . In the same mode, a individual preposition can besides cover a scope of maps ( Schneider 2010: p.106 ) : Mus go back a ( `toA? ) Englan, de balance a ( `ofA? ) you household. The usage of a individual signifier playing several functions is a characteristic that all the lingual systems possess as a consequence of using one of the most cardinal rules of the linguistic communication: economic system.

Another characteristic of Jamaican Creole is the deficiency of grammatical postfixs ( Schneider 2010: p.106 ) . In this sense, genitive -s is avoided and, as Patrick ( 2008: p.633 ) says, ownership can be expressed by apposition ( possessor+ possessed ) , as in great granmader fader, or by the usage of the preposition a ( `ofA? ) , as in de balance a you household. In the same vena, plural of nouns are by and large non marked or they are expressed by agencies of the morpheme dem, although it was non found in this verse form ; instead, Louise Bennett alternates zero-marking of plural ( American ) , really common in basilectal address, with the plural allomorph -s ( Africans ) , which is closed to mesolectal and acrolectal signifiers. Finally, it is necessary to indicate out the usage of inactive significances in active signifier ( as in oonoo all barn dung a Bun Grung ) , every bit good as the usage of iron ( `toA? ) as the infinitive marker and the presence of “ state and seh as the complementizer ( correspoding to that ) to present a finit object clause after verbs of thought or speaking ” ( Schneider 2010: p. 106 ) : Maine know say dat [ `I know thatA? ] ( aˆ¦ )

Apart from the grammar, the mode in which some words were written contributes to reflect locally pronunciation characteristics. In this sense, it was found that the diphthong /ei/ , as in `takeA? , is monophthongized, giving rise to the signifier tek. In the same mode, fricatives [ I? ] , [ A° ] and [ E’ ] A do non be in Jamaican Creole ( Devonish and Harry 2008: p. 285 ) ; hence, they are substituted by Michigans ( Schneider 2010: p.105 ) , as in the instance of digital audiotape ( `thatA? ) , fader/mader ( `fatherA?/`motherA? ) or den ( `thenA? ) . Finally, as in other assortments, word-final or syllable-final consonant bunchs are normally omitted ( Schneider 2010: p.105 ) ; this can be seen in words as granpa/granma ( `grandpaA?/ `grandmaA? ) , an ( `andA? ) , mus ( `mustA? ) or homelan ( `homelandA? ) .

Writing her verse forms in Jamaican Creole and speaking about a national individuality, Louise Bennett shows her committedness to a linguistic communication and a civilization that have been undervalue and marginalised throughout clip. In this sense, she demonstrates that Jamaican Creole is neither a broken or deficient assortment, but, as it was analysed, one “ to the full developed linguistic communication with its ain grammar and vocabulary ( Svartvik 2006: p. 176 ) and ; accordingly, every bit able as the Standard English to show the whole scope of human experiences, ideas and emotions.

Figures as Louise Bennett contributed to instil pride in JamaicanA?s national linguistic communication and civilization ; that is why, nowadays the lingual state of affairs in this state is wholly different from past decennaries. Although, Standard English is expected to be the assortment used in official contexts and by educated talkers ( Schneider 2007 ) , most Jamaicans speak a sort of mesolect, a assortment which is “ halfway on the continuum between Creole and the standard linguistic communication ” ( Svartvik 2006: p.181 ) and they moved towards acrolectal or basilectal signifiers depending on several factors, such as the formality of the context or the societal relationship between the middlemans ( Schneider 2007 ) . This deficiency of correspondence between outlooks and world has led to more tolerant attitudes which have result in new instruction policies, more presence of Creole in political and literary contexts, every bit good as in the media. Furthermore, efforts to codify the assortment with the amplification of grammars ( Cassidy ) and lexicons ( Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage ) reflect the attempts to do Jamaican Creole an official linguistic communication ( Schneider 2007 ) . However, 50 old ages after the political independency, some biass and arguments about the usage of Creole still remain and it is merely in the power of Jamaicans to do Creole a stronger linguistic communication and a symbol of their individuality.

Modal verbs, such as Mus ( `mustA? ) , and the infinite marker iron ( `toA? ) were besides found in the verse form, both carry throughing the same map as in Standard English.

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