Jamaican Patois

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Jamaican Patois

Postby księżycowy » 2011-07-18, 13:31

Anyone want to get Rastafarian?
Couldn't resist opening up this thread after seeing on for Sranan.

Some links:
http://jamaican-patois.com/ [Apparently a free language guide, don't know if it's any good yet.]
http://www.jamaicans.com/speakja/ [quite a few audio/visual file
http://www.jumieka.com/pachiz.html [a good place for basic grammar and vocab.]

The only real textbook I could find was this through ERIC.

Unfortunately they a few of these seem to use different orthographies. Not sure what the current standard is (if there is one).

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby Riptide » 2011-07-20, 11:26

Wikipedia says there is no orthography, and I definitely believe it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_Patois#Orthography. I've heard/seen it spoken before though in person. It sounds pretty cool. 8-)
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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby księżycowy » 2011-07-20, 13:38

I had a feeling there was no standard orthography.

And yeah, it is a pretty cool language. :wink:
I'm probably going to try the ERIC textbook, as it seems the best resource IMO. A little hard to read in spots, but still very usable.

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby ceid donn » 2011-07-28, 4:43

I used to know some. :D But that's like ages ago, when I was in high school in the 80's. I went to high school in Galveston, off the Texas coast. There's quite a number of Jamaicans along the Gulf Coast, and I knew some because I was an aspiring musician and ska and reggae was very popular in Galveston in the 80's. I remember one Jamaican musician telling me that Americans speak English like they are reading from book, but Jamaicans speak their patois like they are singing a reggae song. I was even going to study Swahili as part of a minor in African American studies in college because Swahili has the same musicality to it--but I had to change unis my sophomore year and ended up at a private uni that didn't offer Swahili or African American studies, so I just studied jazz. :P

How serious are you about learning some patois? I might be tempted to join you....only if there's show Toot and the Maytals involved somehow. Maybe a Unilang Jamaican Patois thread theme song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERiTX9Pa23c&feature=related

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby księżycowy » 2011-07-31, 13:23

nì eile wrote:How serious are you about learning some patois?

Not super serious, but I am really thinking about it. I mean, it seems just as easy (if not easier) then learning Scots IMO. It's English based after all, and all creoles have simplified grammar, so . . . Yeah, I'll probably give it a whirl.

might be tempted to join you....

Join the party mon! 8-)

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby ceid donn » 2011-08-01, 0:19

Ok, we can start with some passive learning--just listening to some patois (or should we spell it patwa like the Jamaicans often do?):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN3ZadHV8E8
Last edited by ceid donn on 2011-08-01, 3:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby księżycowy » 2011-08-01, 0:23

I tend to use Patois. Damn French!

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-03-02, 8:03

Just a comment here. As I understand it, trying to learn Patwa/Jamaican Creole can be pretty tricky because there's a lot of pressure on Jamaicans to just speak English. To get really linguisticky for a moment: As with any English-based creole spoken in a country where the official language is English, Patwa is best thought of not as one language but rather as any of several varieties that fall along a continuum where one end is the acrolect ((Jamaican) English) and the other end is the basilect (or the most basilectal variety of Patwa, with minimal interference from the acrolect).

In fact, while I have no idea what the second video in this thread originally was because it isn't available anymore, the first video seems to be completely in English. There's no Patwa in it at all, AFAICT. ("Optoung Top Rankin" or "Uptown Top Ranking" is a good example of a song in Patwa, though - again, as far as my understanding goes. I would've posted it here, but I'm not sure I can find the version I'm looking for).

EDIT: I think "Suoja tiek uova" is also a good example of a song in Patwa. I have pretty much the full lyrics for this song written in a relatively phonetic transcription:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YuWuLlmx0s

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby Lauren » 2014-03-02, 9:58

Jamaican Patois is awesome. For some reason I just love English-based creoles. I think it's because I feel like I should be able to understand them, because they have many English words, but some are completely incomprehensible.

It's really fun to listen to. It seems to have very pronounced contours in the intonation, which sounds cool.

Here's a pretty good (and funny) example from a (non-?)native of Patwa:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyTl3EDgwn8
The actor who plays Gus, Dulé Hill, has Jamaican parents, but I don't know if he grew up speaking it or is just acting.
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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby ceid donn » 2014-03-14, 22:23

vijayjohn wrote:Just a comment here. As I understand it, trying to learn Patwa/Jamaican Creole can be pretty tricky because there's a lot of pressure on Jamaicans to just speak English. To get really linguisticky for a moment: As with any English-based creole spoken in a country where the official language is English, Patwa is best thought of not as one language...

In fact, while I have no idea what the second video in this thread originally was because it isn't available anymore, the first video seems to be completely in English. There's no Patwa in it at all, AFAICT.


Oh ffs. I didn't realize you were also an authority on this as well. :roll:

Anyhow, no, in fact Toots & the Maytals did not sing in Patwa nor did I say they did. They were an important ska band back in the day and like most ska bands they sang in English to help sell records overseas. I had only only jokingly suggested it as a theme song back when k and I were having a little fun with this.

Vijay, I know you think I'm some stupid woman who you can patronize to make yourself feel all smart, so whatever. That's your issues, dude. But if you're going to be a condescending wannabe-linguist asshole in response to something I have posted *do not* imply I said something I didn't.

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby Lauren » 2014-03-14, 22:44

ceid donn wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Just a comment here. As I understand it, trying to learn Patwa/Jamaican Creole can be pretty tricky because there's a lot of pressure on Jamaicans to just speak English. To get really linguisticky for a moment: As with any English-based creole spoken in a country where the official language is English, Patwa is best thought of not as one language...

In fact, while I have no idea what the second video in this thread originally was because it isn't available anymore, the first video seems to be completely in English. There's no Patwa in it at all, AFAICT.


Oh ffs. I didn't realize you were also an authority on this as well. :roll:

Anyhow, no, in fact Toots & the Maytals did not sing in Patwa nor did I say they did. They were an important ska band back in the day and like most ska bands they sang in English to help sell records overseas. I had only only jokingly suggested it as a theme song back when k and I were having a little fun with this.

Vijay, I know you think I'm some stupid woman who you can patronize to make yourself feel all smart, so whatever. That's your issues, dude. But if you're going to be a condescending wannabe-linguist asshole in response to something I have posted *do not* imply I said something I didn't.

In his defense, I don't think he thinks that at all. And you are the one that takes everything people say to you as an insult to you, when it's not.

Although I doubt you'll even see this since I think you blocked me awhile ago for that very same reason. :ohwell:
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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-03-15, 21:43

Thank you.

Lowena wrote:Jamaican Patois is awesome. For some reason I just love English-based creoles. I think it's because I feel like I should be able to understand them, because they have many English words, but some are completely incomprehensible.

Yeah, I think English-based creoles are fascinating to me, too. But honestly, I just know more about English-based creoles than any other ones (and even more specifically, English-based "Atlantic" creoles, if that makes any sense), because that's what my former advisor works on (aside from Romani).

It's really fun to listen to. It seems to have very pronounced contours in the intonation, which sounds cool.

Do you mean the "rising" (in terms of sonority) diphthongs, i.e. [uo] and [ie] (cf. American English [oʊ] and [eɪ])?

Here's a pretty good (and funny) example from a (non-?)native of Patwa:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyTl3EDgwn8
The actor who plays Gus, Dulé Hill, has Jamaican parents, but I don't know if he grew up speaking it or is just acting.

Thanks for the video! Yeah, that did look pretty interesting. :D

ceid donn wrote:Oh ffs. I didn't realize you were also an authority on this as well. :roll:

Thanks for the flattering remark, but no, I'm not even close to being an authority on it. In fact, have I ever claimed to be an authority on anything, really? At most, I think I've said I know more about linguistics than most (not all) UniLangers.

Anyhow, no, in fact Toots & the Maytals did not sing in Patwa nor did I say they did.

Nor did I say you said they did, but I'm glad you made it clear to me that it wasn't Patwa.

They were an important ska band back in the day and like most ska bands they sang in English to help sell records overseas. I had only only jokingly suggested it as a theme song back when k and I were having a little fun with this.

You seem to be pretty upset about what I said, which is too bad because I really didn't mean to criticize or anything. You posted a Jamaican song on a thread about Patwa, so I was curious to see whether it was in Patwa or not, and after actually listening to it, I didn't think it was. I pointed this out because it was relevant to the point I was making in that post, which is basically that since it's an English-based creole spoken in a country where the official language is English, it's not always clear what is Patwa and what is not. You may know already that it isn't Patwa. That's great for you, but you can't expect everyone to know everything you do.

Vijay, I know you think I'm some stupid woman who you can patronize to make yourself feel all smart, so whatever. That's your issues, dude.

No, you clearly don't, because I don't think so, and I am not patronizing you.

But if you're going to be a condescending wannabe-linguist asshole in response to something I have posted *do not* imply I said something I didn't.

How am I "a condescending wannabe-linguist asshole"? Just because I said something linguistic about something you posted? And when did I imply anything about what you did or didn't say? And honestly, I did my freaking master's in linguistics. I think that makes me more than a "wannabe-linguist."

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-03-16, 4:29

Vijay, I know you think I'm some stupid woman who you can patronize to make yourself feel all smart, so whatever. That's your issues, dude. But if you're going to be a condescending wannabe-linguist asshole in response to something I have posted *do not* imply I said something I didn't.
I'm going to say that I think you're the only one who thinks that he thinks that, including him.

And yeah, he's much more of a linguist than you or I, so...

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby tonytez » 2015-04-16, 20:05

Jamaican Creole does have a standard orthography now that is being promoted by linguists. It is called the Cassidy-JLU system.

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Re: Jamaican Patois

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-08-23, 2:43

That's interesting! I don't remember that name "Cassidy-JLU," but I can believe that it has a standard orthography now. Or at least, I think from those linguists' point of view, this is probably a good thing since it will (at least potentially?) help distinguish between Jamaican Creole on the one hand and English on the other, and also it will promote the idea that Jamaican Creole is a language in its own right rather than some debased form of English as people often seem to believe (both inside and outside Jamaica) as a result of colonialism.


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