Thursday, April 10, 2014

'Favored' Cultural Expressions...............Jamaican Accent and Patois

Greetings! did you enjoy the last feature?  Today, I'm going to talk about the accent and dialect of Jamaica.

The Jamaican accent is what you hear when a Jamaican speaks (English or Patois).

English is the official language of Jamaica; It is taught in schools and everyone speaks English. Some individuals however may have a better command of English than others for various reasons such as education, socio-economic status, socialization etc. 

There is however a dialect that we speak that is called Patois (pronounced: Pat- Wah).  Patwah shares some similarities to West African Pidgin.

One short example:
  •  Pidgin: una 
  •  Patwa: unu (you plural;  you all)
    • Unu wait fi mi (everybody or you all wait for me).
Patwa also has a funny/humorous connotation, it's not uncommon to see or hear people talk patwa and laugh while talking or the other party laugh while listening. It's not that the subject is funny per se, but how the person speaks and enunciates certain terms/words or the expressions used while speaking patwa that often makes it funny. 

Accent and Patwa Clarifications:

The Jamaican accent and Patwa varies from region to region in Jamaica.

In America for example, a New York accent sounds different from a Texas accent while both speaking English in the united States.  Would you agree with me?  It's just the same with the Jamaican accent and Patwa. Someone from one region in Jamaica lets say Country (rural, sub-rural, rural-rural) area will sound differently from someone from Town (urban, sub-urban) areas.  Someone educated through higher levels in the Country will sound different from someone not highly educated in the Country and the same with town educated and town limited education.  You follow?

Also, in addition to education,  family background, socio-economics also adds a variation to your 'sound'/accent and the variation of patwa that you speak.  All in all though a Jamaican can always identify another Jamaican through speech regardless.

I have included two links; Feel free to check out the link to a 'YouTuber' that explains and demonstrates the nuances of the Jamaican 'Talk' Jamaican Sinting; Also these twin Jamaicans See2twintoo who talk about their everyday life etc;They have an 'uptown' Jamaican accent.

It's a beautiful accent as I have been told. I still have it and the patwa down good good (It is a part of the fabric of what makes me ME).

The viedo below  is a morning program 'Smile Jamaica' on Jamaican TV.   You can hear a variation of the Jamaican accent as the male host interjects Patwa while speaking, the female host and the interviewee sound a little differently.

The video below is a segment from the Jamaican TV youth program called 'Talk Up Yout' where they travel to schools throughout the island and discuss various issues affecting the youth....You'll hear a cross section of the Jamaican accent here as well.

Stay tuned for more topics in future editions.  Thanks for reading and watching.

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