Talk:Jamaican English

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 9 January 2020 and 22 April 2020. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): André Lindsay.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 23:15, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 11 September 2018 and 31 December 2018. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): MirandaMitchell.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 01:01, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Much of the current content is my work, done quite some time ago, and I haven't been back until now--sorry. I note the problems and will try to work on them. I haven't figured out how to do the IPA symbols yet, and in fact I run into a problem when I try to add references--the part of the article below the reference disappears.

I didn't think of the "subject changes" in the Creole continuum as a problem--I meant to use different sentences as examples--but I see how they could be made clearer. "Me is" and "Me's" is just the perennial problem of how to spell Patois to reflect the pronunciation without confusing the reader. (IPA won't help there either, since only linguist can read it.)

I agree with your comments on the different meaning of higgler, but That's too much detail to go into the article. You could make the same argument for "duppy"--it doesn't have the exact connotations that English "ghost" has. If you can think of other Jamaican-only words to feature there (that are used in Creole as well as Jamaican Standard English), please add them as examples.

(I wasn't born in Jamaica but lived there and have a study subject at home.)

Arankine 19:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Errors/Clarification (note: I'm Jamaican born and was raised there till I was 12 but I'm NOT a linguist so I'll leave my suggestions here rather than correcting the main article.)

"Higgler for informal vendor" is a poor translation for a concept which doesn't translate well into standard English. (What is an 'informal' vendor anyway?) While it has a broad definition, its two main uses, for me anyway, are as follows:

  • A vendor who haggles or negotiates prices such as stall vendors (farmer's market, flea market, etc)
  • It also refers specifically to those who try to turn a quick buck by visiting abroad, purchasing cheap or unbranded merchandise, and reselling it in Jamaica.

The example of the creole continuum is plain wrong. There are subject changes between levels (Me = I, 'Im = He). Secondly, the examples for low mesilect and basilect are identical in prestige and are actual grammatical differences (ignoring subject changes it translates to: "He works over there" vs "He is working over there"). Furthermore, "Me is" sounds flat out wrong. The closest that sounds like is the lowest form of Patois/Patwa where it's slurred together (sounds like me pluralized but shorter): M'is ova'de - I'm over there.

An example of the continuum for me is:

  • M'is ova' de-so
  • Mi's ova' de
  • Mi ova de (most common)
  • Mi ova dere
  • I'm/I'll be over there (Standard English)

This article needs to explain the Jamaican article "fi", which does not exist in Standard English.

This is explained in Jamaican Creole; which starts

"not to be confused with Jamaican English", from the examples given in this article, (""Me a wok ova de-so") - this is 'confused' with Jamaican English.

More IPA is required[edit]

The problem is that I can't see the differences in sound unless I see the IPA symbols. This would benefit the article. -Iopq 05:22, 5 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was going to say the same thing - I'll see if there's any really obvious ones to put IPA to. -- the GREAT Gavini 17:55, 10 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article claims that: "Bacon" and "beer can" are homophones in Jamaican English.

While the vowel correspondence is there, it earlier claims that Jamaican English is semi-rhotic and that r is pronounced at the end of stressed syllables. It seems this would imply that the r would be pronounced in "beer can" but silent in "bacon", making them not homophonous. Perhaps someone with more knowledge could clear this up. Furby100 01:51, 20 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re: Beer Can

Im a "native" Jamaican and we dont use the term "beer can" and "bacon" is refered to as bacon. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:08:32, August 2, 2007 (UTC)

Diapers v. nappies[edit]

There appears to be an internal contradiction within the "Vocabulary" section, with the first sentence suggesting that "diapers" is in use, while the second suggests that "nappies" is the preferred term. This could probably benefit from the attention of a native speaker or current resident. Pastamasta 10:36, 23 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's clear that the "diapers" is used more by younger Jamaicans, and "nappies" is used more by older Jamaicans, as a rough generalization. - BillCJ 03:37, 15 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Pastamasta, when I read it I thought it was contradictory. The Old Trout PS I looked at the page to find out what 'bakkra' meant - I'm assuming it's Jamaican (19th century, slave) slang from the context I've read it in, but would love someone to enlighten me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 21 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Irish accent is a major influence on the accent of Jamaican English today[edit]

"The Irish accent is a major influence on the accent of Jamaican English today." WTF??? None of my homies in S London sound remotely like Dara o'Briain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 16 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to this website there is Irish influence in Jamaican English. Is this a suitable source for verification purposes? Differentshelf (talk) 21:32, 5 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uh, that article strongly implies the complete opposite, although it's not really focused on Jamaican English at all. Wolfdog (talk) 13:01, 20 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

West African influence?[edit]

How does this article not mention Africa? natemup (talk) 19:22, 26 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Probably for one of two reasons, if not a mixture of both: One, No one has cited reliable, published sources that discuss such influences, assuming. such sources exist. Two, most West African influence is probably felt indirectly through Jamaican Patois, which article does discuss such influences. BilCat (talk) 19:39, 26 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Natemup I think part of the problem comes with distinguishing Jamaican English from Jamaican Patois, since what you're really talking about is a continuum (cf. post-creole continuum) with Jamaican standard English as the acrolect and "pure" Patwah as the basilect. Our way of writing articles doesn't handle that well. In part because of how people write, and in part because of the way sources partition what is truly a continuum. Guettarda (talk) 21:02, 26 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]