July 31, 2011

Bidialectal Jamaican speech

While in Toronto, Dr Karla Washington and I have been preparing to undertake research into Jamaican children's speech acquisition. Jamaican children are bi-dialectal, speaking the Jamaican English (for school and other more formal occasions) and Jamaican Patois (for other occasions).

Karla has written a chapter titled: Translation to Practice: Typical Bidialectal Speech Acquisition in Jamaica  in the forthcoming McLeod & Goldstein book. She has written: "In Jamaica, Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole are the two polar co-occurring language varieties. Jamaican English is putatively the “Queen’s English”, the acrolect, and is used formally both in oral and written forms (Irvine, 2004). Alternately, Jamaican Creole the basilect, is considered an oral language resulting from multiple etymologies, including English, West African, and French languages (Cassidy, 1966) that is used informally (Irvine, 2004; 2008). Jamaicans are typically introduced to Jamaican Creole and Jamaican English from birth (Irvine, 2004; Meade, 2001), making them simultaneous language learners. Jamaican children therefore enter the school system speaking both Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole; however, the language of instruction in schools is Jamaican English (Brown-Blake, 2008; Irvine, 2004). Jamaican Creole phonology consists of 33 different phonemes, comprising 21 consonants and 12 vowels (Devonish & Harry, 2004; Harry, 2006)..."

As part of the preparation, I have enjoyed eating Jamaican food, including ackee and salted codfish, the Jamaican national dish.
Top L- Lower R: Dumplings, ackee and salted codfish, plantains, boiled green bananas,
Text message written in Jamaican Creole