Jamaican Patois

Jamaican Patois

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Jamaican Patois

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Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois (Patwa) or Jamaican, and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-lexified creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora. It is not to be confused with Jamaican English nor with the Rastafarian use of English. The language developed in the 17th century, when slaves from West and Central Africa were exposed to, learned and nativized the vernacular and dialectal forms of English spoken by their masters: British English, Scots and Hiberno English. Jamaican Patois features a creole continuum (or a linguistic continuum)—meaning that the variety of the language closest to the lexifier language (the acrolect) cannot be distinguished systematically from intermediate varieties (collectively referred to as the mesolect) nor even from the most divergent rural varieties (collectively referred to as the basilect). Jamaicans themselves usually refer to their dialect as patois, a French term without a precise linguistic definition.

Significant Jamaican-speaking communities exist among Jamaican expatriates in Miami, New York City, Toronto, Hartford, Washington, D.C., Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama (in the Caribbean coast), and London.Mark Sebba (1993), London Jamaican, London: Longman. A mutually intelligible variety is found in San Andrés y Providencia Islands, Colombia, brought to the island by...
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