Jamaican is an English-based Creole with influences from languages of West and Central Africa. It developed during the 17th century and includes significant influences from various dialects of English, especially those of Scotland and Ireland. Over 4 million people speak Jamaican, most of whom live in Jamaica. There are also many speakers in parts of the USA, Canada, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and the UK.
Jamaican is used mainly as a spoken language, though has been used to some extent as a literary language for over a century. There is no written standard, though increased use of the language in writing, especially in schools, has led to a partial standardisation. Some schools in Jamaica use both English and Jamaican as mediums of instruction and have found that children taught in this way tend to achieve better results than those taught only in English.
Information about the Jamaican alphabet and pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel
Di habrij Jumiekan di taak wa dehn taak dehn kaali patwa, dehn kaali kriol, ar iivn bad hInglish, askaadn tu ou dehn fiil proud ar kaanful. Jumiekan dem uona hatitiuud divaid uoba di langwij di huol a dem taak di muos, likl muos aal di taim. Alduo hInglish a di hofishal langwij a di konchri, ahn dehn aal ab wa dehn kaal Jumiekan hInglish, a muosli bakra ahn tapanaaris yu hie widi iina hofishal serkl, anles smadi waahn himpres wid piiki-puoki. Kaman yuusij rienj frahn Jumiekan hInglish to braad patwa wid bout chrii digrii a separieshan, aafn iina di wan piika siem wan kanvasieshan.
The speech of the average Jamaican is variously described as a patois or creole, or even as bad English, depending on the degree of pride or disdain of the describer. Jamaicans' attitudes themselves are very divided over the language they all speak most, if not all, of the time. Although English is the official language of the country, and a variant known as Jamaican English is acknowledged, it is mostly heard only in formal situations, unless one wants to impress with "speaky-spoky." Common usage ranges from Jamaican English to broad patois with about three degrees of separation, often within a single speaker's conversation.
A video about Jamaican, which includes some Jamaican expressions and Jamaican poem.
Betawi, Bislama, Cape Verdean Creole, Chavacano, Chinook Jargon, Dominican Creole French, Fanagalo, French Guianese Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Haitian Creole, Jamaican, Kituba, Manado Malay, Mauritian Creole, Nagamese, Ndyuka, Norfuk, Nubi, Palenquero, Papiamento, Pijin, Réunion Creole, Sango, Saramaccan, Seychelles Creole, Sierra Leonean Creole, Singlish, Sranan, Saint Lucian Creole, Tok Pisin, Torres-Strait Creole
Page last modified: 10.09.21
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