Jamaica

Print
English
[eng] Status: 1 (National). De facto national language. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English. Comments: Non-indigenous. When Creole languages exist alongside their lexifier language, a continuum forms of variations between the Creole and the lexifier language. It is therefore difficult to substantiate the exact number of Creole speakers and speakers of the lexifier language.

More Information

Jamaican Creole English
[jam] L1 users: 2,670,000 (2001). Total users in all countries: 3,035,000. Status: 5 (Developing). De facto language of national identity. Alternate Names: Bongo Talk, Jamiekan, Limon Creole English, Patois, Patwa, Quashie Talk, Western Caribbean Creole. Dialects: None known. The basilect and standard English mutually inherently unintelligible (Voegelin and Voegelin 1977, LePage 1960, Adler 1977). May be partly intelligible to speakers of Cameroon Pidgin [wes] and Krio [kri] of Sierra Leone, spoken by descendants of Jamaicans repatriated between 1787 and 1860. Inherently intelligible to creole speakers in Panama and Costa Rica. Reportedly very similar to Belize Creole [bzj], similar to Grenada, Saint Vincent, different from Tobago, very different from Guyana, Barbados, Leeward and Windward islands. Classification: Creole, English based, Atlantic, Western. Comments: There is a continuum of variation from basilectal Creole to acrolectal English of the educated. Linguistic influences from Akan [aka] languages in Ghana and Bantu languages (Hancock 1988).

More Information

Jamaican Sign Language
[jls] Scattered. L1 users: 7,500 (2011 E. Parks). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: JSL. Dialects: Could be considered a dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) [ase] but is gradually diverging, with significant lexical and syntactic differences (Cumberbatch 2012a). Classification: Sign language. Comments: Evidence of sign language use in the 19th century, with possible early influence from Konchri Sain [jcs] and British Sign Language (BSL) [bfi]. BSL used in a school started in 1939. Starting 1957, strong influence from ASL and Signed English used in American missionary schools (Braithwaite et al 2016). Mostly concentrated in Kingston, but also found in other parishes such as Montego Bay, St. Anns, and Mandeville (2016 B. Gayle).

More Information

Konchri Sain
[jcs] Primarily in Saint Elizabeth Parish, near Top Hill. L1 users: 40 (Parks et al 2011b), decreasing. Approximately 40 deaf L1 users, number of hearing L1 users is unknown. 4 monolinguals (2016 B. Gayle). Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Country Sign, Jamaican Country Sign Language, KS. Dialects: None known. Most of the Jamaican deaf community does not understand Konchri Sain. Classification: Sign language. Comments: The word ‘Konchri’ or ‘Country’ in names for this language means ‘rural’; it does not refer to the whole of Jamaica, the deaf of which use Jamaican Sign Language [jls] (2016 K. Cumberbatch). Starting in the 1970s, younger deaf have learned Jamaican Sign Language [jls] at Maranatha School for the Deaf in Ridge (St. Elizabeth parish), where use of KS is discouraged (Cumberbatch 2012b). Deaf people from St. Elizabeth Parish often move to the larger cities for easier access to employment.

More Information

Page Views Left: