A Study of Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics

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Beyond Language, Volume 2

Author:  Aleksandra R. Knapik

JAMAICAN CREOLE, like many other contact languages, has taken its ultimate shape through the course of multi-lingual and multi-cultural influences. This meticulous study examines Jamaican Creole proverbs in a corpus of over 1090 recorded sayings.

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JAMAICAN CREOLE, like many other contact languages, has taken its ultimate shape through the course of multi-lingual and multi-cultural influences. From the perspective of contact linguistics, this meticulous study examines Jamaican Creole proverbs in a corpus of over 1090 recorded sayings; it presents a framework of cultural changes in Jamaica accompanied by corresponding linguistic changes in its creole. The analysis clearly demonstrates that despite three centuries of extreme dominance by the British empire, Jamaicans successfully preserved the traditions of their own ancestors. Not only that. The poly-layered stimulus of various factors: geographic, cultural and, most prominently, linguistic, helped create a unique phenomenon – Jamaican creole culture. The vibrant life of the Jamaican people and their African background is best encapsulated in their proverbs, proverbs which constitute generations of wisdom passed from the 16th century and on.

John R. Rickford,
J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities,
Stanford University

 

The research theme of the very publication entitled Jamaican Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics is a successful analysis of both linguistic and cultural contacts between English and African cultures that have been shaping the vernacular language of Jamaica. The study material consists of 1092 proverbs, all of which can be regarded as a first-hand record of sociolinguistic events that have had important influence upon the formation of the Jamaican creole language and its registers. Dr. Knapik proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Jamaican linguistic and cultural world is a great example of a thriving microcosm which continues to incorporate various elements and can also very well serve as the basis for future research on patterns of language and culture development. (…)

prof. dr hab. dr h.c. (mult.) †Jacek Fisiak

Author

Published in

2019

Series

Volume

2

Editor

Piotr P. Chruszczewski

Edition

1st

ISBN

978-1-68346-151-7

# of pages

246

Binding

perfect bound

Dimensions

148 x 210 mm

Weight

1 kg

Table of Contents

ChapterPage
1. INTRODUCTION1
1.1. Research objectives1
1.1.1. Subject matter2
1.1.2. Research perspective2
1.1.3. Research material3
1.2. Structure of Jamaica talk5
1.3. Jamaica before the English invasion8
1.4. The English invasion – the sociolinguistic situation10
2. OVERALL FRAMEWORK OF CONTACT PHENOMENA12
2.1. On the general causes of language change15
2.2. Language loss/death mechanisms20
2.2.1. Mechanisms of language loss22
2.2.2. Language loss in the colonial period23
2.3. Contact linguistics26
2.3.1. On the ecology of languages in contact30
2.3.2. Ethnography of communication of the Jamaican Creole speech community34
3. PIDGIN AND CREOLE LANGUAGES38
3.1. On the etymology of the word pidgin40
3.2. Definitions of the term pidgin41
3.3. On the typology of pidgins48
3.3.1. Characteristic features of pidgins52
3.3.2. On the notion of pidgin simplification58
3.4. External factors involved in the genesis of pidgin and creole languages62
3.4.1. On the origins of pidgins63
4. DEFINITIONS OF CREOLE LANGUAGES80
4.1. On the etymology of the word creole82
4.2. Suggested conditions of linguistic creolization83
4.2.1. Socio-historical creole typology83
4.3. Creolization of a pidgin88
4.3.1. Post-creole continuum (life after creolization: Jamaica)91
4.4. The bioprogram hypothesis95
4.4.1. Basic features of creole grammars97
5. ON THE NOTION AND TYPOLOGY OF PROVERBS100
5.1. Factors influencing the formation of African oral folklore106
5.1.1. Jamaican proverbs as socio-cultural facts108
5.2. On the classification of proverbs108
5.2.1. African proverbial neologism111
5.2.2. Origins and significance of Jamaican proverbs114
5.3. Presentation of the research material and research method118
5.4. Research results and general conclusions121
REFERENCES126
DATABASE of Jamaican Proverbs142
INDEX OF TERMS in Jamaican Creole Proverbs229
INDEX OF TERMS237

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