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,
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