JAMA I CAN CREOL E PROVERBS
BEYOND LANGUAGE The series under the auspices of: College for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Wrocław Kolegium Międzyobszarowych Studiów Indywidualnych, UWr In cooperation with: Faculty of History, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań Wydział Historyczny, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu Committee for Philology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław Branch Komisja Nauk Filologicznych Oddziału PAN we Wrocławiu Scientific Board Committee for Philology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław Branch Andrei Avram (Bucharest, Romania) | Jerzy Axer (Warsaw, Poland) | Katarzyna Buczek (Opole, Poland) | Piotr Cap (Łódź, Poland) | Lorenzo Calvelli (Venice, Italy) | Tadeusz Cegielski (Warsaw, Poland) | Piotr P. Chruszczewski (Wrocław, Poland) | Camelia M. Cmeciu (Bucharest, Romania) | Marta Degani (Verona, Italy) | Michel DeGraff (Boston, USA) | Robin Dunbar (Oxford, UK) | Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk (Poznań, Poland) | Joanna Esquibel (San Diego, USA) | Ray Fabri (La Valetta, Malta) | Jacek Fisiak (Poznań, Poland) | Franck Floricic (Paris, France) | James A. Fox (Stanford, USA) | Stanisław Gajda (Opole, Poland) | Piotr Gąsiorowski (Poznań, Poland) | Isaiah Gruber (Jerusalem, Israel) | Franciszek Grucza (Warsaw, Poland) | Kazimierz Ilski (Poznań, Poland) | Rafael Jiménez Cataño (Rome, Italy) | Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak (Wrocław, Poland) | Grzegorz A. Kleparski (Rzeszów, Poland) | Konrad Klimkowski (Lublin, Poland) | Aleksandra R. Knapik (Wrocław, Poland) | Tomasz P. Krzeszowski (Warszawa, Poland) | Marcin Kudła (Rzeszów, Poland) | Christopher Laferl (Salzburg, Austria) | Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (Łódź, Poland) | MarcinMajewski (Kraków, Poland) | Rafał Molencki (Sosnowiec, Poland) | Marek Paryż (Warsaw, Poland) | John Rickford (Stanford, USA) | Hans Sauer (Munich, Germany) | Waldemar Skrzypczak (Toruń, Poland) | Tadeusz Sławek, Katowice, Poland |Agnieszka Stępkowska (Warsaw, Poland) | Aleksander Szwedek (Poznań, Poland) | Elżbieta Tabakowska (Kraków, Poland) | Jerzy Wełna (Warsaw, Poland) | Donald Winford (Columbus, USA) | Anna Wojtyś (Warsaw, Poland) | Przemysław Żywiczyński (Toruń, Poland)
, 201 9 AL EKSANDRA R . KNAP I K FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF CONTACT L INGUISTICS JAMA I CAN CREOL E PROVERBS
Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics Title of the Series: Beyond Language, Vol. 2 Text © 2019 Aleksandra R. Knapik Copyright for this edition © 2019 Æ Academic Publishing All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Editors-in-Chief: Prof. Piotr P. Chruszczewski (Wrocław) Editors for the Series: Dr. Katarzyna Buczek (Opole) Dr. Marcin Kudła (Rzeszów) Honorary Editors Prof. Michel DeGraff (Boston) for the Series: Prof. Isaiah Gruber (Jerusalem) Prof. Christopher F. Laferl (Salzburg) Reviewers: Prof. Jacek Fisiak Prof. John R. Rickford Publication financed by the Rector of the University of Wrocław for the academic series “Beyond Language” affiliated with the College for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Wrocław (http: //kmsi.uni.wroc.pl/) Æ Academic Publishing 501 W. Broadway Ste A186 San Diego, CA 92101, USA www.aeAcademicPublishing.com contact@aeAcademicPublishing.com 1st international edition: Æ Academic Publishing, 2019 LCCN: 2018915234 ISSN: 2642-6951 (print), 2642-696X (online) ISBNs: 978-1-68346-151-7 (pbk) 978-1-68346-152-4 (mobi) | 978-1-68346-153-1 (ePub) | 978-1-68346-154-8 (pdf) 23 22 21 20 19 1 2 3
1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................. 1 1.1. Research objectives. ............................................................................ 1 1.1.1. Subject matter............................................................................ 2 1.1.2. Research perspective................................................................... 2 1.1.3. Research material........................................................................ 3 1.2. Structure of Jamaica talk. ................................................................... 5 1.3. Jamaica before the English invasion.................................................... 8 1.4. The English invasion – the sociolinguistic situation............................. 10 2. OVERALL FRAMEWORK OF CONTACT PHENOMENA................... 12 2.1. On the general causes of language change. ......................................... 15 2.2. Language loss/death mechanisms........................................................ 20 2.2.1. Mechanisms of language loss. ..................................................... 22 2.2.2. Language loss in the colonial period............................................ 23 2.3. Contact linguistics.............................................................................. 26 2.3.1. On the ecology of languages in contact....................................... 30 2.3.2. E thnography of communication of the Jamaican Creole speech community............................................................................... 34 3. PIDGIN AND CREOLE LANGUAGES................................................. 38 3.1. On the etymology of the word pidgin................................................. 40 3.2. Definitions of the term pidgin............................................................. 41 3.3. On the typology of pidgins................................................................. 48 3.3.1. Characteristic features of pidgins................................................. 52 3.3.2. On the notion of pidgin simplification. ....................................... 58 3.4. External factors involved in the genesis of pidgin and creole languages. 62 3.4.1. On the origins of pidgins............................................................ 63 4. DEFINITIONS OF CREOLE LANGUAGES.......................................... 80 4.1. On the etymology of the word creole.................................................. 82 4.2. Suggested conditions of linguistic creolization..................................... 83 4.2.1. Socio-historical creole typology................................................... 83
vi Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics 4.3. Creolization of a pidgin....................................................................... 88 4.3.1. Post-creole continuum (life after creolization: Jamaica)................ 91 4.4. The bioprogram hypothesis................................................................. 95 4.4.1. Basic features of creole grammars. .............................................. 97 5. ON THE NOTION AND TYPOLOGY OF PROVERBS....................... 100 5.1. Factors influencing the formation of African oral folklore.................... 106 5.1.1. Jamaican proverbs as socio-cultural facts..................................... 108 5.2. On the classification of proverbs. ........................................................ 108 5.2.1. African proverbial neologism. ..................................................... 111 5.2.2. Origins and significance of Jamaican proverbs............................. 114 5.3. Presentation of the research material and research method.................. 118 5.4. Research results and general conclusions............................................. 121 REFERENCES. ............................................................................................ 126 DATABASE of Jamaican Proverbs.............................................................. 142 INDEX OF TERMS in Jamaican Creole Proverbs..................................... 229 INDEX OF TERMS. ................................................................................... 237
1. INTRODUCTION Throughout history, speakers of different languages would come into contact with one another, and language contact would take place when two or more language varieties interacted. In fact, it is the speakers of different languages who interact closely and in the course of this interaction the languages naturally influence one another. The frequency and extent of these contacts inevitably lead to the formation of stable languages. Language contact can occur as a result of migration or trade. As Gillian Sankoff notices, the nature of language contacts is created in a difficult sociohistorical ecology, as “[l]anguage contacts have, historically, taken place in large part under conditions of social inequality resulting from wars, conquests, colonialism, slavery, and migrations […]” (2003: 641). However, not all language contacts result in the creation of a new language and culture: “[l]anguage contacts have in some times and places been short-lived, with language loss and assimilation a relatively short-term result, whereas other historical situations have produced relative long-term stability and acceptance by the bi- or multilingual population” (ibidem). When two speakers of different languages come into contact, they can use a lingua franca or work out a new linguistic variety consisting of elements of the two (or more) languages they speak. The most common products of language contacts are pidgins, creoles, mixed languages and code switching. Moreover, influence on the languages may exist in different forms, such as borrowing (exchange of words) or language shift (replacement of one language by another). 1.1. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES A contemporary understanding followed by a description of the phenomenon of “languages in contact” is said to have appeared for the first time in Uriel Weinreich’s Languages in Contact, which was published in 1953. The contact linguistics perspective seems to be one of the best research tools that can be used to study Jamaican Creole because it is one of those languages that can be identified as a language of very complex histories and one that arose in the non-verbal context of a longstanding pervasive cultural contact situation, in which several fundamentally different speech communities were forced to live together in a relatively small area.
2 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics 1.1.1. Subject matter The life of any society is based on its discursive practices (Chruszczewski 2006) because, according to Berger and Luckman ( 1967: 53), “[a] ll human activity is subject to habitualization.” What is more, “[a]ny action that is repeated frequently becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with an economy of effort […]” (ibidem), and it is proverbs that usually constitute such patterns and are repeatable with an economy of effort within changing non-verbal settings. The consistency and inherent cultural power of the repeated proverb model varies from culture to culture; however, the model appears to be particularly strong within many African and Caribbean speech communities. One of the crucial research objectives of the study presented here was to research the type of information that is conveyed and transmitted by means of the texts of Jamaican Creole proverbs. The starting point for my investigations was my belief that the extralinguistic reality (culture included) is to a great extent a product of human verbal (and non-verbal) interactions. It is due to these interactions that both language and culture can simultaneously be regarded as both a structure and a process. In theory, only prime ethnic groups that do not interact with other groups because of the natural conditions that isolate them from others are fully uniform and culturally separate (see Kłoskowska 1996: 40). My research only proves the above, showing that when two or more cultures interact, we can be faced not only with reciprocal linguistic and cultural borrowings but also, under certain circumstances, we can witness the birth and development of a completely new language and culture. This is the case for Jamaican Creole, which is an example of how two or more interacting speech communities can give rise to a new speech community which nevertheless does indeed retain many cultural elements and linguistic patterns of the cultures in contact, and Jamaican Creole proverbs fully mirror the aforementioned changes. 1.1.2. Research perspective By means of the contact linguistics perspective one can research Jamaican creole proverbs as instances of verbal texts which linguistically develop in accordance with the already established socio-cognitive patterns of the speech community under discussion. With reference to the above, one has to agree with Els Oksaar (1996: 1) that “[l]anguage contact gives rise to various interactions in the cognitive-emotional realm of human beings, since language has always existed and developed in a biological and social context as a typ-
3 1. Introduction ically human and thereby also social phenomenon.” Bearing the above in mind, contact linguistics provides one with a research perspective and research methodology with which, through its application, one can construct a model of the specific language development practices and tendencies which are clearly visible in Jamaican Creole proverbs. Pidgins and creoles come into being via contact between people speaking different languages and representing various cultures. The emergence of a new variety of language depends on the frequency of contacts between two or more speech communities, and this is why one can state that “[…] language contact originates from cultural, economic, political and scientific contact between ethnic and demographic groups” (ibidem). It involves people coming from different cultures and speaking different varieties of language who come into contact with one another and interact, therefore it is important to note that “[l]anguage contact arises from the direct or indirect social interaction of the speakers, influenced by the units of the communicative act and its sociocultural context” (ibidem). Contact linguistics deals with interactions between languages and cultures and analyzes both the outcome of these interactions and the new cultural and linguistic patterns that emerge from this contact of cultures. 1.1.3. Research material The basis of the research material is a total of 1092 texts containing Jamaican Creole proverbs collected by Martha Beckwith1 (1925) and Al Cleary (1971). The above-mentioned collections of proverbs are based on the following, previously published sources: – Thomas Banbury, Jamaica Superstitions, or the Obeah Book. A Complete Treatise of the Absurdities Believed in by the People of the Island, Jamaica (1894), 39–43; – William C. Bates, “Creole Folk-lore from Jamaica. I. Proverbs,” Journal of American Folk-lore, Vol. 9 (1895), 38–42; – Frank Cundall and Izett Anderson, Jamaica Negro Proverbs and Sayings, Kingston (1910); – Frank Harry, “Jamaica Proverbs,” Dialect Notes, Vol. 5, Part 4 (1921); 98–108; – Cyril F. Grant, “Negro Proverbs Collected in Jamaica, 1887.” Folk-lore, Vol. 28 (1917); 315–317; 1 Original publication (1925) without copyright by Vassar College Libraries. The current 2016 text production is deemed fair use.
4 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics – Charles Rampini, Letters from Jamaica, Edinburgh, (1873), Appendix; 175–182. There was one more “principal informant” for Beckwith, i.e. George Parkes, who was an active man in the community. A large part of the proverbs was collected from the students of the Teaching College in Mona, Jamaica. An excellent source of Jamaican proverbs is Frederick Cassidy and Robert LePage’s Dictionary of Jamaican English ( 1980), in which the authors trace back the African roots of the proverbs, thus locating their African ancestry. Jamaican Creole proverbs are a concoction of African tradition and of the overwhelming English culture that dominates over most of the Caribbean region. On the basis of these proverbs one can attempt to discover the linguistic and cultural patterns of the society under investigation. The sources of research material in the field of creole studies can be various, as Geneviève Escure notices: [t]he field of creole studies reflects the multiple ways of obtaining data represented in general linguistic studies. These include ancient records, court transcripts, texts, old grammars, c o l l e c t i o n o f p r o v e r b s , diaries, reported observations, word lists, sentence lists […], newspaper articles, radio programs, sermons, songs, traditional tales (such as the well-known Anansi Stories), elicitation techniques and interviews, spontaneous conversations, and native speakers’ judgments. (2008: 570, emphasis mine) The sentient imagery that Jamaican proverbs display is the legacy of West African traditions that pervades the entire Jamaican parlance. “Such animate imagery, a carryover of West African proverbs, infuses Jamaica talk with life and is used to crystallize sayings based on the wisdom of experience, often using living creatures as teachers” (Koss  2008: 303). The collection of Jamaican proverbs presents a very distinct type of knowledge regarding the developing socio-economic and linguistic contacts which started as an atrocity performed by one politically dominant nation upon another ethnically, economically, politically and subsequently linguistically challenged peoples. “In the context of a society torn from its roots and oppressed, the islanders have evolved countless sayings that express simple warnings about behavior and interpersonal relationships” (ibidem). For example: (1) (a) If Mr. Go- ’way no come, Mr. Dead wi’ come [If Mr. Go-away does not come, Mr. Dead will – It is a threat implying that if a man does not leave, he may get killed]
5 1. Introduction (b) Cashew neber bear guyava [A cashew-nut tree never bears guyava. – Implying a threat “you will get what you deserve”] (c) Daag can’t bark when his back is broken [A dog can’t bark when its back is broken – Employed as a threat]. (Koss  2008: 306) 1.2. STRUCTURE OF JAMAICA TALK This chapter discusses the characteristic semantic elements of Jamaican Creole and the origin of the vocabulary shaped during the early period of the English invasion. A part of the Jamaican Creole word repertoire was shaped and influenced by the 17th century English, often of Shakespearean origin that has remained hardly unchanged until modern times. Jamaican Creole is one of the major Atlantic lexifier creoles in the Caribbean. In Jamaica the creole is known as Patois (Mufwene 1988; Nero 2000; Bryan 2004). It is the native language there, widely spoken and gaining more national status besides the official, standard English. However, “[…] English is the de facto official language but […] Jamaican Creole, a largely oral, low status vernacular, not highly mutually intelligible with English, is the dominant language for a majority of Jamaicans” (Brown-Blake 2008: 32). The structure of Jamaican Creole is not monolithic; it is rather a conglomerate of intermediate varieties in the different regions. The English language of the British and selected elements of the West African dialects contributed to the creation of linguistic varieties in Jamaica. Most of the English varieties were formed during the slavery period of the sugar plantations. The approximate time period for the intensive changes and formation of these forms was 150 years, counting from the British takeover of the island in 1655 until 1838, when slavery was entirely abolished. Following the establishment of sugar estates by the British and the continuous export of slaves, the English language developed its own local forms and “[i]t was the slaves’ need to communicate with the Europeans and with each other that led to the establishment of the Creole that has survived alongside English and is known on the island today as Patois or the ‘dialect’” (Christie 2003: 1). However, the language of the diaspora, according to Cassidy, is neither unified nor homogeneous: [i]t exists in two main forms, which may be imagined as lying at opposite ends of a scale, with every sort of variation between, but each variant inclining
6 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics in some degree toward the right or the left. At one end is the type of Jamaica Talk that aims towards the London ‘standard’ or educated model, and, in many Jamaicans’ usage, reaches it extremely well […]. At the other end of the scale is the inherited talk of peasant and labourer, largely unaffected by education and its standards. This is what the linguists call ‘creolized’ English, that is, an English learned incompletely in slave days, with a strong infusion of African influences, and continued incompletely in slave days, with a strong infusion of African influences, and continued traditionally in much the same form down to the present. (Cassidy 1961: 2) The “London standard” (standard English) is an official language in Jamaica and […] is still expected in the conduct of government business, in the law courts, the schools, the mass media, in religious worship and in all other contexts where the written language is required. Its use is still associated with the elite, which up to approximately fifty years ago consisted of mainly the white and the near-white members of the population. (Christie 2003: 2) Christie observes that it is acceptable to Jamaicans to use “a few Creole words or phrases in a speech in Parliament, they would be very surprised and probably outraged if the speaker gave the entire speech in Creole” (2003: 2). The language of “peasant and labourer,” as Christie labels the creole, confirms Cassidy’s (1961) view that this variety of Jamaican is […] still associated with the poorest members of the society, who are mostly black, and with rural as contrasted with urban dwellers. Its speakers are seen as exclusively labourers, small farmers, domestic helpers, small craftsmen and others belonging to the same social class as these. (1961: 2) Cassidy’s recurring question regarding Jamaican Talk and elements constituting “Jamaicanisms” resulted in his search for words “which have received a decidedly higher degree of use in Jamaica than elsewhere” (1961: 3). Thus, Cassidy classifies “Jamaicanisms” into five main types: 1) preservations, 2) borrowings, 3) new formations, 4) transferred meanings, and 5) special preferences. Preservations are words which are currently considered poetic or archaic in standard English but are used in Jamaica. These words were learned and used by Jamaican folk during the British domination and have remained almost unchanged since the times of the plantations. They are still in use in Jamaican society. Examples of preservations are as follows: moonshine rather than moonlight; tinnen ‘made or consisting of tin’ (Merriam-Webster); or roug-
7 1. Introduction ing, an English word dated to the year 1795, meaning ‘hold (one’s) road,’ ‘catch (to).’ Cassidy states that these words “[…] were undoubtedly brought by early English settlers and preserved among the common folk” (1961: 4). He adds that, to his surprise, these preserved words in Jamaica could be read only in English literature from the 16th and 17th centuries. Cassidy reports that some of the examples of such words were uttered with true Shakespearean pronunciation (sic!) (see Cassidy 1961: 4). Cassidy’s research took place almost half a century ago, however, numerous archaic terms have survived until today and can still be heard2 on the island, e.g. chain is an old English measurement (22 yards) that is still used in Jamaica nowadays, although hardly ever accurately, nonetheless the term still exists. Instead of in a glass, one may be served a drink in a goblet. These preservations reflect not only Shakespearian language but are also reminders of slave times, e.g. massa ‘master’ or pickney ‘a child,’ and the commonly used African word nyam ‘to devour.’ The second group in Cassidy’s typology comprises borrowings. Examples of words of non-English origin are, e.g., from French – cashew, légume, leggings. Christie writes about a number of borrowings from Spanish, such as gizada (guisada ‘a sweet tart filled with coconut’); the Hindi word juuta ‘a shoe’; or Chinese peaka peow (the name of a gambling game) (2003: 10). New formations constitute the third kind of “Jamaicanisms.” These are divided into three subgroups: alternations, compositions and creations (Cassidy 1961: 5). There can be alternations in pronunciation, e.g. scallion (a vegetable) is skellion in Jamaica and Spanish elm among the common people changed into panchalam. Beheading, in which the initial letter is lost, is another type of alternation, e.g. alone – ’lone, away – ’way, star – ’tar, defence – ’fence. Some words have been constructed due to the process of metathesis, such as cruffy from scruffy. Composition is another form of word creation. It consists in composing new words and phrases out of existing ones, e.g. garden egg, egg-plant, macca-fat, macca yam, tief-tief, fenky-fenky, kas-kas (ibidem). Another mode of word formation is onomatopoeia, or echoing (it can be observed in a number of proverbs), e.g. kap-kap, fee-fee, gimme-me-bit (ibidem). Transferred meaning is, according to Cassidy, “a common type in all new lands, where it is easier to use a familiar word in a new way and to adopt or invent an unfamiliar one” (1961: 6). The example concerns the name of the plant dandelion, which has been transferred to name several other plants. 2 The examples come from Koss (2008) Jamaica. Lonely Planet; 304.
8 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics Special preferences, the fifth type of Jamaicanism, accounts for words which are, according to the author, not “exclusively Jamaican” but are the “preferred term in the island” (Cassidy 1961: 6). These are, e.g. puss, which is used more frequently than cat, or wis, which is more often used than vine. Cassidy also describes all of the combinations with the word macca, which is “[…] a thoroughly Jamaican word” (1961: 7). There are many other distinctive features that constitute the structure of Jamaican talk, and they concern adding or omitting words in a sentence, as “[s]ome words are unexpectedly present, […] where others are unexpectedly missing. New words are invented and slip into general parlance as quickly as others fall from grace, and vowel sounds go sliding off into diphthongs” (Koss  2008: 303). Jamaicans often drop their “h” and say ouse instead of house, they often drop the “th” sound as well and say t’ree for three, “the” is pronounced as de, “them” as dem, and the letter “w” is sometimes missing, hence they say ooman for “woman,” but they also add letters to words, e.g. hemphasize. The letters are misplaced in words, so “spaghetti” changes into pasghetti, or “ask” turns into aks. In the Patois variety, the word “up” is used to intensify meaning (Koss  2008: 303). The structure of the vocabulary reflects the influence and changes that were caused by Spanish and later English colonization. The reason why some of the vocabulary remained unchanged was due to the fact that the variety of English that was brought to the island stopped developing and evolved into a creole, thus the words and even their pronunciation maintained their forms as they had been used in the 17th century. 1.3. JAMAICA BEFORE THE ENGLISH INVASION Before the Europeans came to Jamaica it had been inhabited by the Arawak indigenous peoples (or the Tainos) for about seven centuries. Opinions about the Arawak population are not consistent. Robert Howard (1956: 45) suggests 600,000 inhabitants for the year 1500, although Franklin Knight and Margaret Crahan (1979: 7) believe there might have been 20,000. Cassidy indicates the places they were located: “[t]he Arawak family ranged through the western islands of the central American archipelago and occupied much of what is now Venezuela, the Guiana coast, and other parts of as far as the Amazon delta” (1961: 10). They became the first slaves to the Spanish, although heavy exploitation, which lasted 150 years, and epidemics
9 1. Introduction virtually eliminated these indigenous peoples (Kopytoff 1978: 288; Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 7). Barbara Lalla and Jean D’Costa suggest that the contact situation between the Spaniards and the indigenous peoples might have enforced the emergence of some pidgin, but there is no clear evidence for this whatsoever. The Arawak linguistic elements that have remained consist in place names, foodstuffs, natural objects and events, such as savannah, agouti, cassava, batos and goschies (Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 7, 9). The name of the island also comes from the Arawak indigenous peoples’ Xaymaca – “[…] a word supposed to imply an overflowing abundance of rivers” (Sinclair & Fyfe 1886: 25). The name is derived from two indigenous words: Chabaüan ‘water,’ and Makia ‘wood.’ It was supposed to be pronounced Cha-makia in corrupted Spanish (ibidem). Lalla and D’Costa state that “Spanish colonial life in Jamaica might be relevant to the conditions under which Jamaican Creole began to form” (1990: 7). Surely, the need for communication was intensified by the influx of new slaves, as the number of natives was decimated. The first new black slaves imported to the island were creole Iberians (Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 10). Both the 16th and 17th centuries were a time of intensive colonial settlements and trade expeditions which created fertile ground for the emergence of new contact languages. It is assumed (ibidem) that during the time of the Hispanic domination in the 16th century the inhabitants of Jamaica had contacts with Portuguese Christians and Jews, Amerindians and West Africans. However, the list of Afro-Spanish and other cultural traces is very short; it includes place names (Mammee Bay), animals (hicatee) and terms for fruit or vegetables. The island was also inhabited by the Maroons – a group of Africans who refused to submit to Spanish subjugation and escaped from the plantation life into the mountains. Maroon communities developed in many parts of the colonial world by creating, at the beginning, their own separate groups that were distant from the mainstream colonial life. They developed in Jamaica, Colombia, Surinam and in Africa (Arends 1995: 16; see also Broom 1954; Kopytoff 1978). There were two types of Maroon: the Windward Maroons, who formed settlements in the Blue Mountains, and the Leeward Maroons, who were concentrated in the west-central part (Kopytoff 1978: 290). According to Lalla and D’Costa, the Maroons could have been “[…] a likely vehicle for transmitting Arawak and Spanish culture to English colonial Jamaica” (1990: 13). The Maroons secluded themselves from the rest of society and fought for independence and freedom. Living in isolation, the Maroons
10 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics kept their culture far from outside influences and managed to sustain and preserve their language. Settlements of Maroons are to be found not only in Jamaica but also throughout the New World.3 1.4. THE ENGLISH INVASION – THE SOCIOLINGUISTIC SITUATION In 1655, the English attacked the fragile Spanish colony and “[…] settled the valleys and flatlands, cleared them of forests, established large sugar plantations, and by 1680s were importing thousands of African slaves each year to do the work” (Kopytoff 1978: 289). Before the English arrived, the languages spoken in Jamaica were Spanish and Portuguese (Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 14). The Spanish settlements shared their fate with the Arawak, as they were destroyed by the English. Hardly any Hispanic evidence was left after the English took over the island, except for some place, plant and animal names (Cassidy & LePage 1961: xi). The varieties spoken at that time on the island, especially by the townsfolk, were the speech of black and mixed creoles, whereas in the rural areas varieties of Spanish and Taino mixed with African dialects were more likely to be heard (Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 14). Other peoples settling Jamaica came from London and other parts of England, also from Barbados, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Surinam, Bermuda, New England and Virginia; there were also Sephardic Jews from Brazil and Surinam. Among the newcomers from England, Lalla and D’Costa also mention “[…] indentured servants shipping out from Bristol and bringing with them the dialects of Southwest England” (1990: 15). Apart from these, convicts from English prisons, Gypsies and a growing number of Africans landed on Jamaica. The statistics show that of the 12,000 newcomers, after six years only 3,451 remained alive (Lalla & D’Costa 1990: 16). Herbert Klein states that during the period of the English invasion and the end of slavery in 1809, Jamaica transformed from […] a primarily subsistence agrarian economy into one of the world’s largest plantation commercial crop regimes. In that period over 600,000 Africans were transported to the island and Jamaica had become the largest single importer of African slave labourers in all British America. (1978: 25) Moreover, by the year 1720 Jamaica had become the dominant West Indian sugar production center and “[b]y this period it was importing over 3 For details, see Kopytoff (1978: 287–307).
11 1. Introduction 2,000 slaves per annum, a figure which would rise to over 8,000 per annum by the last thirty years of the British slave trade” (ibidem). As Amy Johnson states: [s]lave ships arrived in Jamaica having collected captives from many regions of Africa resulting in a diverse African population on the island. On a single voyage, slaving vessels often touched at multiple ports along the West African coast from present day Senegal to the Western Central region of Congo. (2012: 4) It is highly probable that this period (1660–1700) constituted the time of formation and ultimate stabilization of Jamaican Creole, although there are no written records, as Lalla and D’Costa state: “[n]o seventeenth-century texts have been found to confirm or disprove this hypothesis, however, and regrettably, no descriptions of seventeenth-century Jamaican speech behavior have been uncovered” (1990: 16). What is certain, however, is the fact that among the immigrants, speakers of West African languages and speakers of different dialects from across England prevailed. There were also many other newcomers speaking various dialects and languages, however, none had such an immense impact as these two. Throughout the many years of contact between West African slaves and the British overseers, a new language that would be intelligible to both parties came into being.
2. OVERALL FRAMEWORK OF CONTACT PHENOMENA Language change takes place due to contact. For a change to be fixed and lasting, a speaker’s individual innovation must be accepted and adopted by other speakers of the speech community.4 Sarah G. Thomason makes a division between changes that spread throughout a speech community and the process of spread, which is “a function of contact between speakers” (2003: 687). Any change in language requires an impulse from a group of people in a given area which gradually evolves and becomes an inherent part of that speech community’s language. Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes see language change initiated by the speakers as follows: [l]anguage change is typically initiated by a group of speakers in a particular locale at a given point in time, spreading from that locus outward in successive stages that reflect an apparent time depth in the spatial dispersion of forms. (Wolfram & Schilling-Estes 2003: 713) Before proceeding to the description of pidgins, creoles and the processes they undergo, it is necessary to place the contact languages in a larger domain of general contact phenomena. Studies on the contact phenomenon have been explored from many perspectives, e.g. anthropological and ethnographical, where cultural and linguistic data were collected in the form of publications containing the songs, stories or legends of a given community (e.g. Beckwith 1930; Tanna 1984). Before 1960, contact linguistics was rather an off-road field of study which only gained full-fledged status after the conference at the University in Mona (Jamaica) took place in 1960. Most of the pioneer basic research comes from the 1960s and 1970s. Authors such as Holmes and Sebba (1997) also largely contributed to building the foundations of contact linguistics studies. The research studies that followed focused on presenting both pidgin and creole grammar. One of the contemporary authors investigating the contact phenomenon has been Thomason (2008), who has dealt with how to distinguish between different types of contact languages and how to tell whether a language is a pidgin or already a creole 4 See Bloomfield (1933: 42–57).
13 2. Overall framework of contact phenomena or perhaps a semicreole? Her proposition consists of several criteria for classifying contact languages or, as she calls them, “speech forms arising out of language contact” (Thomason 1997b: 70). She argues that “a typology of contact languages is best constructed within an overall framework that is based on aspects of the histories of the various contact languages” (1997: 71). A discussion on the typology of pidgins and creoles commences with standard assumptions about the nature of language change and the genetic relationships among languages: […] all living languages change through time; internally-motivated language change is gradual (i.e. a language is passed on from one generation to the next with only minor changes in a two-generation period); linguistic changes are not predictable, so that partially or entirely separated dialects of the same language will inevitably undergo different changes; and language split comes about when two (or more) dialects of the same language accumulate so many different changes that they become separate languages. (Thomason 1997b: 73–74) In line with Thomason’s statement, there are only three major types of contact languages, i.e. pidgins, creoles and bilingual mixed languages (1997b: 74). Peter Bakker, on the other hand, makes a division of contact languages into pidgins, creoles and pidgincreoles (2008: 130). As has been demonstrated, there are structural similarities among all pidgins and creoles which can be accounted for only in terms of languages in contact (DeCamp 1971a: 30). However, not all products of language contact can be “[…] unambiguously classified into one type or another” (Thomason 1997b: 75). It is not always obvious where to draw the line between relatively newly emerged contact languages. This is due to the fact that in studying pidgins and creoles “we are dealing with the results of complicated historical processes” (ibidem). When contact among different groups of people is quite limited and no group has the need to learn any of the other groups’ languages, the prototypical pidgin that arises from this limited situation contact is by definition not the native language of any speech community. Its lexical and structural resources are limited. The new language is, as Thomason (1997b: 78) states, a compromise, and all hard-to-learn features such as inflectional morphology and grammar are eliminated or reduced to a level that makes communication simpler. In her description of contact languages, it is visible how one variety transforms into another and that there are different stages of the formation of one variety:
14 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics [t]he prototypical creole shares important social and linguistic features with prototypical pidgins. Like pidgins, prototypical creoles develop in a contact situation involving more than two groups of speakers; like pidgins, creoles develop when no group has the need, the desire, and/or the opportunity to learn any of the other groups’ languages. Creoles too, typically draw their lexicon primarily from one language whose speakers are in some sense dominant, and the grammars of creole languages may be accounted for in large parts as cross-language compromises among the grammars of their creators’ native languages. (Thomason 1997b: 78) An early creole shares the majority of features with its preceding pidgin, however there are some other significant differences. The differences lie in the functions that both of these languages share, i.e. “a prototypical creole is the main language of a speech community and is learned as a native language, while a prototypical pidgin […] serves limited communicative functions and is learned only as a second (third, or nth) language” (Thomason 1997b: 79). As a result of this difference, prototypical creoles have all the linguistic resources that an ordinary non-pidgin language has (ibidem). The most often marked distinction between pidgins and creoles is that pidgins do not have native speakers, whereas for creoles there is a formed group of people whose children speak a creole as their first language. Another type of language arising from contact are bilingual mixed languages. These differ from pidgins and creoles “[…] in that they evolve or are created, in two-language contact situations” and “[…] unlike pidgin/creole genesis situations, those in which bilingual mixtures arise involve widespread bilingualism on the part of at least one of the two speaker groups” (Thomason 1997b: 80). In bilingual mixed languages, only two speaker groups (with one native language each) are involved in its genesis: at least one speaker group is bilingual to a significant degree in the other group’s language; and in the resulting mixture the linguistic material is easily separated according to the language of origin. (Thomason 1997b: 80) The structural characteristic of most creole languages is the notion of simplicity; with bilingual mixed languages there is no simplification whatsoever. Examples of mixed languages are Copper Island Aleut, Mbugu, Media Lengua and Michif.5 5 For a discussion of this issue, see Sebba (1997: xii).
15 2. Overall framework of contact phenomena 2.1. ON THE GENERAL CAUSES OF LANGUAGE CHANGE It has been established that there are well over 6,000 languages spoken throughout the world today. Currently, the number of languages varies between 3,000 and 10,000 (Comrie  2003: 19), however a debate on the exact number is still in progress. Tasaku Tsunoda notices that “[t]he vast majority of languages are minority peoples’ languages, rather than so called major languages, such as English” (2005: 1). A frightening fact is that the number of languages is rapidly diminishing. Most languages are still under threat of extinction within the next two generations of their native speakers. The reasons for their disappearance are mostly economic, but the major cause is the fact that languages are not being passed down from one generation to another. Christopher Moseley (2007: vii–xvi) believes that the economic factors which lead to language death are important but not uniform. It is certain that gradual urbanization, especially if rapid economic changes take place over one or two generations, causes continuous language decline, as members of poor communities emigrate to cities in search of work, abandoning their villages and their past lifestyles. Concern over rapidly disappearing languages of the world has appeared in the last decade, and awareness of rapid language decline has led to the creation of various initiatives in order to increase the global knowledge of endangered languages, e.g. the publication of the UNESCO Red Book,6 which first appeared in 1995, listing the endangered languages. In 1995 the University of Tokyo set up a Clearing House for endangered languages. The scientists put emphasis on recording newly discovered instances of languages rather than on preserving them. Documenting them is in some cases an extremely difficult process. Professor Jim Fox from Stanford University has regularly traveled for the last fifteen years to make records of one of the disappearing Mayan languages (Aymara, in the south of the Yucatan Peninsula), of which there are only two speakers left. The research requires an exhausting daily “interrogation” in harsh conditions, and he is only trying to document one of the six thousand endangered languages. It is interesting that, statistically, 96% of the world’s languages are spoken by 4% of its population (Crystal 2000: 14). Moseley, in his encyclopedia published in 2007, lists more than 6000 endangered languages. The size of the book clearly reflects how large the scale of possible language deaths is. 6 Moseley, Christopher (ed.) (2010) Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas
16 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics There are several classifications of the condition of languages (see for instance Krauss 2008). Stephen Wurm (2001, cited in Moseley 2007: xi) created a five-grade scale which presents the level of endangerment: Po t e n t i a l l y e n d a n g e r e d , which usually implies the lack of prestige in the home country, economic deprivation, pressure from larger languages in the public sphere and social fragmentation in the private, to the extent that the language is not being systematically passed on in the education system, e.g. Achuar-Shiwiar in Peru (2,800 or 3,000 speakers; Moseley 2007: 104); Akawaio (or Kapón) in Guyana (5,000 speakers; Moseley 2007: 105); Sherpa in Nepal (up to 50,000 speakers; Moseley 2007: 342); Garuwahi in Papua New Guinea (in 1972 there were 225 speakers; Moseley 2007: 491); Guarani Correntino in Argentina (1000,000–1,000,000 speakers; Moseley 2007: 130). E n d a n g e r e d , when the youngest fluent speakers tend to be young adults and there is a disjunction in passing down the language to children, especially at school but even in the home environment, e.g. Guayabero in Colombia (1,060 speakers; Moseley 2007: 131); Hoti in Venezuela (640 speakers; Moseley 2007: 131); Harro on Gidiccho Island in Lake Abaya, Ethiopia (150 speakers; Moseley 2007: 615); Maká in Paraguay (985 speakers; Moseley 2007: 146); Wayana in Surinam (500 speakers; Moseley 2007: 181). S e r i o u s l y / s e v e r e l y e n d a n g e r e d , with the youngest fluent speakers living among the older generation aged fifty and over, thus implying a loss of prestige and social value over a generation earlier, e.g. Guarani-Nandeva in Paraguay (110 speakers; Moseley 2007: 130); Bocotá in Panama (2,500 speakers; Moseley 2007: 197); Ayapanec in Mexico (Moseley 2007: 197), Akuntsun in Brazil (seven monolingual speakers), Arabela in Peru (55–100 speakers out of an ethnic group of 300; Moseley 2007: 107), Ese Ejja in Peru (225 speakers; Moseley 2007: 126). Mo r i b u n d , with only a tiny proportion of the ethnic group speaking the language, mostly those very aged, e.g. Xetá in Brazil (it is not clear whether there are any speakers left; Moseley 2007: 183); Coeur d’ Alene, which is an Interior Salish language spoken on the Idaho Reservation (there are only four surviving first-language speakers ranging in age from their mid-seventies to 101; Moseley 2007: 40); Bahing in Nepal (only a few elderly speakers remain; Moseley, 2007: 322); Akuiyo in Surinam (ten elderly speakers; Moseley 2007: 105). E x t i n c t , where there are no speakers remaining. This last category means that a language whose existence is remembered by living people in
17 2. Overall framework of contact phenomena the community merits inclusion because there is at least the faint or theoretical possibility of its revival, e.g. Timor Creole Portuguese used to be spoken around Dili and other centers of Timor until a few decades ago (Moseley 2007: 451). The threatened languages in Taiwan are mostly moribund (Moseley, 2007: 460), e.g. Yuwaaliyaay in Australia, in 1985 three speakers were reported (Moseley 2007: 556); Taap in Papua New Guinea (the surviving speakers have lost interest in their language) (Moseley 2007: 539); Jorá in Bolivia (in 1955 only five Jora speakers were left, today the language is probably extinct; Moseley 2007: 134). There have been many other classifications defining the stages of how safe languages are, e.g. Krauss (1992: 4) recognizes languages as viable, viable but small, endangered, nearly extinct and extinct, and Bauman (1980) speaks of flourishing, enduring, declining, obsolescent and extinct languages. The criteria defining the condition of these languages are quite similar, as “[e]ndangered languages come to be used progressively less and less throughout the community, with some of the functions they originally performed either dying out or gradually being supplanted by other languages” (Crystal 2000: 21). Taking into account the different stages a language may undergo, it can be observed that language is a dynamic phenomenon that is prone to multiple changes, especially under unfavorable circumstances. It can be compared to a living organism, i.e. it is born (out of the need of communication), it gradually evolves (as can be seen based on examples of the stages of pidgin development), it changes (in most cases through contact with other languages) and, eventually at some point when there are no speakers left, it dies. Thomason describes several mechanisms of language change that are influenced by contact. In her opinion, “[…] both linguistic and social factors must be considered in any full account of contact-induced change, regardless of whether the contact is between dialects or separate languages” (2001: 129). However, access to social information on how a given language is influenced by changes is limited, therefore, Thomason focuses only on the linguistic results of contact between two or more languages, although she highlights that “[t]hese may well not be the only mechanisms that exist” (ibidem). C o d e S w i t c h i n g (sometimes called code mixing) – occurs when speakers use material from two (or more) languages during the same conversation (Thomason 2001: 132). It takes place “[…] where contact with other languages is routine and socially pervasive” (Crystal  2003: 164). The influence of code switching on a language might be dramatic because, if language users want to communicate, they have to “[…] rely simultaneously
18 Jamaican Creole Proverbs from the Perspective of Contact Linguistics on two or more languages to communicate with each other” (Crystal  2003: 164). Many loanwords enter a language via code switching. In countries like Jamaica, where there are officially two languages (standard British English and Jamaican Creole) and apart from these a whole spectrum of different lects, Jamaican language users switch across the continuum. Some politicians in Jamaica in their official public speeches switch from the standard English that is demanded of them in such situations to the mesolectal or even basilectal forms. Crystal ( 2003: 57) presents an example of a leaflet issued by Hongkong Bank for Filipino workers in Hong Kong. The leaflet was partially written in English and partially in Tagalog (the Philippine language). The extract from the leaflet was as follows: Mag-deposito ng pera mula sa ibang HonkkongBank account, at any Hongkongbank ATM, using your Cash Card. Mag-transfer ng regular amount bawa’t buwan (by Standing Instruction) galang sa inyong Current o Savings Account, whether the account is with Hongkong Bank or not. (Crystal  2003: 57) The language in which the text was written is Taglish (a compound of Tagalog and English). There are also other examples of mixed varieties where English constitutes one of the two ‘ingredients,’ e.g. Franglais, Tex-Mex (a Spanish hybrid in South Texas), Chinglish, Japlish, Singlish, Spanglish, Denglish and Angleutsch (for further discussion, see Crystal  2003). C o d e A l t e r n a t i o n – in this type of contact-induced change “[…] bilinguals use their two languages in different sets of environment. A typical case is the use of one language at work and the other language at home” (Bisang 2006: 90). In bilingual speech communities, speakers are regularly engaged in code switching. The two phenomena seem similar, however, the probable difference, as there is too little evidence, between code switching and code alternation is that “[…] borrowing through code alternation focuses on structural rather than lexical interference, whereas lexical borrowing is the most prominent direct result of code-switching” (Thomason 2003: 697, cf. Huttar 2008: 444). Thomason provides an example of a native speaker of Italian who spent 12 years in the United States speaking English only with Americans and Italian only with Italians. The use of the two languages in the different sets of environments constituted the discussed code alternation. After returning to Italy she was told she was “speaking Italian decently for an American” (1997: 196) Her phonology was influenced by English in terms of intonation patterns, alveolar stops, and so on. Moreover, noticeable changesaeacademicpublishing.com