Jumieka Langwij

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Piipl widoutn nalij a dem paas ischri, harijin ah kolcha kom iin laka chrii widoutn ruut.
~ Maakos Giaavi, 1887-1940 ~
NYUU!
UORAL PRAKTIS fiicha
NEW! Oral Practice feature
GAID TU PRONONGXIESHAN & PELIN
Guide to Pronunciation & Spelling

Cover of Laugh With Louise
Tuu buk bai Luiiz Benit
Two books by Louise Bennett
Cover of Jamaica Labrish

 

Frederic Cassidy
Frejrik Kiasidi
Frederic Cassidy

 

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Jumiekan Langwij Yuunit
Dipaatment a Langwij, Lingguistik & Filasafi
Yuniversiti a di Wes Indiz

JAMAICAN LANGUAGE UNIT
Department of Language, Linguistics & Philosophy
University of the West Indies

Jumiekan Langwij Kompini
fi promuot braadkyaas ina Jumiekan Langwij

JAMAICAN LANGUAGE COMPANY
promoting broadcasting in the Jamaican language

Society for Caribbean Linguistics logo
Sasayati fi Kiaribiyan Lingguistik

Society for Caribbean Linguistics

Langwij Varayati
Yuniversiti a Nyuu hIngglant

Language Varieties
University of New England

UsingEnglish.com
Ingglish Langwij Laanin Anlain

English Language Learning Online
ESL / EFL / TESL / TEFL / TESOL / ESOL

Updated

hOpdiet

 

 

 

 

AATAGRAFI
Orthography

Tel nou, Jumieka Taak a onggl wah huoral langwij, paas dong an tu an, chuu wod-a-mout. Di fyuu piipl we chrai fi raiti raiti aal difrahn kain a wie tel ebribadi dis kangkluud se i aad fi rait ah dis no bada widi. So wi no gat no moch badi a lichicha fi luk pan muo dah fi Klaad Makie ah Luiiz Benit puoyim ah fyuu Nansi tuori. Iibn dem rait out ina waah saat a hIngglish we no du jostis tu di soun ah powa a di langwij.

Fonetik sistim

Tuu lingguis niem Kiasidi ah LiPiej dem divelop wah sistim fi rait out di piich fi soun laik ou itaak. A disaya sistim, di Kiasidi-Lipiej sistim, wid likl madifikieshan we yuuz pah disya sait. Di mien dipaacha a di yuus a h fi maak niezalaiz vowil ina wod laik ah, deh, hih.

hEmfasaiz yu hiech dem,
yu hignarant haas.

Waneda hinovieshan wi mek a fi chrai riprizent di hinishal haspiriet, ar h soun we kom bifuo muos wod we taat wid vowil. Dis shuo az luo kies aitalik h.* Laik nof Wes Afrikan langwij, tuu vowil no fi kom tigeda, so ef di laas wod hen ina vowil yu afi put h bifuo di nex wan. Sens Jumiekan a wah huoral langwij we wi a-chrai tandadaiz, deni spel sens fi ritien di huoral kualitidem az moch az pasobl. Chuu dis, wi uop fi hextablish di haatagrafi fi rikaad ah prizaab di langwij fi pasteriti bifuo heni muo a hit laas.

Fi meki libit iizia fi riid, wen di singl leta i miinin 'it' okor, wi shubi pan di rilietid wod laka priifix ar sofix. Ef i a di sobjik igo bifuo di voerb, ef a habjik igo baka di voerb. Egzampl de ina deh tuu sentans. Wi fain se muos piipl a-kom frah hIngglish ah hout fi riid i az 'I', fos posn singgiula.

Nof wie fi se di siem ting

Jumieka piipl no taak wan wie bot sebral, frah di Kwiin Ingglish, ar wa wi kaal piiki-puoki, tu braad Patwa. Som tingz kiah se aal faib difrah wie, meki aal di muo aad fi rait dong. So no rait wie no de fi se notn; idipen pah di piika hih bakgrong, braatopsi ah hedikieshan, ah di hokiejan, ou hih se wa. Askaadn tu di tiori a Daiglasia, wen tuu langwij bokup, wan get ai stietos ah rait dong ahn yuuz faamal, wails di hada wan chat muo, no rait dong, ahn ikansida luo. Ingglish a di ai wan deh kaal di hakrolek wails Jumiekan uda bi di bazilek. Di tuu langwij sohtaim kriskraas ah mixop fi gi wah hinbitwiin taakin deh kaal miizolek. Egzampl a di spekchrom a hexpreshan lis out ina kalom dong biluo.

hUsh wan a yu?

Ef yu taak Jumiekan, yu kiah chek we paat pah di kantinyuom yu jrap ina bi ou yu kaal soertn wod. Muos a yu wi taak miizolek, di honggl piipl we a kot bazilek uda muosli di huola wan dem a konchri, har els deh lef konchri lang taim ah de a hIngglant, Panamaa, Kyuuba ar dem plies de wepaat Jumiekandem maigriet. Iuda foni ef iton out se a farin prizaab Jumiekan3.

*Dis a riisant inovieshan so iwi tek likl taim bifuo wi kiah hopdiet aal a di piej dem. Si wid wi.

Until now, Jamaican has been an oral language passed on by word-of-mouth. The few who tried to write it used a variety of spellings, making it difficult to standardize, and therefore discouraging further writing and reading. There is no body of literature beyond Claude McKay's and Louise Bennett's poems and a few Anancy stories. Even those are written in near-English, which do not do justice to the sound and power of the language.

Phonetic system

Two linguists named Cassidy and LePage have developed an orthography, that reproduces as closely as possible the sound of Jamaica Talk. It is the Cassidy-LePage system, with some modification, that is used in this site. The main departure is the use of hn to mark nasalized vowels in words like ahn, dehn, hihn.

hEmphasize your haitches,
you hignorant hass.

Another innovation we have made is to represent the initial aspirate, or h sound which comes before most words that begin with vowels. This is shown as a lower case italic h.* As in many West African languages, two vowels should not come together, so if the preceding word ends in a vowel you have to put h before the next one. Since Jamaican is an oral language which we are attempting to standardize, then it makes sense to retain the oral qualities as closely as possible. By this means, it is hoped to establish an orthography to record and preserve the language for posterity before any more of it is lost.

To make it a bit easier to read, when the single letter i meaning it occurs, we attach it to its related word as a prefix or suffix. Two examples are in that sentence (See Jamaican text). We have found that most people come to this from English and tend to read i as I, first person singular.

Many ways of speaking

Jamaicans have several modes of speaking, from the Queen's English, referred to as "speaky-spoky," to broad patois. Some things are pronounced in up to five different ways, making it all the more difficult to establish an othography. There is no one correct pronunciaton; it depends on the speaker's background, upbringing and education, and the occasion how s/he says what. According to the theory of Diglossia, when two languages interact, one is given high status, written and used formally, while the other may be spoken more, not written and considered low. English would be the acrolect while Jamaican would be the basilect. The two languages sometimes criss-cross and blend to give an in-between speech known as the mesolect. Examples of the spectrum of expression is laid out below.

How do you speak?

If you speak Jamaican, you can check where on the continuum you fall by how you pronounce certain words. Most of you will speak the mesolect, the only people speaking the basilect being mostly older ones in the rural areas, or those who have left the country a long time ago and now live in England, Panama, Cuba or places where Jamaicans migrated. It would be ironic if it turned out that Jamaican3 was preserved abroad.

*Since this is a recent innovation, it will be some time before we get to update all the pages. Pardon the delay.

OU FI RIID AH RAIT JUMIEKAN
bai Yuubert Devanish
Profesa, Jumiekan Langwij Yuunit, Dipaatment a Langwij, Lingguistik ahn Filasafi, Yuniversiti a di Wes Indiz
ina The Gleaner, 2003/11/23

HOW TO READ AND WRITE JAMAICAN
by Hubert Devonish
Professor, Jamaican Language Unit, University of the West Indies

JAMAICAN WRITTEN THE ENGLISH WAY

We have, of course, all seen Jamaican represented in writing, in the poems of Miss Lou, the dialogue in newspaper cartoons, on posters and in slogans on tee- shirts. Nearly always, however, the language is spelt as if it were a form of English. When we see Jamaican written in this way, we often hesitate a short while, sometimes trying out a couple of pronunciations in our head, before we recognise the Jamaican word intended by the spelling used.

JAMAICAN WRITTEN THE JAMAICAN WAY

Frederic Cassidy, a Jamaican linguist, developed in 1961 a method of presenting the Jamaican language in writing. It is a method that represents the sounds of the language as faithfully as possible, without relying on the spelling conventions of English.

It is an approach to spelling Jamaican that treats it as a language in its own right rather than as a form of English.

His system has no silent letters anhd each letter or letter combination is always pronounced the same way. The system is, therefore, easy to learn.

However, it can be confusing to someone accustomed to reading English and who thinks that Jamaican is a form of English. Because Jamaican is a language in its own right and not just a form of English, a word that is pronounced the same in these two languages is often written differently.

So, even though the Jamaican and English words for "bite" are pronounced the same way, it is written as "bite" in English and as "bait" in the Cassidy system for Jamaican. This is confusing because this is the same spelling as the English word "bait".

However, since Jamaican is not English, the sounds which the letters carry in the Cassidy system for Jamaican are different from those which they carry in English.

The equivalent Jamaican Language word for the English "bait" is, in the Cassidy system, "biet". Confused? Keep reading and everything will soon become clear.

The system presented below, which we will call "spelling Jamaican the Jamaican Way", is one based on that developed by Frederic Cassidy with some modifications.

SPELLING THE JAMAICAN WAY

Spelling the Vowels
There are five short vowels

Single Vowel Jamaican Word English Translation
a ban band
e bel bell
i sik sick
o kot cut
u kuk cook
KANTINYUOM A JUMIEKA PIICH
diraiv frah hIngglish

Continuum of Jamaican speech derived from English
Akrolek
Acrolect
Miizolek
Mesolect
Bazilek
Basilect
Ingglish Jumieka hIngglish Jumiekan1 Jumiekan2 Jumiekan3
almostaulmosaalmosaalmuos liklmuos
angeleenjel ienjel
anotheranodaanedaanieda wanieda
appleapl hapl
askaaskaaxax hax
AugustAugostAugosAagos hAagos
becausebikawzbikaazbikaazn kaa
blossomblasomblasam blazam
borrowborobarobara baara
bottlebotlbokl bakl
boyboibwoi bwai
breakbreekbriek brok
brotherbrothabroda breda
canoekanuukianuukianu kunu
catchkachkiach kech
churchchoerch choch
clothklawt klaat
coconutkokonotkokonatkuokonat kuoknat
coffeekofikafi kaafi
coldkolkuol kaul
cornerkawnoerkawna kaana
cornmealkawnmiilkaanmiil kaamii
decentdiisentdiisant diistant
eyeai yai
familyfamlifambli faambli
fatherfaathafaadapupa pa
favourfayvofayvafieva fieba
februaryfebruerifebyueri febiweri
for itfar itfar ifiit fa
go away!go we!gu we! gwe!
herhar im
hersoerzarzfiar fiim
hinderhindainda enda
hisiz fiim
how much?homoch?omoch?umoch? umuch?
it's notit don'ti duohn i no
JamaicaJameekaJamiekaJomieka Jumieka
learnloern laan
listenlisn yeri
Lord!Lawd!Lard! Laad!
Lordy!Lawks! Laax!
measuremezhameja mieja
messagemesejmesij mechiz
mothermodamadamuma ma
meagremiigamawga maaga
middlemidl migl
napeneepniep nek-bak
oldoluolhuol haul
onlyonliuonli onggl
orderordaawdahawda haada
palmhand-middlean-midlan-migl ang-migl
real/reallyreel/reeli riil/riili
Seville orangeSivil orinjSivl orinjSivl arinj Sibl arinj
shoveshovshob shub
slipperysliperislipri sipl
solefoot-bottomfut-batom fut-batam
solelypiorpierbier bie
somebodysombodisombadisumadi smadi
somethingsomtingsontingsinting sitn
spoilspwoilspwail pwail
stopstap tap
thatdatda daa
thethi di
themdem
theydeedie dehn
tomatotomeetotumeetotumieto tumatis
toothtuuthtuut tiit
what?wat?wa?we? wara?
which?wich?wish? hush?
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Di wol fos bailinggual ahn muos kampriensiv Jumiekan/Ingglish websait
The world's first bilingual and most comprehensive Jamaican/English website

Bakgrong himij adap frahn / Background image adapted from
Adolphe Duperly, Cornwall Street, Falmouth, dagerotaip/daguerrotype

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