Do Jamaicans have a language
The Jamaican language - more than normal English
Pretty much everyone in Jamaica speaks English - albeit a very different English than most people are used to in class. The language in Jamaica is not exactly English, but the Patois language, which has its roots in the English language. The Creole language is also widespread on other Caribbean islands as well as the Costa Ria and the USA. If two Jamaicans speak to each other, you can hardly understand anything. Most of them are easy to understand when talking to tourists. Still, there are some interesting things to know about Jamaican English. The language is grammatically kept quite simple, so that sometimes no distinction is made between “we” and “us”. In addition, some expressions are completely different than in English and cannot be understood at all without prior knowledge.
Many syllables are left out or spoken very choppy. In addition, the emphasis on individual letters or syllables differs significantly from both British and American English. This is particularly noticeable with the letter “e”. The “e” is not pronounced as “i”, as is the case in English, but tends to be pronounced like the “e” in German.
Some sentences and expressions are completely different than in English and therefore cannot be understood at all by laypeople. Here are some examples:
“I am going” ⇒ “Mi a go”
"I think they see us" ⇒ "Mi tink dem see we"
“I don’t go” ⇒ “Mi nuh go”
If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, you should at least roughly deal with the language beforehand. It is not necessary to learn all of the language. It is much more important to understand some basic rules and characteristics of the language.
You can find more information on Wikipedia, among other places.
Pronunciation tips can be found here.
What is the best way to learn the language?
There are helpful tricks to learn and understand the language relatively quickly. For example, it helps to listen to Jamaican songs while having the lyrics in front of you. It also works with series and films where subtitles can be activated. In this way you can assign what has been said to the text and understand relatively quickly which syllables and letters are left out or emphasized differently.
A somewhat more complex, but even more effective method is to record a conversation between Jamaicans. Of course you should ask for permission beforehand. You can then translate the recorded conversation together with a Jamaican or someone who understands the language just as well - almost like at school, only a little more exciting and entertaining.
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