Hi Everyone! I wanted to make a post about Jamaica since I am so fascinated by the culture, African influence, music, and especially the Jamaican dialects. I am sure you are very familiar with Jamaican Patois because of the beautiful influence of reggae music! Please take an inside look at multimedia that will teach you a lot of what you probably didn't know about the beloved country.
According to the 2001 census, the majority of Jamaica's population is of African descent (referring to those who have origins mainly in Africa). The most common ethnic groups among all Africans taken to Jamaica were the Akan (known as the "Coromantee" and the Igbo. Multiracial Jamaicans form the second largest racial group many of whom also have some Irish ancestry although most mixed-race people on the island self-report simply as "Jamaican". Jamaicans of Indian and Chinese ancestry, form the next largest racial groups after multiracial Jamaicans. Lebanese, Syrian, English, Scottish, Irish, and German Jamaicans make up a smaller racial minority but are still very influential both socially and economically. In recent years, immigration has increased, coming mainly from China, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, and other Latin American countries; 20,000 Latin Americans currently reside in Jamaica. About 7,000 Americans also reside in Jamaica, as well as many first generation American, British and Canadian of Jamaican descendant.
I put together some videos that open up a new window into the heart of Jamaica. I hope you enjoy it...
In Bob Marleys infamous Trench Town, we meet the kids who risk their lives every day to get to school. The constant turf wars, battle for control by the local dons and the fact that police are out-gunned, make this a real life tragedy of Hollywood proportions. Through the childrens outlooks, aspirations and fears, we enter an otherwise no-go area.
Every morning as I rise, I hear the gunshots firing says Leroy. His school is on the borderline between the two warring factions of Trench Town. They just fire shots indiscriminately, these guys are killing for fun he tells us as we follow his walk to school. Brightly coloured shacks that look ready to collapse house over 25 000, army tanks and car bombs litter the dusty streets and Bob Marleys face smiles out from a billboard, pock-marked with bullet holes.
Were living in a warzone says Sergeant Robert Taylor yet we dont have the tools to overpower the gangs. It is well known that politicians armed the local dons in the 60s in return for votes- the two main political parties, the JLP and the PNP, have been at loggerheads ever since. Politicians had an interest in having people fight each other for scarce benefits explains Blakka, who left Trench town when his house was burnt down- theres no jobs, theres no money, Ill kill to maintain that access to the little there is.
Having grown up in this turmoil, the youths are now the ones with the guns in their hands. The age range for the most dangerous gangs is 14-25 explains Sergeant Taylor, these kids have grown up with no hopes and nothing to live for. Many had to leave school because of the shootings and were drawn into the only other means of survival. Those kids searching for food, searching for someone to take an interest in them are the ones who end up pointing a gun at you says Delroy, a teacher.
Yet theres hope amidst this almost impossible educational environment. I want to study law says one student I want to publish my novel says another, I want to be a flight attendant says Shanice as she wipes away her tears. A powerful glimpse into the reality of life in Trench Town, through the eyes of the children who are gearing to change it all.
This video documents the disappearing languages of the Eastern Maroons of Moore Town, Jamaica. The languages are (i) Kromanti, a language variety related to the Akan language cluster of West Africa, and (ii) Uol Taim Patwa or 'Maroon Spirit Language', a very archaic form of English-lexicon Creole, similar in many ways to the Creole languages of Suriname. The language is presented through Mr Isaac Bernard, one the last culture bearers of the community, with a good command of these languages. The video is part of the Caribbean Indigenous and Endangered Languages website, which is co-sponsored by the Jamaican Language Unit/Unit for Caribbean Language Research, University of the West Indies, Mona, and UNESCO. Languages in Jamaica The official language of Jamaica is English. Jamaicans primarily speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois, which has become known widely through the spread of Reggae music. Jamaican Patois was formed from a base of mainly English words with elements of re-formed grammar, together with a little vocabulary from African languages and Native American words. Some archaic features are reminiscent of Irish English.