3. Phonology of Jamaican English
In the present section I will discuss some peculiar features of both varieties of Jamaican English in order to present a comprehensive phonological situation on Jamaica.
As it was already noted, we can speak of two varieties that prevail on Jamaican territory: Jamaican Creole (JamC) or “Patwa” and Jamaican English (JamE). JamC phonology is an eclectic image of West African language that incorporated phonological shape of words coming from 17th century British English. According to Devonish and Harry, JamE has main characteristics of standard varieties of English such as British English, USA and Canada. However, it contains phonological features that can be described as peculiarly Jamaican. Apart from that,…show more content… In general, it can be classified as a multilingual country with English as the main language and other languages such as Bhojpuri, French Creole and Spanish being used by some individuals to a certain degree.
Multilingualism is traced back to the colonial history of not only Former British Empire but also some other former imperial countries such as Spain and France. The first who conquered Trinidad and Tobago were Spanish forces in 1498. It brought an end to such indigenous tribes like Amehridians, Caribs and Arawaks. Although Spanish had been ruling Trinidad for almost three centuries, the language did not become a language of dominance on the islands’ population.
In 1797 Trinidad was moved under British rule; however, the main language of Trinidad population of that time was French and French Creole. It had become “a medium of thought” of the population from elite to masses. In last years of Spanish rule, French Creole speakers were not under such pressure, so it helped them to retain their culture and language. After British won power, they questioned the dominance of French at all levels of social life. However, only after twenty-six year, in 1823 of British rule, English became the official language of…show more content… STE is a variety used mostly by an educated population of the islands; moreover, it is close to Standard British English. Implementing the continuum theory to the language situation in Trinidad and Tobago, STE is an acrolect, one the one hand, TC is a mesolect variety and TbC can be either a mesolect or a basilect. Figure 3 demonstrates an approximate linguistic situation in both parts of the republic. The graph shows the tendency of the varieties to move towards mesolectal