Patois tells it like it isFriday, August 27, 2021
An impenetrable and defiant wall has been erected, largely by the older generation, against the Jamaican creole or patois that is as rigid as the rock of Gibraltar.
But patois has been unfairly berated by 'high-end' Jamaicans over time, who use it generously while freely abusing it as the slave of communication which gets no recognition.
The logic sometimes mounted against the formalisation of the Jamaican Creole is its deficiency as a language of commerce or tool of serious instruction. Yet, if there is a deficit or language gap between the information and the vessel bearing it, such lapses are not necessarily a reflection on the mode of communication. Further, if the usefulness of a language is to be judged solely by its instructional or business utility, maybe great works of art should likewise fall to low price and profit for being just items of the senses.
Life is not just work and no play, and far be it from me to suggest that patois is a dialect of entertainment, for in many ways it has put the English language to shame in its sharp reflection of reality, whereas English often limps behind in similies — flat, barren, and predictable.
So true to life is patois that people will often go from serene to fury depending on the Jamaican word being used to describe them — so vibrant and dynamic is the language with its straightforward, unvarnished openness.
Any deficiency identified is not to be blamed on patois for foreigners are eager to learn it as are many who are fascinated with several areas of the Jamaican culture.
Mount Vernon, New York