From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jamaican English, also known as Patois, is an English based creole language used primarily on the island of Jamaica. Significant Jamaican English speaking communities also exist among Jamaican expatriates in Miami, New York City, and London. Jamaican English exists mostly as a spoken language. Although standard British English is used for most writing in Jamaica, Jamaican English has been gaining ground as a literary language for almost a hundred years. Claude McKay published his book of patois poems Songs of Jamaica in 1912.
Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary are significantly different from most other English dialects, to the point where a native speaker of a non-Caribbean English dialect can only understand a heavily accented Jamaican English speaker if they talk slowly and forego the use of the numerous idioms that are common in Jamaican English.
Interest in Jamaican English outside of Jamaica was heightened by the proliferation of Rastafarianism and reggae and ska music throughout the world beginning in the 1960s.