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Picture of Jamaican Speech Forms in Ethiopia

Jamaican Speech Forms in Ethiopia

The Emergence of a New Linguistic Scenario in Shashamane

Author(s): Renato Tomei
Subject: Linguistics

Book Description

This book is the first systematic cross-disciplinary survey on the use of Jamaican English in Ethiopia, describing the dynamics of language acquisition in a multi-lectal and multicultural context. It is the result of over eight years’ worth of research conducted in both Jamaica and Africa, and is a recognition of the trans-cultural influence of the “Repatriation Movement” and other diasporic movements. The method and materials adopted in this book point to a constant spread and diffusion of Jamaican culture in Ethiopia. This is reinforced by the universalistic appeal of Rastafarianism and Reggae music and their ability to transcend borders. The data gathered here focus on how an Anglophone-based Creole has developed new speech-forms and has been hybridized and cross-fertilized in contact situations and by new media sources.

The book focuses on the use of Jamaican English in four particular domains: namely, school, street, family, and the music studio. Its findings are drawn from an exceptional range of sources, such as field-work and video-recordings, interviews, web-mediated communication, artistic performance and relevant transcriptions. These sources highlight five topics of relevance—language acquisition and choice; English and Jamaican speech forms; hegemonic and minority groups, Rastafarian culture and Reggae music—which are explored in further detail throughout the book. These salient features, in turn, interface with the dynamics of influencing factors, reinforcing circumstances, significance and change.

The book represents a journey to the “extreme-outer circle” of English language use, following a circular route away from Africa and back again, with all the languages used (and lost) along the slavery route and inside the plantation complex developing into creolized speech forms and Creoles. Such language use is now making its way back to Africa, with all the incendiary creativity of Reggae and resonant with Rastafarian language.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-7152-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-7152-4
Date of Publication: 01/02/2015
Pages / Size: 260 / A5
Price: £47.99


Renato Tomei is Assistant Professor of English Language and Translation at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is currently conducting post-doctoral research on world varieties of English in diasporic contexts and the Repatriation Movement. He teaches legal English at postgraduate and doctoral level and runs seminars on Reggae and Afro-Caribbean linguistics. He is a militant member of the Rastafarian community, and is the founder and president of “Youths of the World” (an NGO). He is the co-author of West of Eden: Botanical Discourse, Contact Languages and Translation (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and Law, Language and Translation: From Concepts to Conflicts (Springer, 2014).