Dread Talk: The Language of Rastafari

Dread Talk: The Language of Rastafari

Dread Talk: The Language of Rastafari

Dread Talk: The Language of Rastafari

Synopsis

In Dread Talk Velma Pollard describes the language of Rastafari, tracing its development as an expansion of Jamaican Creole while showing how it is distinct both from Creole and Standard English. She demonstrates that dread talk must be understood in terms of Jamaican social history, emphasizing its religious origins, its evolution as a language of social protest, and its spread around the world through the reggae music of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff.

Dread Talk examines the effects of Rastafarian language on Creole in other parts of the Carribean, its influence in Jamaican poetry, and its effects on standard Jamaican English. This revised edition includes a new introduction that outlines the changes that have occurred since the book first appeared and a new chapter, "Dread Talk in the Diaspora, " that discusses Rastafarian as used in the urban centers of North America and Europe.

Excerpt

Even in Jamaican society, Rastafarianism is a unique phenomenon, in that it appears unrelated to European or even African cultural antecedents. Part of this unique quality is a distinctively different attitude towards the world and man's place in that world. The popularly known aspects of Rastafari -- dreadlocks, smoking ganja and reggae music -- appeal to many precisely because they seem so different. But one needs to go beyond a superficial appreciation of these features to understand the different attitudes. An understanding of Rastafarian speech is necessary for this appreciation. Far from being simply a dialect of English or an anglophone Creole (or just a variant of Jamaican patois), "Dread Talk" reflects the speaker's resistance to perceived oppression (both historical colonial prejudice and current economic disenfranchisement) and the sense of the overwhelming potential spiritual redemption that Rastas can achieve. Here patterns of speech really do reflect patterns of thought.

This book focuses on the importance of language to Rastafarians, and any study of this "unofficial" Jamaican religion would be incomplete without a thorough reading of it. This collection of papers, originally published in 1994 by Canoe Press, University of the West Indies, now includes a new chapter and a bibliography. The new chapter takes into . . .

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