The Caribbean Dictionary

1 definition
Second person plural pronoun; You plural.
okeuzo5 Oct 25, 2012
Greetings! I believe that the "Jamiekan Langwij Yunit" (Jamaican Language Unit) and the "Beliiz Kriol Kongsl" (Belize Creole Council) agree that the best orthography/ spelling for this word is "UNU", ie with a single "n".The origin of this word has been established as from the Nigerian language called IGBO. This same word and its variants (wuna, una etc) are found all across the Carribean and West African coast in various Creoles and pidgins. This proves the close linguistic and historical relationship of the Atlantic Creoles and Pidgins.
James Nov 14, 2012
If you follow every recommendation the Jamaican Language Unit makes you'll end up with unreadable junk. See:
okeuzo5 Nov 14, 2012
Thank you James. I still believe that a national language (i.e. a language spoken across the whole nation e.g. Patois, in Jamaica), needs to have a governing body which is responsible setting the rules of grammar and orthography. Such a body is usually made of of linguists and anthropologists whose years of study of the particular language and culture yield a consensus of "standard language" rules for orthography/ spelling & grammar. This definitely does not eliminate speech, dialectical or regional variants. The necessity for a standardised orthography and grammar cannot be overemphasized, since it sets a precedent for all written publication and most especially for a standard literacy programme for the language in question. Many international languages are governed by such bodies as mentioned above. For example, the French language is regulated by "Académie française" while the German language is regulated by "Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung".
In the case of Jamiekan or "Patois" as you may choose to call it, the Jamiekan Langwij Yuunit has a reasonable set of linguists who have put in time and effort into standardisation efforts. Their work cannot definitely be perfect, but there must be a consensus from which future progress can be made. In Belize, the National "Kriol Kongsl" has been working for years and have made great progress in orthography, grammar and publication.
Thank you.
wyvern Nov 14, 2012
The need for a governing language body isn't at issue. What's at issue is their recommendations. Jamaican patois is heavily rooted in English. I understand linguists like to invent things, however from a practical standpoint it's silly to completely discard the English root. It's a barrier to adoption and makes things hard to read. There is for example, no good reason to change the spelling of "identify" to "aidentifai". Nothing but obfuscation is added.
wyvern Nov 14, 2012
Here's another example of the the JLU's over engineering. "kuk" => "cook". How is this sensible? Every Jamaican who makes it past grade 1 can pronounce the syllable "cook". Changing the spelling to "kuk" just causes unnecessary cognitive overhead.
okeuzo5 Nov 15, 2012
Mr. Wyvern, I beg to differ. Please note that the Jamaican Language is NOT English. It may have English roots but it is NOT English as much as Afrikaans is NOT Dutch. You see, Afrikaans developed from Dutch because Dutch speaking people moved to South African a little over 2 centuries ago. Right now, the two are regarded are different languages and they have separate Grammar, Orthography/ Spelling and identity.
You need to accept the fact that the Jamaican language, otherwise known as Patois deserves an identity of its own.
For that matter, linguists needed to revisit it to determine the rules of pronunciation and grammar that CURRENTLY govern it. It was their task to find how best to represent these rules of pronunciation and grammar in a CONSISTENT and UNAMBIGUOUS way. The English language itself has suffered too many insconsistencies and it is not fair to carry them over into PATOIS.
According to the current spelling system, each letter/ letter combination will ALWAYS represent the same sound, unlike the English language.
For example, "ii" will always be the long vowel sound in the English words "heat" and "meat". Therefore the word for "peace" in Patois is spelt as "Piis".
There need to be such fixed rules without exceptions so that words that do not have English roots can be properly represented without ambiguity and uncertainty of their pronunciation.
In Belize, not far from Jamaica, the Belize Creole Council has developed a different, standard, unambiguous orthography for the Belize Creole language. They have a very nice paperback dictionary and they have some body of literature using the standardised orthography and grammar rules. The Belizean populace is quite receptive to this and many are willing to learn and have learnt.
Adoption is all about choice. The human brain is POWERFUL and IF WILLING, can easily learn a set of LOGICAL rules and apply them with a little practice. If Jamaicans love their language, they will be willing to learn their language in the BEST recommended way.
The fact that a population is literate in a certain "European" language does not necessitate every other language in the country to conform to the rules of Orthography of that language in question. Every language must be studied, analysed and documented in a fashion that best suits ITS intrinsic nature.
Thank you!
prince Nov 15, 2012
Why stop there? Why not invent your own alphabet and abandon the white man's numerals and digits?
prince Nov 15, 2012
...and letters
okeuzo5 Nov 15, 2012
Mr. Prince, with all due respect, you seem not to have understood the gist of my previous posts. The reasons for which a language would adopt a different orthography/ spelling system from other existing European languages have NO root in imperialism or whatsoever term we may choose to ascribe to you phrase "abandon the white man's..."
The reasons behind the adoption of a different orthography lie in the very nature of the language in question, it's unique sound system and grammar. These factors are researched by linguists and they decide what orthography will best suit the language in question.
There is absolutely NO need to invent a new alphabet because the "Latin script" is actually universal, as universal as the Arabic numerals that we use to count. An alphabet is like a set of building blocks which can be used to produce an infinite number of designs according to the desire of the "builder". In this case, the "builder" would be the "linguist" who puts together the letters and sets rules as to their "vocal equivalence".
wyvern Nov 16, 2012
There is also no need to create "ii" when there are perfectly good standard English equivalents like "ee" and "ea". It's silly.
okeuzo5 Nov 18, 2012
Mr. Wyvern, I believe that if you read through some of my previous posts, you will find enough information to formulate a sufficient answer to your penultimate post. As I mentioned earlier, each language will adopt orthography rules that best suit its sound system and that best represent its pronunciation conventions.
The Jamaican linguists settled for "ii" to represent a sound that the Belizean linguist represented with "ee". So the word "peace" will be written as "piis" in Jamaican patois standard orthography and "pees" in Belizean Creole standard orthography.
Even between British and American English there are orthography differences and yet we are talking about approximately the same language! You should accept that fact that each language is entitled to an orthography convention of its own.
kit Nov 19, 2012
Okeuzo5, what is it that makes a certain country's speech qualify as it's own language, such that it would need its own orthography?
wyvern Nov 20, 2012
You're answering the wrong question. It's not whether languages need orthography. It's whether languages, particularly creole languages need a **unique** orthography. And you haven't made a compelling case.
kss Mar 17, 2013
I dont think we should be trying to standardize or make patois into a language. It will take all the beauty away from it. You're trying to make Patois into what it is not.
Bobzy Jan 19, 2016
I concur
Adam Feb 28, 2016
The foundation of an official orthography was a decision by the Belizean people that I feel will not be possible with the Jamaican people. While there are certainly orthographic standards put forth and even accepted, these are two different, equally beautiful cultures. Question: is there a book that teaches the basics of Belizean Kriol? Hmu @ Many thanks.
Squinty Nov 22, 2016
I have to agree with Wyvern on this. As a person born within a big Jamaican family in the UK, who learn to speak and read English in the UK, some of the recommendation of the JLU wouldn't make sense. Take the 'kuk' example...if you didn't have the guidance to show it should pronounce 'cook' you could make the mistake of pronounce it like 'but'. The 'oo' sound is established in English. Run out....
Calorus Dec 12, 2016
I second Wyvern: you should change the minimum required for inter-ineligibility. Where a sound is unique (or is significantly different from an existing spelling's natural reading), you can define a dipthong or digraph to achieve proper representation. Otherwise, as Wyvern says, it's just pointless obfuscation.
Bajanese Sep 01, 2018
Wunna; all ah wunna; yuh see wunna! etc. That's how it is used here in Barbados.
jde13x Jul 18, 2021
Since 'unu' is listed as a synonyms, all of this arguing pointless. The fact that 'unnu' and 'unu' are recognized as synonyms (implying equivalence) means that everyone gets what they want. Anything else is an attempt to impose oneself on another. Given the culture of oppression the modern Caribbean was borne from, we can all agree attempts to impose one's will on another is distasteful.
jde13x Jul 18, 2021
Pardon. First sentence should read "Since 'unu' and 'unnu' are listed as..(etc.)".
Chuck Aug 08, 2021
Im actually from the US, but it wasnt a choice. Thanks everyone here for an amazing back and forth, intelligent argument. I admire the amount of respect everyone showed to each other, even while disagreeing. One of the things I love about living in Florida is being exposed on a daily basis to so many Caribbean peoples. God bless, everyone.