Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

Fi Wi Chatn Fi Wi Raitn

Reading & Writing Jamaican

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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

Illustrations, including that on the cover page, are from The Art of Reading, SIL International English/Indonesian

The Gayles Gayles for Jamaican Languages Mannings Hill Dist, Stony Hill P.O. Kingston 19, Jamaica jamaicanlanguages@gmail.com

First Edition Copyright © 2011 Gayles for Jamaican Languages ISBN # 198 0 19 82 20 08 Printed by Self-Print Printers Kingston, Jamaica
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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

BOOK DIVISION Part 1................................................................... First Words: To Begin/Fi Staat Out............................................................ Reading & Writing Jamaican ........................................................................ Di Jamiekan Alfabet....................................................................................... Part 2.................................................................... Lesson 1: Jamaican Vowels................................................................................... Lesson 2: Jamaican Consonants.......................................................................... Lesson 3: Other Jamaican Sounds ................................................................... Part 3..................................................................... 1. Reading Exercises: ........................................................................................ a. Jamaican Bible Selection.......................................................... b. 4-8 5 6 7 8-22 9-16 17-21 22 23-32 24-28 24 25 26 27 28 29-30 29 30 31 32

Anancy Story ............................................................................

c. Letter . .......................................................................................... d. Dub-Poem...................................................................................... e. Jamaican Proverbs ..................................................................... 2. Games: ............................................................................................................... a. Crossword Puzzle .............................................................................. b. Word Search Puzzles ...................................................................... 3. Resources: ........................................................................................................ 4. Concerns Regarding the Jamaican Bible.....................................................

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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

FIRST WORDS: If you are Jamaican like me, it is very likely that you grew up in a home where English was rarely spoken. If that is not the case, it is very likely you grew up hearing a lot of Jamaicans speaking a language that is not English! Most of us refer to this language as “Patwa.“ In this booklet, however, I shall refer to this language as “Jamaican.” Why? Well, first, the name “Jamaican” makes us feel proud of our language. Second, referring to the language as “Jamaican” makes us think of the origin of the language and the name of the people who speak it. Many languages are named in this way: English came from England, Turkish from Turkey, Moldovan from Moldova, Irish from Ireland, Finnish from Finland, Icelandic from Iceland, Russian from Russia and Welsh from Wales! Though we are generally proud of our language, many of us believe it should not be used for communication in our schools, in our churches, in our business places or in any “serious” setting. These persons believe Jamaican should be used only when we want to talk to family and close friends, to “cuss off” people and to tell jokes and stories (e.g. Anancy and Big Boy stories). In 1993, the Bible Society of the West Indies, located in Kingston, told the country of its plan to translate the Bible into Jamaican. Naturally, this made many persons angry. Why? Well, as I just mentioned, a lot of persons believe Jamaican is only good enough for talking about everyday things, for cussing and for telling jokes and stories. They believe the Bible is a very, very serious and important book and that Jamaican is not a language that we use to discuss things that are serious and important. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Caribbean, is one of the committed supporters of the Jamaican Bible. In fact, I am a full-time missionary with Wycliffe. Wycliffe sent me to work at the Bible Society on its behalf. Wycliffe supports the translation project because, like the Bible Society, it believes that God’s Word touches our hearts in a special way when it is in the language we understand best.

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READING & WRITING JAMAICAN: The Bible Society and its partners have a problem! Most people cannot read and write Jamaican. In fact, some persons say that Jamaican cannot be written. Owing to this reading/writing problem, the Society is concentrating on an audio translation of the Bible. The Society plans to make the Jamaican Bible available in written form for whomever wishes to have it. This guide is for those who wish to read (and write) Jamaican. Many years ago, Fredrick. G. Cassidy and Robert B. Le Page developed a way of writing Jamaican. This way of writing the language was revised by the Jamaican Language Unit (JLU). JLU is located on the campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. This is how the writing system works: for each sound, there is only one and always one letter or combination of letters. It does not matter where in the word you hear the sound. This means that there is always consistency in spelling as what you hear or pronounce is what you spell with the relevant matching symbol-per-sound. In my experience, persons beginning to read and write Jamaican usually sometimes unconciously put on a “braalin” (course) accent. Many times, this is due to their belief that Jamaican is an inferior, course language and the mark of the uneducated person; it is used when someone doesn’t want to be “prim and proper.” Watch out for this as you go through the lessons. When reading out aloud, read naturally. Do not put on anything. Be yourself. This writing/reading guide is divided into into two (2) sections. The first section contains three (3) lessons: the first is about vowels, the second about consonants and the third about some issues that relate to both consonants and vowels. Each lesson is accompanied by several practice expercises that will engage your ability to see, hear, speak and feel the language. The second section contains several different texts in Jamaican. It serves two purposes: 1) to show you that Jamaican can be used to express anything we want; 2) to provide you with more opportunities to practice reading and writing. The Jamaican used in this booklet is only meant to help you to read and write the language. Not all letter combinations used are representative of authentic Jamaican words. The authentic Jamaican used isn’t representative of the language or of how it is used by all Jamaicans. Before we start learning to write and write Jamaican, I’d like to make it clear than I am not arguing against the use of Standard Jamaican English (SJE). Rather, I am encouraging greater recognition and inclusion of our national language. 6|Page

Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

Aa

Ee
arinj eg

Di Jamiekan Alfabet
Ii
invilop

Oo
okro

Uu
uman

AA / aa
aatis

II / ii
iigl

UU / uu
shuuz

AI / ai
ai

IE / ie
iez

OU / ou
kou

UO / uo
kluoz

Bb
baal

CH / ch
choch

Dd
daag

Ff
feda

Gg
giet

Hh
hat

Jj
jog

Kk
kyaar

Ll
leda

Mm
maka

Nn
niel

Ng / ng
chring

Pp
pikni

Rr
rat

Ss
sandalz

SH / sh
shel

Tt
tiebl

Vv
volkieno

Ww
was

Zz
zip

If you have access to John McAnuf’s Jumiekan Langwig Alfabet Song and Project CD, listen to tracts one (1), two (2), three (3), five (5) and seven (7).
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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

LESSON 1 – Jamaican Vowels
SHORT VOWELS Let us start with short vowel sounds and the symbols we use to represent them. There are five (5) short vowel sounds. These are also called single vowel. If you have access to the

John McAnuf sound files, listen to tract four (4):

Jamaican Sample S’t Vowels Word a e i o u
arinj

Sample Picture

Notes
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________

eg

________________________ ________________________ ________________________

invilop

________________________ ________________________ ________________________

okro

________________________ ________________________ ________________________

uman

________________________ ________________________

IMPORTANT Jamaican has no silent letters. Only write the symbols for the sounds you hear / say.
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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

LONG VOWELS

Now, Jamaican has three (3) long vowel sounds. There are easily represented by simply doubling up the short vowel sounds (letters). If you have access to the John
McAnuf sound files, listen to tract four (4):

Jamaican L’g Vowels aa ii

Sample Word
aatis

Sample Picture

Notes
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________

iigl

________________________ ________________________

________________________

uu

shuuz

________________________ ________________________

Practice Exercise B:
Read and say the following out loud. Do one column at a time. (You can select the
exercise you prefer and or move on to the next lesson, if you think you’ve grasped this lesson well enough.)

AA aa
1

II ii
3

UU uu
4

aa maa maamaa

2

baa taa waa

baabaa taataa waawaa

aabaab aataat aawaaw

5

gaabaa maawaa aagwaa
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DOUBLE VOWELS

Jamaican also has what are called double vowel sounds. These are a combination of two dufferent single vowel sounds. There are four (4) of them. If you have access
to the John McAnuf sound files, listen to tract four (4).

Jamaican D’ble Vowels ai

Sample Word
ai

Sample Picture

Notes
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

ie

iez

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

ou

kou

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

uo

kluoz

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________

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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

LESSON 2 – Jamaican Consonants
The consonants are fairly easy to handle. Most of the symbols you will already know, due to the exposure you have had to English. If you have access to the John McAnuf audio files, listen to tracts one (1) and five (5).

Jamaican Sample Consonants Word
b
ball

Sample Picture

Notes
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

ch

choch

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

d

daag

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

f

feda

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

g

giet

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

h

hat

_______________________ _______________________

See page 22
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Jamaican Sample Consonant Word j
jog

Sample Picture

Notes
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

k

kyaar

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

l

leda

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

m

maka

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

n

niel

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

ng

chring

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

p

pikni

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________

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Jamaican Consonant r

Sample Word
rat

Sample Picture

Notes
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

s

sandalz

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

sh

shel

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

t

tiebl

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

v

volkieno

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________

w

was

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________

z

zip

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Fi Wi Chatn - Fi Wi Raitn

LESSON 3 – Other Jamaican Sounds
Jamaican Sample Letter Word h
hat

Sample Picture

Notes
Some Jamaicans do not pronounce the letter ‘h’ at the beginning of a word. They would say “at” not “hat.” Together, these letters stand for

or

pors

the weak unstressed vowel sound you hear sound in words such as , purse, her , early, Bert etc. Together, these letters stand for

hn

plaahn

what is called a “nasal marker.” You hear this sound at the end of Jamaican pronunciation for words such as “can’t” and “want” - kyaahn and waahn. When you produce this type of sound, some air pass through your nose. Try it!

(If you have access to the John McAnuf audio files, listen to tracts one (1), five (5) and nine (9). Sing along as you listen. This should help you become familiar wth the Jamaican alphabet very quickly.)

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Resources:
Writing Jamaican the Jamaican Way – You can buy this if you
want a more detailed and professionally done book to help you read and write Jamaican well. The books and the CD that accompanies it are available in bookstores all over the island.

Jamaican Bible – The New Testament becomes available in
2012. For now, only text of Luuk is available. Get your copy at the Bible Society of the West Indies, opposite the Half-Way-Tree Courthouse. Visit the project at www.jamiekanbaibl.org

Our Blog – The blog is for those who want to read and write the
Jamaican. Here, you can submit your own stories and articles written in Jamaican for other people to read and practice. Visit the blog at http://fiwiraitn.blogspot.com/

TVFiWi - This is a Jamaican Language Company channel which
seeks to offer a range of programming from news commentary to interviews and much more. All of which is done in Jamaican Creole. The channel offers programs such as Akshan Taak and Aks Mi Kwestyan. Visit them at http://www.youtube.com/thejamaicanlangco

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CONCERNS REGARDING THE JAMAICAN BIBLE
1. There is no Standard Jamaican Languages do not standardise themselves. The standardisation of any language results from human efforts. Over the years, Bible Translation has helped to develop and standardise many languages. This was the case of English and German. 1. Persons Cannot Read Jamaican Most Jamaicans read and write Jamaican using a spelling system that makes Jamaican look like English. Ms Lou’s books are written like that. The Jamaican Creole Translation Project is promoting a much better way of reading and writing Jamaican. True, most persons are not yet used to the system. It is for this reason that the Jamaican Bible will be released pirmarily in audio format. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Caribbean, is working on a plan to help persons read Jamaican. 2. Jamaican is Only Spoken by Jamaicans This is true. But Chinese is only spoken in China, Turkish is only spoken in Turkey, Moldovan is only spoken in Moldova, Irish is only spoken in Ireland, Finnish is only spoken in Finland, Icelandic is only spoken in Iceland, Welsh is only spoken in Wales, etc! 3. We Should Concentrate on Improving English in Jamaica In 2009, persons from the University of the West Indies completed an experiment in some Jamaican primary schools. They wanted to see how well children learn when school teachers teach them in both Jamaican and English. The results show that the children who are taught in both languages do better than those who are taught only in English. This is the experience of teachers all over the world. 4. The Jamaican Bible will Cause more Laughter than Seriousness BSWI and its partners are very serious about what they are doing. They believe the Bible is a respectable book and that persons who read or hear it must be able to identify it as a book that is to be taken seriously. The Bible will be translated with this in mind. Also, the translation will be tested in locations on the island before it is published. 5. The money could be used for more worthwhile It is important to remember that the mission of those who are financing the project is to make God’s word available to persons who do not have it in the language they understand best. WBTC, for example, cannot provide for all of our society’s needs – no organisation can. All the churches in Jamaica give spend a lot than $12 million Jamaican dollars on education, medicine, disaster relief, poverty eradication and so on. Can the church not invest a fraction of its budget to help its people understand God’s word better? 32 | P a g e

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_____________________________________
The Bible Society and its partners have a problem! Most persons cannot read and write Jamaican. In fact, some persons say that Jamaican cannot be written; it can only be spoken. Due of this reading/writing problem, the Society has decided to give more attention to an audio translation of the New Testament. The Society plans to make the Jamaican Bible available in written form for whoever wants to have it. This guide is for those who want to read and write Jamaican.

Many years ago, F. G Cassidy and R. B. Le Page developed a way of writing Jamaican. This way of writing the language was revised by the Jamaican Language Unit (JLU). JLU is located on the campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. This is how the Jamaican writing system works: For each sound, there is only one and always one letter or combination of letters. It does not matter where in the word you hear the sound. This means that there is always consistency in spelling as what you hear or pronounce is what you spell with the relevant matching symbol-per-sound.

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