Patois – The Language of My People

Patois- Jamaican/Creole tongue

I lost my language and have recently retrieved it back as a treasure but there is no place in my life to use it. Though my husband and children understand Patois, they don’t speak Patois, my close friends and work associates don’t speak Patois- where is it appropriate to speak my native language?

The way my ancestors chose to communicate was amazing it was created out of necessity and beauty, innovation, and creativity. Patois Is not just like broken English, it is so much more!

They wanted us, slaves, not to be able to communicate and rebel, they wanted us to assimilate and become civilized like them, they wanted to make themselves superior by dominating us on their terms.
This simple Pidgin language created into creole by the sheer act of being forced to let go and forced to assimilate is Patois.

I was taught Patois like every child that lives in a bilingual household, by hearing it spoken to me and by speaking it back. Unfortunately, I was corrected by white and black teachers in school whenever I used it and laughed at by my brothers and family friends, as I wasn’t immersed in the culture and my accent was a bit more Canadian. So speaking the language, brought shame and hurt with it. There was no pride in speaking Patois- I was praised and rewarded for English. So I excelled in the English language and in the process lost my native tongue.

I remember the language and how to formulate the words but my tongue has been silent for too many years, but then so has the roots of my heritage.
Patois has the true components of a language and can be taught and understood.
And like many of the things in my culture, I have had to redeem it so that I could see the true value and treasure that it is to any Jamaican, even if you live in the diaspora. How is it any different from the language of the Spanish or French? We would never tell a Hispanic or person from another language not to speak their native language. Why is Patois any different? Is it because you don’t like the confidence and attitude that comes when we speak Patois? because you can’t understand what we are saying and don’t want to take the time to learn? The powers to be try to insinuate that we are not speaking the one language that has dominated the world for years, but why should we?- we are Jamaican!
I would love to write a book in Patois to honor the treasured Jamaicans! It would be my ode to the land that I love … Jamaica.

Me a go duh it yea man!

To learn more about Patois  go HERE

Much Love Charmaine

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