Listen to Jamaica 3, a 22-year-old man from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 12/02/1990
PLACE OF BIRTH: Montego Bay, Jamaica
EDUCATION: master’s degree
AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
The subject had been living in the United States for six years at the time of this recording, the first four years in Massachusetts and the last two in Lawrence, Kansas.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A
RECORDED BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 29/05/2012
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica; um, I grew up there – spent sixteen years there; um, I finished high school and, um, in 2006 I moved to Massachusetts to go to college. Um, I spent four years there; um, it was difficult ’cause, of course, I was I was 16 years old when I went to college, so, um, it was kind of a rough four years, but by the end I got the hang of it. And, uh, the professor I was studying piano with there, um, knew Dr. Tucker here, who’s the choir director, and so when I knew I wanted to look into, um, choral conducting as a possible career option, I decided to apply here. Um, and so that’s how I ended up being in Lawrence, and I just finished, um, this May, I just finished my master’s in conducting and piano. Usually, um, Jamaicans who have access to higher quality of education, um, who learn, you know, how to read properly and how to express themselves properly usually sound like I do. Um, we are speaking standard English, but the Jamaican accent is there. Then we are all exposed to the dialect because, of course, you know, it’s, there’s no way to escape it; it’s in pop culture; I mean, it’s part of our culture. But there are, there are, some people who cannot, cannot, um, express themselves outside of the dialect; um, and so a lot of times that’s what, that’s what people expect to hear from me, because that’s the more famous, the more stereotypical Jamaican sound. I’m just trying to think of something to say. Like I, I don’t, I don’t want to go there me no wanna go there. You know, this kind of, um, way of expressing yourself. And then, within the dialect there are slight variations according to where you’re from, so it’s interesting I was watching, um, a video on YouTube recently, and, um, it was a guy who was dubbing over, uh, an infomercial, but he was using the dialect, and I said to my friend who I watching it with: I can tell he’s from Kingston because of there’s kind of a melding of the standard English with the broken English, so it’s not … it’s not fully one or the other and I can kind of hear his accent coming out. I know a lot of people from St. Elizabeth – one of the parishes – it’s like southwest Jamaica, and they have a much slower drawl to the way they speak patois. There’s a saying that we have. It goes: Wheh-eva it mahgah it a go pop off. [Subject provided the transcription.] Basically, wherever, it’s kind of the talking about a branch wherever it gets to its thinnest point it’s going to break. It’s like a proverb that we have, that, you know, I mean, you can only give so much, you know, you can’t give any more, um, before you end up giving too much. Wheh-eva it mahgah it a go pop off. There’s another one – another proverb – that goes: Howdy an’ tenky nuh bruk nuh tile. It’s the drawly like [unclear] hello and thank-you doesn’t break any tiles. Basically, it’s no skin off your … it’s no effort to say hello and thank you to people; it shouldn’t be, you know, uh, such an effort to do that, um, howdy an’ tenky nuh bruk nuh tile. There’s this saying that we have. It’s kind of like an addendum to … if you’re talking about, um, somebody giving you a really b.s. excuse for something it’s, uh, horse dead and cow fat. Literally what it sounds like: horse dead and cow fat. It’s just like: yeah, yeah, so we were, you know, we were doing this, and someone tell me and this and that and that, and horse dead and cow fat; it just comes out; it just like, you know, it’s ridiculous-sounding; it doesn’t make any sense, and that’s kind of how you feel about what the person is telling you to.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 29/05/2012
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
If you are a dialect researcher, or an actor using this sample to develop your skill in the accent, please see my instruction manual at www.paulmeier.com. As the speaker in this sample is a unique individual, it is highly unlikely that he will conform to my analysis in every detail. But you will find it interesting and instructive to notice which of my “signature sounds” and “additional features” (always suggested only as commonly heard features of the accent) are widely used by most speakers of the accent or dialect, and which are subject to variation from individual to individual.
COMMENTARY BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 03/11/2016
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