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Caribbean Journal of Education

Jamaican Creole alongside Standard Jamaican English in the Speech of 2-Year-Olds from Urban Kingston

Publication Date: 
September 2010

This paper examines the speech of Jamaican Creole (JC)-speaking two-year-olds in urban Kingston, with specific reference to interactions using the ‘wh-’ question constructions ‘Whose?’, ‘Where?’, ‘What is X doing’ and their JC equivalents. Of interest here, is a consideration of the range of JC and Standard Jamaican English (SJE) question constructions understood by the children, as well as the forms of the answers provided by them. Findings are that code-mixing of JC and SJE is characteristic of the speech of these children. The paper ends with a consideration of the implications of this for language policy and language education in Jamaica, promoting strategies which will allow for the awareness of the different language systems in the minds of the Jamaican speaker. 

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