Language, Race and the Global Jamaican

Devonish, Hubert, Carpenter, Karen
Language, Race and the Global Jamaican

Examines the connections between race, language and national identity in Jamaica, a majority black nation with complex European-descended institutions and attitudes

Presents case studies on intersectionality of language, race and national identity as evidenced by children, adults, and corporate entities in Jamaica

Explores Jamaica's influence on the wider world, both through its diaspora communities and through the export of its culture and industry

This book examines the racial and socio-linguistic dynamics of Jamaica, a majority black nation where the dominant ideology continues to look to white countries as models, yet which continues to defy the odds. The authors trace the history of how a nation of less than three million people has come to be at the centre of cultural, racial and linguistic influence globally; producing a culture than has transformed the way that the world listens to music, and a dialect that has formed the lingua franca for a generation of young people. The book will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Caribbean linguistics, Africana studies, diaspora studies, sociology of language and sociolinguistics more broadly.

Hubert Devonish is Professor Emeritus in the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. He is the author of Language and Liberation: Creole Language Politics in the Caribbean (1986), Talking in Tones: A Study of Tone in Afro-European Creole Languages (1989) and Talking Rhythm, Stressing Tone: Prominence in Anglo-West African Creole Languages (2002).

Karen Carpenter is Acting Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies at Mona and Director of the Caribbean Sexuality Research Group in Kingston, Jamaica. She is the editor of Interweaving Tapestries of Culture and Sexuality in the Caribbean (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and author of Questioning Jewish Caribbean Identity (2018).

“Devonish and Carpenter lay out a compelling account of the formation and spread of Jamaican language and culture. Synthesising the latest scholarship on race with well-established principles of language change and diffusion, they present a satisfying answer to the question of how Jamaican Creole has achieved popularity everywhere but at home, and the consequences thereof. This work will be of interest for years to come to all scholars of Caribbean culture and society.”-- Jason F. Siegel, University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Language, Race and the Global Jamaican
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Illustrations
3 b/w illustrations