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How do you understand Patois?


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November 04, 2007 10:09PM

Whether correctly or not in a technical sense, I think of patois (culturally, not in terms of professional or other specialized jargon) as being very much the same as creole, and in some cases a creolized language. I attended a friend's wedding a few years ago in Jamaica. My friend told me that when she is there, she speaks what is called Patois. The language is full of idiomatic expressions and a mix of words from French, and probably Spanish, and elements from the indigenous Jamaican language, and African dialects (I had great fun trying to follow it, but had little success. To say the least, my friends were having fun with that.) I am not a linguist, but it seems that Jamaican Patois can't be far from being a fully independent language, and not a patois or creole at all. Language changes and grows all the time. The Gula language has just recently been recognized as a language in its own right, having grown out of creolized forms on the islands along the southeast coast of the US.