About 2 months ago, I started a thread online: In it, I said:
There have been projects in which Jamaican Creole is used to dub some animated and live action stuff (this, for example), but they’re almost made just for humour and are deliberately quite ‘raw’ in terms of language and content. And the same is true for many originally animated pieces. (I believe this is one.) So, it’s not surprising that someone commented:
It’s a vulgar vicious language.
Vulgar. Vicious. Jamaicans truly feel that way about their language. It’s ‘uncivilised’, not appropriate for ‘proper’ conversation. That’s why so many of them can’t imagine the language could be used to dub an anime in any serious way. When they think of the language, they think of discussions about sex, expletives, insults… It can’t belong to the realm of dubbing, right? Worse for intellectual media.
I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as a vulgar language. Certainly a grandmother telling her grandchildren a story in her native language of Jamaican Creole/Patois isn’t using vulgar language.
It truly saddens me that people have such low regard for their own cultural language. One friend recently posted that, on the news, a police officer said that they dismangkl the gang. Um… so? Yes, he used the Patwa accent to say the word ‘dismantled’. Why is that such a big deal? Why is that post-worthy? Why is that something to ridicule? Especially since most (if not all of us) have our Patwa affecting our English.
Jamaicans have this perception that English can’t capture the same raw emotion when yu a chries smadi that English does. Indeed, get an English-speaking Jamaican angry, and he/she is liable to cuss you in Patwa. But honestly, did we forget that the ‘F’ word came from English? So did the ‘P’ word. English, Japanese, JSL, every language I can imagine can be made vicious and insulting depending on its user.
Think about it, why should gyal be an insult, but gorl (pronounced like the English girl) not be? Just because the first one sounds more Patwa than the other. The more Jamaican it sounds, the less civilised it is…? That sounds like self-hatred to me.
From here in my little corner of the internet, I appeal to Jamaicans: Stop seeing this language as a vulgar one, only to be used in sexually-charged, or viciously humorous discussion. This language as been that of poetic greatness, holy writ, and music that touches the mind.
And it can do a lot more.