The Reception in Jamaica of Non-native Speakers of Jamaican Creole

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International Journal of Christianity and English Language Teaching, ISSN: 2334-1866, Vol: 3, Issue: 1, Page: 3

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Kuck, Mary Hills
accompaniment; colonialism; identity; imperialism; Jamaican Creole; IJC&ELT; Applied Linguistics; Christianity; Language and Literacy Education; Teacher Education and Professional Development
article description
This study examines how non-native speakers of Jamaican Creole, including Christian and other foreign English teachers, are received by the Jamaican speech community. One way for foreign Christian English teachers to establish mutuality and interdependence, or accompaniment (Padilla, 2008, p. 87), that can counteract the historical instruction that resulted in a superior/inferior relationship between the expatriate teacher and the English learner is to have a working knowledge of Jamaican Creole, a source of identity and culture for Jamaicans. However, a survey of upwardly mobile Jamaicans suggested that some 30% of respondents believed that the Jamaican language should not be shared with speakers outside of the Jamaican/African diaspora. A focus group of long-term professional expatriates in Jamaica indicated that most had not become fully bilingual in Jamaican Creole and English. A second focus group of Jamaican students and professionals implied that Christian English teachers who want to achieve accompaniment need to respect the historical memory of colonialism and exploitation that is embedded in Jamaican Creole. They need to be aware of possible negative interpretations that their use of Jamaican Creole might incur. Yet if Christian and other foreign English teachers employ Jamaican Creole only at the initiative of their students, resistance to learning English will be lowered and the goal of accompaniment more nearly achieved.