Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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This article analyses a Jamaican cultural event, "Dance Hall", as a speech event. It then focusses on a particular controversy surrounding the lyrics of a piece of dance hall music performed by Buju Banton. It argues that much of the discussion about the lyrics in Britain and the USA dealt with these lyrics outside the sociolinguistic context of the Jamaican dance hall within which Buju Banton's recorded performance would be understood by many Jamaicans to belong. The article further argues that the international misunderstanding is compounded by the fact that Jamaicans as a group refuse to recognise Jamaican, the language of the lyrics, as a language separate and apart from English. The conclusion is that if this were to happen, it would be easier to present Jamaican cultural output to the international community in a manner which forces that community to understand and respect the linguistic and sociocultural autonomy of such output. Since Jamaican (i.e. Jamaican Creole) is the language of dance hall performances, the article was written in Jamaican and an English translation provided. There is a brief discussion of the process by which a sociolinguistic academic article was conceived of and written in Jamaican, traditionally a language of oral informal discourse.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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