Jamaica: Jamaica joins the short list of Caribbean nations which will have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights translated into its native language of ‘Patwa’. The announcement was made by the United Nations on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the document.
The only other Caribbean nation which is a part of the official translation of the document is Saint Lucia. For the first time ever, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be read in the Patwa language after being translated for Human Rights 75.
The document has been translated into more than 500 languages which will now feature another: Jamaican Patwa.
Jamaica remained the home of different indigenous communities for centuries. Firstly, Spain seized control of the island around the 1500s, and the Taino language became part of their daily lives. After the ending of the Spanish rule, Britain invaded in 1670.
During this period of time, Jamaica witnessed diversity in its nation’s dialects. People on the island spoke Spanish, English, Irish and Scottish.
Between the years of 1690-1838, slaves from a variety of countries and language backgrounds became the majority of the population of Jamaica. At that time, African slaves used to speak their language which further formulated ‘pidgin’- consisting of features from different languages.
The pidgin further evolved with time and met the needs of the people. With time, the grammar regularised among the population, and they have adopted it as a full-fledged language, at which point linguists refer to it as a “creole”.
Further, the name of the language had turned into “Jamaican Creole” and “Jamaica Patwa”. Britain remained in power until Jamaica gained independence in 1962.
After that, the language gained recognition in the constitution, flourishing it at international levels. Now, the Jamaicans recognise it as more than just an island thing, as it is a language holding Jamaicans around the world together.
The addition of the language in the list of translations of the document has been marking a significant achievement for Jamaica.