Dictionary of Jamaican English

Front Cover
Frederic G. Cassidy, Robert Brock Le Page
University of the West Indies Press, 2002 - English language - 509 pages
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Originally published by Cambridge University Press in 1967 and then revised as a second edition in 1980, this classic study has never before been available in a paperback edition. This method and plan of the dictionary are basically those of the Oxford English Dictionary, but oral sources have been extensively tapped in addition to detailed coverage of literature published in or about Jamaica since 1655.

The dictionary is a mine of information about the Caribbean and its dialects, about the history of English and its dialects, and about Creole languages and general linguistic processes.

Entries give the pronunciation, part-of-speech and usage labels, spelling variants, etymologies and dated citations, as well as definitions. Systematic indexing indicates the extent to which the lexis is shared with other Caribbean countries: Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Nicaragua and Belize.


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This book is a classic, a milestone in the study of Caribbean languages and the product of decades of research and hundreds of interviews. The entries are meticulously documented both historically and by area, with variants and explanations. It is in many ways an encyclopedia of Caribbean culture.
Any language changes and moves on, and in certain respects the DJE will now be out of date, but that in no way diminishes its value. This was the first major dictionary of any Caribbean language (and the "95% rubbish" dismissal on this page is way off the mark.)

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Preface to the Paperback Edition
Dictionaries and Glossaries Cited

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (2002)

F.G. Cassidy was a well-known linguist, the author of Jamaica Talk: Three Hundred Years of the English Language in Jamaica and the chief editor of The Dictionary of American Regional English.

R.B. Le Page taught at the University of the West Indies and the University of York. He is the author of numerous publications, including Creole Language Studies, The National Language Question and Vernacular Literacy.

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