Essay by Velma Pollard
|University of the West Indies Press
|McGill-Queen's University Press
In Dread Talk Velma Pollard describes the language of Rastafari, tracing its development as an expansion of Jamaican Creole while showing how it is distinct both from Creole and Standard English. She demonstrates that dread talk must be understood in terms of Jamaican social history, emphasizing its religious origins, its evolution as a language of social protest, and its spread around the world through the Reggae music of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. Dread Talk examines the effects of Rastafarian language on Creole in other parts of the Carribean, its influence in Jamaican poetry, and its effects on standard Jamaican English. This revised edition includes a new introduction that outlines the changes that have occurred since the book first appeared and a new chapter, "Dread Talk in the Diaspora," that discusses Rastafarian as used in the urban centers of North America and Europe. Pollard provides a wealth of examples of Rastafarian language-use and definitions, explaining how the evolution of these forms derives from the philosophical position of the Rasta speakers: "The socio-political image which the Rastaman has had of himself in a society where lightness of skin, economic status, and social privileges have traditionally gone together must be included in any consideration of Rastafarian words " for the man making the words is a man looking up from under, a man pressed down economically and socially by the establishment."
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