Rastas reject both STANDARD ENGLISH and CREOLE; their alternative usage emerged in the 1940s as an argot among alienated young men, became a part of Jamaican youth culture, and has been significant in the growth and spread of DUB poetry and REGGAE music. A major syntactic difference from Creole is the use of the stressed English pronoun I (often repeated for emphasis and solidarity as I and I) to replace Creole mi, which is used for both subject and object. Mi is seen as a mark of black subservience that makes people objects rather than subjects. The form I and I may also stand for we and for the movement itself:
I and I have fi check hard … It change I … now I and I [eat] jus' patty, hardo bread, from Yard (New York Magazine, 4 Nov. 1973).
[I was greatly affected … It changed me … Now I only eat patties, hard-dough bread, from Jamaica (a reference to Rasta vegetarianism).]
At the same time I fully know why leaders of societies have taken such a low view of I n I reality. They hold Rasta as dangerous to their societies ( Jah Bones , ‘Rastafari: A Cultural Awakening’, appendix to E. E. Cashmore , The Rastafarians, Minority Rights Group Report 64, 1984)
.Because of its significance as a mark of self-respect and solidarity, I often replaces syllables in mainstream words: I-lect Rasta dialect, Iyaric (by analogy with Amharic) Rasta language, I-cient ancient, I-man amen, I-nointed anointed, I-quality equality, I-sanna hosanna, I-thiopia Ethiopia. Other items of vocabulary are: control to keep, take, look after, dreadlocks hair worn long in rope-like coils (to signify membership of the group), dub a piece of reggae music, rhythmic beat, queen a girlfriend, Rastaman a male, adult Rastafarian, reason hard to argue, sufferer a ghetto-dweller, trod to walk away, leave, weed of wisdom and chalice (by analogy with Holy Communion) marijuana, ganja (regarded as a sacred herb). Rasta word-play includes the etymology Jah mek ya (God made here) for Jamaica, and the adaptations blindjaret for cigarette (pronounced ‘see-garet’) and higher-stand in preference to understand.
"RASTA TALK." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rasta-talk
"RASTA TALK." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved December 11, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rasta-talk
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