Jamaican Creole Syntax

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 2, 1966 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 164 pages
Originally published in 1966, Beryl Loftman Bailey's book was one of the first on the Jamaican Creole language, its origins and its influence on the teaching of English in Jamaica. A native Jamaican herself, Bailey's personal experience of both learning and later teaching English in the Caribbean was a springboard to her interest in the problems of language interference in contact situations. She challenged a notion prevalent throughout English teachers in Caribbean at the time that Creole was a 'dialect' not a language and therefore need not be considered in teaching. The social implications of this view are also explored. Bailey's detailed analysis of Jamaican Creole phonology, morphology, kernel sentence structure and simple and double-based transformations provided valuable insights into the foundations of the language and its educational implications.

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About the author (1966)

Eleanor Bailey was 29 when "Idioglossia "was first published. If that seems young, consider that she’ s been writing since she was seven. In an interview in the Toronto weekly "eye," she joked, “ I was a late starter. I didn’ t commit to being a novelist until the age of seven – before that I was half thinking of being the owner of a sweet shop. Until I found out this didn’ t mean I could eat sweets all day… . Now, at 30, and with friends who still don’ t know what they want to do with their lives, I realize how lucky I was to be so sure so early.”
Eleanor (pronounced Elea"ner" not "nor") Bailey grew up in London and received her university degrees there in English and Journalism. She worked for ten years as a journalist before selling "Idioglossia" to Doubleday in the U.K. At the time, the book was only half-written. Still, Bailey had achieved renown in Britain as a journalist who had written for nearly every major newspaper in the country and who published a weekly column in the" Independent on Sunday "called “ The Life Doctor.” As a journalist, she has also written for "Marie Claire" and "Vogue," and has interviewed everyone from pop stars to porn stars to healers and scientists, and even a “ Hong Kong rat expert.”
A dedicated researcher as well as a writer, Bailey has done some “ very interesting things” to better understand herself and the world: “ I once stayed in an entirely white room for 48 hours with white food, no noise, no clock, to see if it would have, as research suggested, a positive effect on my mental state.”
Reading about the unhinged women in "Idioglossia, "onemight wonder what the author’ s family is like. While Bailey maintains that, unlike the characters in her book, she had a very good relationship with her mother, the theme of mental illness, particularly as it can be passed through families, does have its roots in her own history. “ Throughout my family there’ s almost every kind of mental illness you’ d want to mention, ” she has said. Yet, she finds the fact that insanity might be passed down through families – just like red hair – “ rather comforting.” Madness, she says, is “ part of our society, and in some ways a sane reaction to a very insane world.”
When asked in a radio interview whether she felt there was a connection between madness and writing, Bailey admitted that writing the book was “ stressful” and that she was on anti-depressants during that process. However, she doesn’ t believe that writing is therapeutic in the way that, for instance, therapy is. “ It’ s like if you go to a therapist and bring out your deep complexes and your inner workings, a good therapist will try to put it all back again at the end, whereas if you write a novel, you bring everything out like that, and afterwards you just go on to something else, and so all your stuff is out there. I think it leaves you a bit weird-feeling.”
Where, then, does happiness or comfort come from? Sometimes from families, which she feels are “ the most infuriating and probably the most inspirational thing, ” and, unsurprisingly, from books – particularly children’ s books. “ Children’ s books often have lasting relevance tolife, ” she has commented. “ They are so much more black and white than adults’ books. Books you read as a child stay with you forever. I am continually consoled by funny and touching moments from books that I love. In bad times, one relies on them even more.”
What will her next book bring? There is the suggestion that it may not end as happily as the last. With "Idioglossia," Bailey felt pressure from her friends – who read the book before anyone else – not to have things turn out too terribly. “ I didn’ t have the heart to be too mean, ” she revealed. “ Truman Capote likened finishing a novel to taking your child into the yard and shooting it. It sounds ridiculous, but since you spend more time with these characters than with your real friends and family, you can’ t help but get personally involved. But that was last time, ” she vows. “ In the new novel I plan to be a bit tougher.”
Bailey currently lives in Germany with her husband of five years. She has been inspired enough by the country to set her next novel in Berlin. It appears, however, that she has been taking in the country in a more private sort of way, rather than “ frolicking with the natives.” “ Conversation is inevitably stumbling, less interesting, more of an effort, ” she wrote in a piece for the "Guardian," “ I spend more time on my own, which I do happily.

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