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I saw this video a while ago and I thought it was a pretty compelling demonstration of the fact that the way a person speaks can tell you much more about them than the way they look.

 

A lot of the comments on this video question whether or not the accent is fake.  To verify, I asked a friend from work, who was born in and spent most of his life in Ocho Rios.  He thought it was pretty funny that everyone was surprised there were white people born and raised in Jamaica (“of course there are white people, why wouldn’t there be?”), and this clip tickled him so much.  He laughed and applauded his answers, and said yes of course that’s a real Jamaican right there.  What’s interesting though is that it wasn’t the accent that confirmed it for him.  He pointed out that the answers the man was giving, about his favorite food, his favorite thing about Jamaica, etc., could only have come from a native Jamaican.  He also confirmed that Yellowman is objectively the correct answer to “who is your favorite reggae artist?” 🙂

He was also kind enough to translate for me.  Yes, this guy is speaking Jamaican English, and not a creole or patois that would be completely unintelligible, but I still needed a translator.  Accents are fascinating that way, don’t you think?

[P.S. if you click through to that description of Jamaican English it points out that speakers tend to have an Irish-like intonation, which you really can hear in this clip!  I thought that was pretty interesting too.]