Language is Rather Important to Rastafarians...
According to Joseph Owens in Dread: The Rastafarians of Jamaica; Rastafarians also value speech, as it allows them to feel closer to God (Owens, 1979).
Language can be extremely important in a community, because of its ability to reflect a people’s beliefs (Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, n.d.). In the Jamaican Rastafarian community, the language used is a language that, according to Pollard (2000), is an evolving one. The language, a variation of English, is known to most Caribbean people as Patwa, and is a result of the enslaved Africans trying to preserve parts of their native tongues despite having to speak English (Pollard, 2000). This combination was “African in rhythm and English in interpretation” (Dubb, 2012, para. 15). To many people outside of the Caribbean, Rastafarian sentence structure may seem odd, however, there is a reason for their word-substitution and order.
To Rastafarians, it is important to have a language that is positive and uplifting, which results in their use of vocabulary that was a little different from the English language. For example, when certain words have negative connotation, they may be slightly changed. Examples given by Dubb (2012) include using “understand” instead of “overstand”, or “livicate” instead of “dedicate.” Rastafarians also believe that there is “I” in everything, and symbolize that by changing words like “manifest” to“I-nifest”, or “banana” to “Inana” (Dubb, 2012).
Jamaican Rastafarian Giving an Interview about Herbs and Other Plants growing from the Earth. This Gives an Example of their Dialect.