seussIt’s not just patwa that is linguistically different in Jamaica. Even in formal English, there are some keen differences. One that catches my ear every time is the use of the word “persons.”

In Canadian English it is a rarely used word – “person” is singular and “people” is plural; there is seldom need for a third option.

In Jamaican English (and my Barbadian colleague uses the same), “person” is singular, “persons” is more than one individual, and the less commonly used “people” is only used as a collective noun, as in the country motto “out of many, one people.”

Advertisements