A survey conducted by Big 7 Travel set out to find the 50 sexiest accents in the world, and according to its results, the Jamaican accent ranked Number 17 among the 50, with the top five sexiest accents determined as, in order, the Kiwi accent of New Zealanders, the South African accent, the Irish accents, the Italian accent, and the Australian accent.
So why do Jamaicans sound the way they do when they speak? Jamaica’s official language is “Patois,” which is pronounced, “pat-wah.” It is derived from the connection Jamaica has with Akan, a country in West Africa and is a mix of the African Creole language and English. While there is a general Caribbean accent, Jamaicans tend to have an accent that is more distinct and is based on the tones, inflections, and mix of the previously mentioned languages. Also, Jamaica had significant exposure to other cultures during the slave trade of the colonial period, and as enslaved people, Jamaicans adapted to the accents and languages heard from owners and overseers on plantations. These included English, Spanish, and African.
Jamaicans usually begin their schooling with preschool at the age of two, and the main language they are taught is English. It is common for children to speak English while at school, and then use Patois at home. The use of the English language in Jamaica is typically reserved for work environments. Patois is viewed as being a more casual and relaxed language than English and is spoken at family gatherings and other social events.
The combination of English, Spanish, and African languages coupled with the intensity and passion of Jamaican speakers results in the Jamaican accent, which is English broken down and combined with these other languages. Different communities in Jamaica have notably different accents, depending on their location on the island. Individuals who live in Kingston have a different accent than those living in Portland.
Simply put, the Jamaican accent arose from the mix of languages spoken by people of the many cultures that met on the island.
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