Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Blin'ty

Leafing through a book on the early days of Rastafarianism, I came across the word "blin'ty" in an interview with someone speaking Jamaican patois. Blin'ty? Is that some kind of Russian pastry? Apparently not.

It seems that Rastas have developed some rather interesting ways of reflecting their beliefs in their speech. Usages like "I an' I" are well-known, but less widespread are avoidance terms where the opposite of a word is substituted. The people of the city, from a Rasta perspective, are "Babylon"; they don't see the truth, so why should the word "city" contain the sound of "see"? (In a Jamaican pronunciation, anyway...) Rather, they substitute the more appropriate syllable "blind"...

2 comments:

Ben Zimmer said...

Other examples of Rasta reanalysis:

"downpression" for "oppression"
"overstood" for "understood"

These are mentioned in this article about Jamaican Patois.

Lameen Souag said...

Good link! There doesn't seem to be much online about Rasta patois...