The Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, will be leading the national conversation on the appropriate positioning of the Jamaican language in official spaces.
The discussion, under the slogan ‘Make Jamaican Official… Just Do it’, is the unit’s contribution to the 100 days of activities planned to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the birth of cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, popularly known as ‘”Miss Lou”.
Coming out of the discussion, the Unit is hoping that the Government will move to make the Jamaican language official, alongside English.
Professor Emeritus, Jamaican Language Unit, Hubert Devonish, said that a meeting will be held with “friends” of the Jamaican language on September 26, to plan the public discussion, which is scheduled to begin October 1.
He said that on November 1, the Language Unit will launch a 40-day online petition “to ask Parliament to pass legislation to grant official status to the Jamaican language alongside English”.
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This will be followed by a symposium at UWI on December 10, “which will pull together all the discussions that we would have had with the groups with a view to putting together a report,” he noted.
“This report, we hope, backed by hundreds of thousands of signatures from the online petition, will represent our gift to the Government and eventually the Parliament that will form the basis for legislation that would grant official status to the Jamaican language, alongside English,” Professor Devonish said.