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We Will Finally Understand What They Are Saying In Reggae Songs!

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A dancehall dictionary endorsed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica Lexicography Project is currently being researched for publication in four languages in an attempt to profit from the internationalisation of dancehall.It will take five years to complete and include a team of four translators one editor and one research assistant, Joseph Farquharson told intellectuals at Symposium 2010 within the Department of Liberal Studies, University of Technology on Thursday. Farquharson said it will be the first such publication by linguists whilst asserting that that the previous two known dancehall dictionaries did not adhere to rigourous scholarship. They include The Original Dancehall Dictionary by Joan Williams published in 1995 and The Official Dancehall dictionary by Chester Francis-Jackson. The problems of the existing dictionaries included out-dated “slanguage” and ambiguous or non-lexical definitions, said Farquharson, an advanced doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of West Indies, Mona who holds a MPhil in European Literature (Spanish) from the University of Cambridge in the UK. The dictionary will not only have phonetic pronunciations but include sentences which utilise the defined word. For instance, “the gal dem a bawl fi mi anaconda” would be translated to “the girls are [crazy] about my big d*&^”, he stated.

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