Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Mary Zeigler - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Marti Singer

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynée Gaillet


Opposed to the repressive socio-economic political climate that resulted in the impoverishment of masses of Jamaicans, the Jamaican Rastafarians developed a language to resist societal oppression. This study examines that language--Dread Talk--as resistive language. Having determined that the other variations spoken in their community--Standard Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole--were inadequate to express their dispossessed circumstances, the Rastafarians forged an identity through their language that represents a resistant philosophy, music and religion. This resistance not only articulates their socio-political state, but also commands global attention. This study scrutinizes the lexical, phonological, and syntactical structures of the poetic music discourse of Dread Talk, the conscious deliberate fashioning of a language that purposefully expresses resistance to the political and social ideology of their native land, Jamaica.