An Optimality-Theoretical Analysis of a Novel Morphological Process in Rasta Talk


The speech of members of the Rastafari community (originating in Jamaica) exhibits various linguistic innovations, including garden-variety extensions of productive morphological patterns to produce neologisms like upful “positive” or livity “lifestyle”, as well as examples of punning/word-playlike politricks “politics”. This speech variety, often called Rasta Talk also exhibits examples of more unusual linguistic innovations, known as ‘I-words’, such as Iration “creation” and Yood “food”, both part of larger systems of morphological transformations. I present an Optimality Theoretic treatment which handles apparent exceptional patterns in I-word creation.

Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah
Benjamin Slade
Assistant Professor of Linguistics