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The official language of Jamaica is English, although many Jamaicans also speak a patois called (wait for it) Patois. Even when Jamaicans were speaking the most careful version of English, it was sometimes difficult to understand them because of their West Indian accents and certain vocabulary words peculiar to their dialect. It didnít help that I am increasingly hard of hearing. And thatís just when they were speaking to us. When they started conversing among themselves, it was easier just to tune out, as I could catch only snatches.

Barney often took the opportunity to read the newspaper, the Daily Gleaner, and he frequently commented on its different way of expressing things. Since I communicate daily with people from around the globe, many of them in the UK or Australia, this difference did not strike me so forcefully, but the British influence is still very strong.