Dr. Nickesha Dawkins


Dr. Nickesha Dawkins
Title: Lecturer in Linguistics
Department: LLL
Discipline: Linguistics
Qualifications: I completed my Bachelors, M.Phil (Upgraded to Ph.D) and Ph.D degrees at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. While at the Masters level, I studied for a semester in the summer of 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). I was exposed to a speech analysis software called praat; this was very instrumental in the analysis of the data used in my Ph.D. Thesis, which is titled:  Gender as a Sociophonetic Issue in Jamaican Dancehall Lyrics.

Contact: Room:  X5
Tel:   (246) 417-4420
Fax:  (246) 424-0634
E-mail: nickesha.dawkins@cavehill.uwi.edu
Biography: At the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies  I also lectured in the Department of Language Linguistics and Philosophy (DLLP) part time for 8 years while studying.

I am currently a Lecturer of Linguistics in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Research: Thesis Profile:

My research considers how gender, identity and style may account for the phonological feature selections demonstrated by Jamaican dancehall artists.  The initial focus of the study is on vowel use by male and female artists in the music genre of Jamaican dancehall. The literature examined suggests that, when an option is available, men show a preference for back and low vowels, while women show a preference for high front vowels. Back and Low vowels are used by both male and female artists when targeting men, and high front and high mid front vowels are used by both male and female artists when targeting women. It was also observed that women target mainly male audiences, and this appears to be linked to the dominance of men in the music industry in Jamaica. Support in the literature for this account includes biological and social explanations for observed differences in male and female linguistic behavior; these include focus on the size of the vocal tract, F0, F1 & F2 measurements as well as sociolinguistic issues such as acts of identity, style, social networks and a community of practice.

Publications: Dawkins, Nickesha. (2013). She Se Dis, Him Se Dat: Examining Gender-based Vowel Use in Jamaican
Dancehall. In D. Hope    (Ed.), International Reggae: Current and Future Trends in Jamaican Popular Music (pp. 124-166). Kingston, Jamaica: Pelican

Dawkins, Nickesha. (2009). “Gender – based Vowel Use in Jamaican Dancehall Lyrics”. Sargasso, I, 95-114
Additional Information:
I am a writer and performer of Jamaican Dancehall music. I have performed on the stages of Reggae Sumfest and Sting  among many others over the past 14 years, and released one album in 2011 called “Diamond In Da Ruff”.

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Faculty of Humanities and Education
Telephone: (246) 417-4385/87 Fax: (246) 424-0634 E-mail: humanities@cavehill.uwi.edu