Without doubt, those of us who have mastered the standard version of a tongue (in this case, English), can and do get annoyed when we hear it being ‘massacred’. But, usually, we’re making too much fuss, because we know what people are trying to say, even when they are chewing the words like tough leather.
Jamaicans have done a real number on English, to the extent that I, for one, think that what most of us speak is NOT English, but another language. If you want to say, it’s a dialect, then I’m not going to argue the toss about it today. But, if you want to make up your mind, you can base your views on this nice article in The Atlantic, or another good piece in The Economist. You can take your pick of the social-political or more linguistic arguments of why some are ‘languages’ and others ‘dialects. If you really know Jamaica and Jamaicans, you can figure out which way the arguments fall.
Anyway, some Jamaicans, this week were getting a bit excerised by hearing what is our common pronunciation of the word ‘violence’ as ‘voylence’. It’s not just in Jamaica, as I’ve heard it too, in The Bahamas and Barbados, so we can wonder if it’s another of those forms of expression that fitted how words were used centuries ago, which we still hold on to. You can do the research, if you like. I’m hoping to have a beer and eat a nice pie (or an ice pie?) with my daughter.
So, the thing is, we Jamaicans should drop some of the squirming. We say ‘cerfitikit’ and everyone knows we mean ‘certificate’. We say ‘lang’ and mean ‘long’. We say ‘wa’ when we mean ‘what’. We also have words that no one else has such as ‘bumbo’, which is defined as an alcoholic drink, but we know has much to do with the backside–which is funny, because it’s the proprietary name of a potty-training seat. (Did Jamaica once again miss out on a piece of intellectual property?)
So, I’m not going to strain my brain about those who fight with how to say ‘violence’. I’m having enough trouble with Americans who say ‘wicked’ when they mean ‘wicket’, or ‘gudder’ when they mean ‘gutter’–and I hear little screeching about how Americans dont speak English. By the way, there’s a good explanation for why the former colonists have this trait. There’s a linguistic explanation for that, too, but I will let you do some leg work. It’s the weekend, so get up and run!
My youngest and I used to listen to the radio while driving and count these ‘dd’ instead of ‘tt’ words and see how many of them we really misunderstood, in the context they were being used; it was often a lot. But, Americans are powerful and they will get the bedder of us, if while beading us into the gudder. Their way of speaking is truly a thing of bewdy.
So, let’s put our energy more into finding solutions to crime, than finding how to stop people saying ‘voylence’ 🙂
I’m hoping to take in a flim later with my oldest daughter and we may find somewhere nice for brunch, where they serve schwims. Maybe, we’ll find a nice chawklit cake for dessert, somewhere, and have that with some carfee. Tomorrow, her sister arrives with my wife and we will be a one happy fambly, again. 🙂