Lawd, mi head a hat me. Mi get somuch he-mail a cuss mi bout ow mi a try fi keep black people fram move up in life, an wha mak me nuh start rite inna Patwa, an ow Patwa a no reel language, and mi mussi mad fi tink sey Jumeikan dunce peeple reelly ago lern fi reed patwa wen dem c’yaant even reed simpl English. What a prekeh!

Mi reelly c’yaan undastan ow dem reddy fi tink di ressa di wirl bryta dan we. A so wi chupid? Outa di 6,900 langwij whey dem speek roun di wirl, a neerly 3,000 a dem hav dem owna bible. An ennytime di bible transilate inna enny langwij, it meen sey it stan up pan it ohn, an the peepl dem yujually realize sey anno Englsh dem a talk.  It mek dem moor seerius fi lern English, far it prove sey dem no talk it nun tall. Fi reel.

Enny weer els di plan announce, is pure cellibration. But wid we, o no!  Mi jus feel sey wi seem backward and dark wen it com to likkl progress, an wi nah go feel good bout wi Patwa, antill som  “farinna” com an studdy wi like lab rat and rite a book bout wi, an mek nuff money aafa wi. All we wi do, wen di book rite, is spen wi money by di book (parraps).  Jus like ow wi had was to wait antill di farinna dem aksep Bob Marley an reggeh music befoor wi disside sey we like it to.

Summa di poor pickney dem nevva eer English in dem life, but wen dem haffi lern it, wi a gwaan like dem talk it arreddy. Das ow dem ennup look so dunce, like dem a eediat. Wen dem com a farrin, dem tell di skool dem sey dem “speak English” arreddy, but me an yu and God no, sey dem nevva lern it good fram mawnin. So wen di teecha talk English pan-tap a di farrin aksent, de poor pickney dem no undastan nuttn. Dat mek sens to yu?

Wen mi was pickney, yu tink wi cooda evva bare-face fi speek Patwa inna my madda owse? Yu mad? Skool wirs. Wi ad was to hide or wait till wi a play wid wi fren dem. Nat in di owse! Den all the raydio program dem was in reel English, no disya English-an-Patwa mix-up ting weh dem a call English nowadays. An yu evva eer wen dem intavyu teecha pan raydio or TV? Dem demself mix up dem gramma, an di noun an di verb dem a fite gainst eech adda. An a dem a teech! Dem ya pickney, God help dem, far dem no get no good example. 

Den som a di eddicated peepl dem a criticize: “Patwa is not standardized. How will words be spelled?”  Oonu haffi undastan seh smaddy haffi mek di choice fi ow di word dem spell. Das di reezn fi dikshanerry, fi sho wi ow di wird dem fi spell. Das wat “standardization” meen. Di gramma dehdeh areddy; all dem haffi do is mek it official.  Ef di pickney dem undastan di gramma fi di langwij weh dem talk evryday, it wi eesia fi dem lern di gramma fi a new one. Wich langwij dem lern fi speek firs? English? So ow com wi a prittend sey English is not dem seccon langwij?  Aye sah.


An mi haffi aaks oonu dis: Ow com in Jumeika wi hav moor church pan moor street corna dan enny weer els, in relation to wi size an in relation to di population, but wi so bad an lawless an hav di most murder in di wirl? Me tink is bicauz haaf a di peepl hoo a reed bible, c’yaan andastan wey dem a reed. Dem “comprehension” skill no good. Ef dem c’yaan reed nowadays English, ow wi expek dem fi reed plus undastan King James English fram 400 yeer ago, eeh? Wi haffi separate English fram patwa, so we no get confuse and mix dem up! A dat a di biggis prablem!


Wi corna dark an wi blod gwain to bitta, if wi dohn pull up an studdy wi misteik dem. An carrek dem quik quik.

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

Categories: Opinion

Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

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