Fri | Nov 24, 2017

Carolyn Cooper | Big up di Jamaican Language Unit

Published:Sunday | October 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

 

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

 

Dis ya year a 15 year since di Jamaican Language Unit (JLU) set up a UWI. An a nuff big tings di unit do inna da time ya. A Prof Hubert Devonish im in charge a di unit. An im come up wid nuff plan fi devel it up. Eena May 2001, Prof Devonish tek one big, big case to di joint select committee a Parliament bout di Charter of Rights. Im seh Govament ha fi pass one law fi stop fight gainst people sake a how dem talk. It no fair fi a discriminate gainst fi wi owna people through dem talk Jamaican.

Prof Devonish know seh nuff people eena Jamaica no understand English to dat. An dat a di language weh govament a use fi do all a fi dem official business. Dem no care who understand from who no understand. Me know seh a ongle when it come on to election time di politician dem come off a dem English high table. Dem know seh dem ha fi talk Jamaican fi look vote.

Anyhow, hear weh Prof Devonish tell Parliament. Dem fi set up one office fi deal wid di language business. Dem ha fi teach di people dem di proper way fi write Jamaican. An dem wi ha fi mek up nuff new word eena di Jamaican language fi sort out all a di special English word dem weh govament use fi do fi dem business, weh nuff people no understand.

An di language office ha fi go check pon Govament fi mek sure seh all a fi dem officer a talk to people eena di language weh dem understand: English or Jamaican. An di language office ha fi teach di Jamaican people bout all a dem ya issue. An a so The Jamaican Language Unit/Di Jamiekan Langwij Yuunit set up eena di Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy a UWI eena September 2002.

 

INTERNATIONAL CREOLE DAY

 

One a di big, big ting weh di JLU do, dem develop one Bilingual Education Project fi primary-school pikni eena grade one to four. Dem change over di reading book dem from English to Jamaican so di pikni dem could-a learn fi read an write eena di two language. An dem teach di teacher dem how fi read and write Jamaican. An di JLU get some a di school principal dem fi try di new system. Di pikni dem never mek fun fi learn fi read an write di two language dem. Mi see some a dem pon TV a show off. Mi proud a dem so til.

One next ting weh di JLU do, dem teach people how fi write an read national news eena Jamaican. Dat come on pon NewsTalk 93 FM. It sweet yu see! An me an Tyane Robinson did do one talk show, 'Big Tingz a Gwaan', eena Jamaican, pon di said same station.

Fi celebrate dem 15th birthday, di JLU a put on di 3rd Cassidy-Le Page Distinguished Lecture. Dem two man study fi wi Jamaican language an a dem put together di Dictionary of Jamaican English. Dis ya Thursday, mi a go gi di lecture at 7:15 p.m. a di UWI Law School, eena Lecture Room 1A. Hear weh mi a go talk bout, 'Disguise Up De English Language: Louise Bennett's Anansi Poetics'. Oonu fi come! It free. An Thursday a International Creole Day. Mek wi big up fi wi own-a language!

 

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

 

Dis ya ier a fiftiin ier sins di Jamaican Language Unit (JLU) set op a UWI. An a nof big tingz di unit du ina da taim ya. A Prof Hubert Devonish im in chaaj a di Unit. An im kom op wid nof plan fi divel it op. Iina Mie 2001, Prof Devonish tek wan big, big kies tu di joint select committee a Paaliment bout di Charter of Rights. Im se Govament a fi paas wan laa fi stap fait gens piipl siek a ou dem taak. It no fier fi a diskriminiet gens fi wi uona piipl chruu dem taak Jamiekan.

Prof Devonish nuo se nof piipl iina Jamieka no andastan Ingglish tu dat. An dat a di langwij we govament a yuuz fi du aal a fi dem ofishal bizniz. Dem no kya uu andastan fram uu no andastan. Mii nuo se a ongl wen it kom aan tu ilekshan taim di palitishan dem kum aaf a dem Ingglish ai tiebl. Dem nuo se dem a fi taak Jameikan fi luk vuot.

Eni ou, ier we Prof Devonish tel Paaliment. Dem fi set op wan afis fi dill wid di langwij bizniz. Dem a fi tiich di piipl dem di prapa wie fi rait Jamiekan. An dem wi a fi mek op nof nyuu word iina di Jamiekan langwij fi saat out di speshal Ingglish word dem we Govament yuuz fi du fi dem bizniz, we nof piipl no andastan.

An di langwij afis a fi go chek pan Govament fi mek shuor se aal a fi dem afisa a taak tu piipl iina di langwij we dem andastan: Ingglish ar Jamiekan. An di langwij afis a fi tiich di Jamiekan piipl bout aal a dem ya ishyu. An a so The Jamaican Language Unit/Di Jamiekan Langwij Yuunit set op iina di Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy a UWI iina Septemba 2002.

 

INTANASHANAL KRIYUOL DIE

 

Wan a di big, big ting we di JLU du, dem divelop wan Bilingual Education Project fi praimeri-skuul pikni iina gried 1 tu 4. Dem chienj uova di riidin buk dem fram Ingglish tu Jamiekan so di pikni dem kuda lorn fi riid an rait di tuu langwij dem. An dem tiich di tiicha dem ou fi riid an rait Jamiekan. An di JLU get som a di skuul prinsipal dem fi chrai di nyuu sistim. Di pikni dem neva mek fon fi lorn fi riid an rait iina di tuu langwij. Mi si som a dem pan TV a shuo aaf. Mi proud a dem so til.

Wan neks ting we di JLU du, dem tiich piipl ou fi rait an riid nashanal nyuuz iina Jamiekan. Dat kom aan pan NewsTalk 93 FM. It swiit yu si! An mii an Tyane Robinson did du wan taak shuo, &Big Tingz a Gwaan', iina Jamiekan, pan di sed siem stieshan.

Fi selibriet dem 15th bortdie, di JLU a put aan di 3rd Cassidy-Le Page Distinguished Lecture. Dem tuu man stodi fi wi Jamiekan langwij an a dem put tugeda di Dictionary of Jamaican English. Dis ya Torsde, mi a go gi di leckcha at 7:15 p.m. a di UWI Law School, iina Lecture Room 1A. Ier we mi a go taak bout, Disguise Up De English Language: Louise Bennett's Anansi Poetics'. Unu fi kom! It frii. An Torsde a Intanashanal Kriyuol Die! Mek wi big op fi wi uona langgwij!

- Carolyn Cooper, PhD is a specialist on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@

gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.