Sun | Mar 29, 2020

Letter of the Day | Patois emblematic of Jamaicans' indiscipline

Published:Friday | October 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I disagree entirely with the position of The Gleaner as expressed in your editorial of Thursday, October 11, 2018, i.e., 'PEP in the universe of Patois' and similarly disagree if it is the new position of the shadow minister of education and new policy position of the party he represents.

Patois is one of the best representations of the biggest scourge that is holding back the  progress of our people: indiscipline.

No system or society can make progress without agreed and accepted rules of engagement. Why do I link Patois with our rejection of accepted social norms, the 'culcha' of crudeness, and a high crime rate? Patois is the refusal to subscribe to the accepted rules of engagement in communication just like the following examples of indiscipline:

- Disobeying the road code.

- Dumping garbage on our roads from moving vehicles.

- Vendors' refusal to operate within the markets.

I think the former minister of education recognises it and said it best in 2012: "The language of employment, of instruction, of professionalism, the language of worldview is the English language, not anything else."

I have no doubt that some of the proponents of Patois are genuine in their assertion that it should be elevated to the status of a language but with all respect to their scholarship, they are mistaken. They are honest and well intentioned but very wrong!

Today, in my opinion, those proposing what some regard as a retrograde step and another needless hurdle to our advancement to the promise of our 100th birthday lie in a similar space well intentioned, but wrong.