Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Leave Jamaican Patois alone

Published:Friday | November 15, 2019 | 12:48 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Jamaican Patios is like salt and/or sugar. Some use it a little, some use it in moderation, and some use it a lot. It’s also like playing music loudly. There’s a time and place for it. All the talk over the years about teaching Patois, teaching in Patois, and, at the high school and tertiary levels, writing in Patois, is unnecessary, unwarranted, and untenable. Not to mention, highly impractical.

First, Jamaican Patois does not need to be formally taught because it is a natural part of our culture that every native-born Jamaican becomes exposed to whether he or she likes it or not and learns to speak and communicate with, organically.

Second, teaching a class of students in Patois would be doing those students, particularly at the primary and secondary levels of the Jamaican education system, a disservice. Why? Because it would cripple or severely weaken those students’ ability to learn, grasp, communicate in, and, eventually, master the English language.

Third, reading and/or writing in Jamaican Patois is like trying to chew a ‘Busta backbone’ – a very difficult task.

If something is not broken, there’s no need to fix it. Leave Jamaican Patois – the native, organic, and beloved language of our country and people – alone. Stop trying to mold it in ways that only serve to diminish its purpose, put it in places where it doesn’t belong, and force it to be something that it is not.

PATRICK GALLIMORE