Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Letter of the Day | Metathesiophobia and patois

Published:Thursday | January 23, 2020 | 12:20 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

If we are going to be honest, we would admit that the resistance being presented against Patois as an official language has less to do with any social or consequential economic handicap than the fear of having it invading our cultivated tastes and so-called values.

There is an elitist intransigence that rises against anything not considered refined and classy. Much the same way that members of the aristocratic class would eagerly erect walls against the intrusion and infection of downtown and ghetto communities.

To have any creation of barbaric and coarse people gaining social acceptance is the greatest of affronts among high-end people. And so, although reggae music may have gained world recognition, accolades and provides much foreign exchange, it is often sneezed at by the courtly and beautiful people as bugguyagga expressions and headache noise. It’s of interest that the very same descriptive labels escape calypso as a music with no less raw forceful and aggressive mouthings, but which has the full approval of the aristocratic class, because maybe it’s free from the Patois expressions.

The problems mounted so far against the disadvantages of Patois as a formal language are just convenient masking of the real issue. Most Patois objectors would tell you, ‘Ih just nuh soun gud! It nuh soun rite!’ We are shackled to a fear of international disapproval. Maybe Patois is too clear – maybe too much like a mirror than makes us wince to confront ourselves there.

And so, we curse the mirror instead of looking into ourselves and evolve with the evolution of time change.

Homer Sylvester