Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Teaching Patois in schools isnot wrong

Published:Monday | January 31, 2011 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I think Rodwin Green's attempt, in his letter to the editor on Sunday, January 30, to make a case for not having Patois taught in Jamaican schools was not all that convincing.

Patois is unique, yes, but it is not just part of our cultural heritage, it is the Jamaican language. Patois is what identifies us as being uniquely Jamaican. I observe carefully from my three children that one does not need to be taught Patois to grasp the command of the language. It comes naturally.

To give the impression that the future is oh so bleak if Patois is embraced and taught in schools is a fallacy. The fact is, many persons have come to Jamaica from other nations and have been taught Patois, and it has helped them to identify with Jamaicans.

it is normal

The reality is that it is natural and easy to speak Patois, but writing it - like any other language, of course - presents a challenge. Residents of every parish may have different accents, but this, too, is normal.

What I think our learned linguists need to do is to go about standardising the main brand of Patois. This can be done through making more publications available in Patois (for example, the Bible) and teaching it in our schools, as well as giving it full authenticity as a language just like French, Spanish and English.

Do not give our children the impression that something is wrong with speaking or learning Patois. This contributes to the mental slavery from which we need to free ourselves as a people.

I am, etc.,

DAVE MCFARLANE

nerdav@anngel.com.jm

Christiana PO