Thu | Jun 29, 2017

'Mandeya' gone gone

Published:Sunday | December 8, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Carolyn Cooper

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

When Nelson Mandela did come a Jamaica inna 1991, wi gi im one new name. An it write down inna glory. Wi tek out di 'l' outa Mandela an wi put een a 'y': Mandeya. One degeh-degeh letter! An wi turn up Mandela name. Wi mek up a whole-a sentence inna fi wi Jamaica language - Man de ya! Di big man deh right ya so pon di rock. An wi glad fi see im an Winnie so til!

A so wi dweet. Wi no romp wid language. Wi know how fi tek i do wa we want it fi do. Di big problem wi have wid language inna Jamaica a di System. Yes, di System. Di said same colonial system we Mandela spend im whole life a fight. Inna Jamaica, di System lick out gainst fi wi owna language, mek wi feel seh it a no nothing. An wi a no smaddy. Wi come een like mongrel dog. Di lowest a di low. Wi can bark an mek up whole heap a noise. But dat a no no language. Dat a one bruck up sinting weh can't fix.

Mandela done warn wi bout dis language business. Im seh, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." Seet deh! An if yu tink dat too high fi fi wi langyage, seet ya: "If yu talk to a man inna one language weh im understand, it go a im head. If yu talk to im inna fi im owna language, it go a im heart."

HEART LANGUAGE INNA SCHOOL

A long time now plenty a wi a seh wi ha fi use di pikni dem heart language inna school. Dat a if wi want dem understand wa a gwaan. Dat a di ongle way di pikni dem head an dem heart a go work together. Mi no know wa mek Ministry a Education can't see dat. Wa mek ministry head so tough? An im heart so hard? It no right.

Wa mek pikni ha fi a suffer inna school? Teacher a mek plenty pikni feel like seh dem a eedyat through dem naa learn nutten much. A di teacher dem a di eedyat. Pikni can't learn nutten if dem no understand wa teacher a seh.

Yu si dem dog-heart yute weh naa no rispek fi nobody? A school dweet. Dem never know wa a gwaan inna class, dem start twist an turn, an a so dem get bad name seh dem a mek trouble. An dem gwaan an gwaan an dem get bada an bada. By di time dem get big an get pitch outa school, you can't talk to dem inna no language. No head, no heart.

Wi ha fi start talk to di pikni dem inna fi dem real-real heart language. When dem a pikni. Wi cyaan wait so til di dog-heart language force on pon dem. Dem never start off as no dog. Dem a smadi pikni. Bot som a dem get so much batter bruising, it turn dem heart.

Mandeya no de ya. Im kom an im gaan. Bot im lef plenti nalij. Ed an aat ha fi wok tugeda. Wi naa figet dat. An a nuff more legacy im lef. Give thanks! Waak gud, Mr Mandela! An gud dopi waak wid yu!


PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

Wen Nelson Mandela did kom a Jamieka ina 1991, wi gi im wan nyuu niem. An it rait dong ina gluori. Wi tek out di 'l' outa Mandela an wi put iin a 'y': Mandeya. Wan dege-dege leta! An wi ton op Mandela niem. Wi mek op a uola sentens ina fi wi Jamieka langwij - Man de ya! Di big man de rait ya so pan di rak. An wi glad fi si im an Winnie so til!

A so wi dwiit. Wi no ramp wid langwij. Wi nuo ou fi tek i du wa wii waant it fi du. Di big prablem wi av wid langwij ina Jamieka a di Sistim. Yes, di Sistim. Di sed siem koluoniyal Sistim we Mandela spen im uol laif a fait. Ina Jamieka, di Sistim lik out gens fi wi uona langwij, mek wi fiil se it a no notn. An wi a no smadi. Wi kom iin laik mangrel daag. Di luowes a di luo. Wi kyan baak an mek op uol iip a naiz. Bot dat a no no langwij. Dat a wan brok op sinting we kyaahn fiks.

Mandela don waan wi bout dis langwij bizniz. Im se, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." Siit de! An if yu tingk dat tuu ai fi fi wi langwij, siit ya: "If yu taak tu a man ina wan langwij we im andastan, it go a im ed. If yu taak tu im ina fi im uona langwij, it go a im aat."

AAT LANGWIJ INA SKUUL

A lang taim nou plenti a wi a se wi afi yuuz di pikni dem aat langwij ina skuul. Dat a if wi waahn dem andastan wa a gwaan. Dat a di ongl wie di pikni dem ed an dem aat a go wok tugeda. Mi no nuo wa mek Minischri a Edikieshan kyaahn si dat. Wa mek minischri ed so tof? An im aat so aad? It no rait. Wa mek pikni ha fi a sofa ina skuul? Tiicha a mek plenti pikni fiiI laik se dem a iidyat chruu dem naa lorn notn moch. A di tiicha dem a di iidyat. Pikni kyaahn lorn notn if dem no andastan wa tiicha a se.

Yu si dem daag-aat yuut we naa no rispek fi nobadi? A skuul dwiit. Dem neva nuo wa a gwaan ina klaas, dem staat twis an torn an a so dem get bad niem se dem a mek chrobl. An dem gwaan an gwaan an get bada an bada. Bai di taim dem get big an get pitch outa skuul, yu kyaahn taak tu dem ina no langwij. No ed, no aat.

Wi ha fi staat taak tu di pikni dem ina fi dem riil-riil aat langwij. Wen dem a pikni. Wi kyaahn wiet so til di daag-aat langwij fors aan pan dem. Dem neva staat aaf az no daag. Dem a smadi pikni. Bot som a dem get so moch bata bruuzn, it ton dem aat.

Mandeya no de ya. Im kom an im gaan. Bot im lef plenti nalij. Ed an aat ha fi wok tugeda. Wi naa figet dat. An a nof muor legisi im lef. Giv tangks! Waak gud, Mr Mandela! An gud dopi waak wid yu!

Carolyn Cooper is a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Visit her bilingual blog at http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.