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LOOKA LEW: Not so Gr8 students

Eric Lewis, [email protected]

LOOKA LEW: Not so Gr8 students

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SHE ASKED ME, “Lew, you buying a hem fuh Christmas?”

“A hem?” I asked, “what is a hem?”

“You don’t eat hem?” she asked me.

Well, since I had never eaten “hem” in my life, all I could do was to ask her to describe this hem, because maybe I had eaten it before but knew it by another name.

It was then a co-worker, who was listening to the conversation, laughed and said, ‘man lew, she mean HAM!”

“Yes, that is what I said,” she replied, “I asked you if you aint buying a hem for Christmas.”

That was bout 25 years ago, and I was working some place with nuff people from St Philip, and I realised that is how a lot of them used to talk.

Of course, Red Plastic Beg, not “Bag” but “Beg” was their favourite calypsonian, and while we from St Michael would say, “my hand hurting me,” my St Philip co-workers would say, “me hend duh hut me.”

But that is Barbados, as small as we are, when you hear some people talking, they does sound like them come from another country.

And don’t talk bout them people from St Lucy at all, them got them own language and accent up there, when them talking it does sound like them singing. No lie, I would listen to St Lucy people talk all day.

Yes, we Bajan dialect real sweet and some of the accents we have from parish to parish does make it sweeter.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should be able to speak Standard English, ’cause I believe that there is a time and place for using dialect.

That is why I does cringe when I hear some of our young sportspeople speaking when being interviewed. Honestly, it might sound harsh but I does can’t believe that some of them went to school. And I know, if you can’t speak proper English, then you ain’t gine be able to write it neither.

Which brings me to this, with all these cellphones around, texting is now one of the most popular ways of communicating, especially by the young people, and in order to save time when typing, texting has its own unique language.

For instance, if you want to say, “I will see you tomorrow night, so I will talk to you later”, you would type (text) it like this; “C U 2moro nite, ttyl”. And that is all well and good, except that schoolchildren are now writing like that in the classroom. It is true.

So right now, we are producing a crop of children, who don’t like to read, they can’t speak the Queen’s English, and to make it worse, they are now writing in the classroom using text messaging slang.

I have many teacher friends, and they told me it is a becoming a serious problem. You give some children an essay to write and it is as though they are texting with their friends.

If they gine write the word “great”, they writing “Gr8”. If they gine write “you are” it is U R and if they gine write the phrase “by the way”, they writing, “BTW”.

It is so bad, that I understand that some students doing CXC exams are even writing like that.

And what is even worse, I hear it is now turning up on job applications. Well, well, well, all I can say is, OMG! (That means, oh my God).

Anyhow, have a happy independence, ttyl. See ya.


Email: ma[email protected]