Letters & Opinion

Of Dis and Dat

Image of Nahdjla Bailey
By Nahdjla Bailey

SAINT LUCIANS, the word is not ‘dis’, the word is not ‘dat’. It’s not ‘duh’ for ‘the’. It is not ‘dese’, not ‘dose’ for ‘those’. Not ‘dem’, not ‘dere’, not ‘den’ for ‘then’, not ‘dan’ for ‘than’, neither ‘eider’ nor ‘neider’, not ‘feader’ for ‘feather’, not ‘weader’ ‘for ‘weather’, not togeder’. Not ‘brudder’, not ‘mudder’ not ‘fadder’ not ‘grandmudder’, not ‘grandfadder’. There are more, of course, but let’s face it, I don’t have the entire VOICE to myself, do I? I know there’ll be those who would like to think they aren’t guilty. To be sure, they’d get the surprise of their lives if they listened to a recording of themselves. Or perhaps not, as it is felt by language experts that most offenders either cannot ‘hear’ themselves pronouncing those words incorrectly or simply haven’t a clue that what they are saying is incorrect. But, my, oh my, they really do come down on one (read ‘me’) like a ton of lead bricks! And the children. What about the children? What chance do they have to escape? As ever, my thoughts turn to them.

Happily, few though they may be, not everyone is thus afflicted, and one such person happens to be – wait for it – a politician! Yes, I know it’s hard to believe but that’s a fact. Recently a friend called and said, “Put on DBS; your representative is on.” I did, and stayed throughout the NML programme. Such a fine guest was Hon. Stephenson King: well-spoken, neither a “disser” nor a “datter”, clear in his presentation, correct in his pronunciation, articulate. Humble. His content certainly informative and interesting.A career to be proud of. In sum, he did himself proud. And, oh yes, my little car thanks him for what he is doing with the roads.

Now, isn’t it sad that many of our holders of university degrees do not know how to correctly characterise them in writing. All and sundry seem to be anxious to include Honours as part of the description of their degree even when they have not pursued an Honours degree – which is the only time they should be using the word in that context. The word ‘Honours’ is a pre-existing element which speaks to the type of degree, and applies before the fact of taking up the degree, not after. I would like to believe that the omnipresent culprits will up and do some research to discover what I’m on about… but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Next, Saint Lucian drivers, believe it or not, don’t appear to know that cars come with something called an indicator. And again, believe me, it’s not a high-tech feature reserved only for the latest wheels. Vehicles have come with it forever. The non-use of it at the opportune time can have dire consequences both for you and for others. I’ve just one thing to say about your non-use of the car indicator. If you are in your car and waiting at the exit of a side road in anticipation of being let on to the adjoining major road without having the courtesy to indicate your intention to the major road traffic on either one or the other side of the road, then for my part you would stay there forever. I surely wouldn’t be trying to figure out whether you want to turn left or right in order to accommodate you. No sah. It should be second nature for a driver to indicate right or left as indicated (pun not intended). Yet the same is true of those turning off the main road into a side road. But one wonders wheder dose datdoh know are taught duh correct fing by deir instructors and tested accordingly by deir examiners. With the significant increase in the number of cars on the road, this could turn out to be a grave (pun intended) problem.

But who cares? After all, the world still turns. So what?

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