Letters & Opinion

Of Dis and Dat Part 19

Image of Nahdjla Bailey
By Nahdjla Bailey

DOESN’T the recently intensified, hypocritical, populist rhetoric from certain politicos on the so-called left (seriously, do they even know where they fall along the spectrum, or is it all simply situational and a matter of convenience?) turn you off even more than usual? They are so verytrumpified (my word; but you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?). Are they taking notes, or what?

Anyway, I think I shall stick with the grammar theme this week, as it is sorely needed, given the ‘bullets’ we’ve been receiving via the Box from those who reside there, those who visit from time to time and those self-same politicos who should do both us and themselves a favour and limit their appearances to the absolute minimum.

Here we go: ‘European’. The word is not pronounced u-ROPE-ian. It is U-ruh-pee-un. And ‘Category’ is not caTIGory. It’s CAT-igory. When is the last time you heard anyone in these parts voice the word ‘criterion’? Never. Instead we hear, “The most important criteria is Originality.” That should be criterion for it is a singular noun; ‘criteria’ is plural. Calypsonians, debaters, judges and other such beings, please take note. Then, why is a common word like ‘children’ pronounced so sloppily, even by a top ranking citizen. Why should the word be reduced to ‘chirren’? Sounds so bad, as does defiNITEly, the third syllable pronounced incorrectly as ‘night’, and not correctly as ‘nit’. And in any case, the stress should be on the first syllable. So, DEFinitely should be pronounced DEFinitly. Next, it’s not ‘auTOPsy‘, it’s ‘AUtopsy’. The stress is on the first syllable. What about ‘the police is’? No, they isn’t!!! The police are, aren’t, were, weren’t, have, haven’t, do, don’t (let the Press take note!). Use a plural verb with ‘the police’ and don’t ever talk about ‘a police’. It’s a policeman or a policewoman, a police officer or the police commissioner. But, ‘the police are here to protect and serve.’

Quite recently one of the permanently plaintive politicos wanted to appraise the people out there (all well and good, but a very difficult task to accomplish, I would think, and whatever for, I simply cannot think). However, he did not stop there. He wanted to appraise them (wait for it!) of the upcoming march (now, that’s an impossibility whichever way you look at it). I am hardly inclined to offer any help, but wouldn’t it be better if he tried APPRISING the people instead, so that he might get a bigger turnout the next time. ‘Apprise’ means ‘to inform’. Go look up ‘appraise’ for yourself, mister. You, mister, might also be interested – or perhaps not – to know that the last time I checked, ‘recluse’ was a noun, and ‘recuse’, a verb, and they are not related. Again, that well-known book whose title begins with a D and ends in a Y could be most useful to you. Make it your friend.

So much for marching; now let’s turn to sitting, and the word ‘sedentary’. It’s not se-DEN-tary but SEDentary. Equivocal is not Equi-vocal, it’s ‘eQUIVocal, and un-e-QUIV-ocal. Added to all of the above and more, the names of countries and famous people are invariably mispronounced, as are the many Latin and French words and phrases which are part and parcel of the English Language, such as fait accompli (pronounced fait accomplee, not accomply). So be responsible and use a dictionary for Heaven’s sake. Oh, and by the way, the upcoming month is September, not Sektember. Also, auTOCracy it is. And since we are part of an archipelago, we should know that the word is pronounced arkiPELago, not arch-i-pelago.

Know what, dear readers? I’ve decided to stop this grammar thing, ‘cause there’s no shortage of material, in fact, let’s be honest, there’s an endless supply of it, and I could find myself responding reflexively to it forever and ever and ever and ever. God forbid! I certainly don’t want that.

Finally, as I write, I hear a news item, and my eyesight and sensibilities are assailed by an accompanying, highly offensive video. I am being informed that the Dennery Segment are touring Europe and representing not only themselves, but all St Lucians. Is that so? Well, this one most certainly begs to differ. So please count me out, no matter who else wants in. Thank you very much.

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