The English language

I am at wits end. I love Trinidad and Tobago and we have our own version of the English language but in media it is getting out of hand. There is an apparent acceptance of bad pronunciation and bad grammar that is driving me crazy. The missing terminal “g” is a major problem as is the replacement of “the” with “dah”. I can’t deny ieTV is as guilty as most despite my best efforts. God help me. The insistence on using “would” as the general replacement for “will” is a major source of my blood pressure rise.

Why do we do this? I have no idea. There must be some linguistic reason for the constant forays into Vern annoying territory but I am lost. I run a newsroom and I spend most of my editing time correcting the basics. Please God ( who I don’t believe in) tell people that communication is important.  I love Trini English and the included list of gradations such as – it hot….it real hot…it more than hot…it ent play it hot. Those are cool…but “the party are” is not. I think most of the problem on the air is caused by the very richness of Trinidadian dialect and the fact some writers are unable to switch between it and standard English. It s not unusual to see some nattily attired anchor reading a script that informs us “the firemen outed the fire quickly” or “the pensioner was bounced by the car while crossing the highway”.

Perhaps one day, if I am lucky and live long enough, I will get to read a newscast entirely in dialect . I can almost hear it now…”Hello Goodnight, de big news tonight. Patos say he go mash up de opposition in de election…Ah ole man get knock dong and dead in Sah Wah…and de Central bank say tings lookin bad and if dey get wuss den crapaud smoke we pipe”. To sleep perchance to dream.

More tomorrow.



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