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Broken English

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on March 3, 2010 No Comment

For kicks, I just searched Google News for the term “dialect,” and found this letter to the Editor in the The Barbados Advocate. I am reproducing it in full, italics mine:

Classroom not the place for dialect

3/3/2010

I was somewhat dismayed to read the report of the address given by a University professor on the subject of Barbadian dialect, or broken English, which was published in your newspaper.

This discourse would indicate that the acceptance of lower standards in academia now has official blessing, if the view expressed by this particular member of the academic hierarchy is representative of that generally accepted by her peers.

In her discourse she did not refer to dialect as broken English, giving it a more euphemistic description, but a rose is a rose by whatever name you care to use in describing it.

As Barbadians, we have to be careful not to refer to some of our local peccadilloes as being part of “we culture”, in as much as some of these are really part of “we lack of culture”.

The fact that English has become the “lingua franca” in today’s world apparently has not impacted on Barbadians, because if it had, then they should realise that it is essential that they become proficient in what was once their mother tongue to ensure that they are not disadvantaged when communicating with the world outside of Barbados.

The use of broken English in the classroom is the best way to ensure that Barbadians will in the future be unable to communicate with the rest of the world with which we need to have intercourse.

CECIL LAWLESS

I think I am speechless. Can’t even produce broken English in response.

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