Saturday, April 20, 2024

MAVIS BECKLES: Ain’t changing this Bajan accent


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I HAVE BEEN WRITING this column for a long time and can remember some o’ the things dat I wrote about ovah the years and one o’ the things I cahn remember writing ’bout is some Bajans and duh phoney adopted accents.

Now every single li’l island in the Caribbean got people who does talk wid a different accent.

A few o’ dem does pronounce a few words like one another but none o’ the accents doan be exactly alike. A Vincentian doan sound nor talk like a Guyanese. A Trinidadian doan talk like a St Lucian nor a Grenadian. A Antiguan doan sound nor talk like a Bajan and nuhbody doan talk like a Jamaican at all.

Now as far as I am concerned all o’ these Caribbean people love the way duh does speak and doan try tuh copy the Bajan accent; yet the Bajans does want tuh copy other people accents.

Really and truly Bajans doan try tuh talk like a Lucian, a Trinidadian nor a Vincentian but some o’ dem does want tuh sound like the Jamaicans.

Living in Jamaica

You evah listen tuh any o’ the Bajan dub artists? You would swear dat dem people was living in Jamaica all duh life. All o’ dem does have a heavy Jamaican accent; you think Jamaicans want tuh sound like we? I doan think so!

Look, I got some Jamaican friends who was living here in Barbados fuh years and they haven’t lost duh accents as yet. Some o’ dem married tuh Bajan men and have families and ya think dat dem does talk like a Bajan or even try?

Look, Bajans love tuh copy off the American accent like duh think dat duh does sound real good. I would like tuh tell all o’ duh dat they need tuh stop it. I know a simple Bajan girl who come up in a large poor family. One day the girl went off to the States and eventually she got married tuh a white American fella and you should hear how the girl does talk.

She does come home sometimes and one day I ask her why she does talk wid dat foolish, phoney American accent. Sometimes she does sound just like some o’ dem black women pon dah Jerry Springer TV show. Anyway, she allow me tuh know dat where she live duh only got Americans, so dat is all she does hear. Bare foolishness!

Talks the same way

I have a friend who left Barbados from the time he was around 21 years old. He in he sixties now and has been living in Canada fuh all dem years and he does talk the same way or worse as when he was living here.

Look, sometimes I does have tuh tell him tuh stop humbugging me ’bout things dat he remember doing, places he used tuh go tuh and all sort o’ other things. The man does sound like he nevah left Barbados fuh one day. He accent is the same or even worse.

The man does use all kinds o’ dialect dat you ya’self doan even use and you telling me dat because I live in The States fuh a li’l time, I should lose my accent? People does leave and go tuh the States fuh a couple weeks and come back here wid more American twang and slang than the very Americans duhselves.

I cahn understand why Bajans find it necessary tuh copy somebody else accent. I cahn understand how some o’ dem does feel trying tuh talk and sound like somebody else who doan evah want tuh talk like dem.

No change

The American and English people does come and live ’bout here fuh donkey years and duh doan change dah accent if ya did paying dem millions. The thing is, duh doan even try! None o’ dem doan want tuh sound like we. But not we – we does be playing we putting on this foolish American accent and sound as igrant as evah. I feel dat some o’ dem people does be barely laughing at we.

I was listening tuh cricket from both Antigua and Grenada last week and the Bajan commentator had me offset wid he igrant accent. The man was talking like the English commentators the whole time and all I asking is, ‘Why he talking so?’

Look, ya could talk wha’ ya like ’bout Tony Cozier. He does do cricket commentary all ovah the world and whenevah ya hear Tony talking, he does sound like a Bajan. Dat is somebody who like and know who he is – a Bajan.

Ya see me? I could guh from here tuh Timbuktu, I aint changing this sweet Bajan accent fuh a boy!


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