End of an era

My previous post was the 30th of May. It’s not the 30th of July. That’s two whole months.

I’ve been kept really busy by a couple things, but primarily a transcription/translation project that I’ve told you guys about. And just a few minutes ago, I submitted by last file! Happy dance time!

Ahem.

Well, one cool thing about that project is that I think I have a stronger understanding of Patwa and the how two major languages of my country, English and Patwa, waltz together in the language centres of a Jamaican’s brain, and how they strut out of a Jamaican’s mouth. Okay, nothing nearly as fancy as that. But, certainly, being forced to be conscious about the two languages as I translate one to the other, I think I learnt a bit.

I learnt that there are things that Jamaicans (myself included, certainly) assume that some things are truly Standard English, but are really Patwaisms. When I happened upon the use of the word ‘somtaim’ (sometime), I wondered if that was grammatical in English or not. In English, I know it to be used as “sometimes” as in, “Sometimes, I go there,” vs. Patwa’s, “Somtaim mi go de.”

Being as meticulous as I am, I looked it up on dictionary.com:

Sometime

Definition number 2 was the one that came to mind as soon as I’d heard the word, but definition number 3 was of particular interest to me. It means that the Jamaican word ‘somtaim’ in this case may have one of two origins: first, this archaic usage (just like we used ‘from’/’fram’ to mean ‘since’, which is a more archaic usage) or that the final consonant sound ‘z’ was just dropped. Of course, I’m no linguist and I needed to finish my work, so my research stopped right there. But it was fun to be so engaged with the language of my country in this new way.

But the work is finally done. And I can take a breath. I should be back here more often. Thanks to all of you who’re still here!

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3 Responses to End of an era

  1. read.robin says:

    I’m still here! The waltz of patois and English in Jamaican speech tends to annoy rather than intrigue me though :\

    Like

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