Dear Editor,

In the Old Testament book of Genesis there is a report in Chapter 11 concerning the Tower of Babel. It gives an account of the origin of languages designed then to create confusion amongst the inhabitants who had angered God through the building of the Tower of Babel.

It would seem that this confusion is still alive today, as in Monday’s SN, you report under the caption ‘Guyanese couple plead guilty in Canada’ that an interpreter was required via teleconference from New York to assist the judge understand the deep Guyanese Creolese. Another Guyanese in giving evidence stated that he had been in the country for 17 years and did not require an interpreter. I must admit that this is the third time that I have read of such an observation attributed to our Guyanese in NY.

Some years ago my boss from Argentina asked whether we spoke a second language, to which I laughed and explained that it was Creolese. He was given a demonstration of which of course he could not decipher a single word. ’Tis true we can speak the Queen’s English grammatically and as Dave Martin would say, with an accent so pure that the English would blush. I encountered the Jamaican dialect many years ago in England and I believe that it was the most difficult of all the West Indian Creolese dialects and accents then. We must accept that migration is on a much larger scale now, and Guyanese especially from the rural areas – mainly older folks – speak nothing else but Creolese.

Banna me nah shame, man is awee language, awee culture.

Yours faithfully,
V.O. Patrick


Editor’s note

We apologize for the fact that the story to which Mr Patrick refers was mis-captioned. The trial took place in New York state in the US, not in Canada.

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