language and education

Posted on August 20, 2012


With this blog, I am trying to improve my writing.  I want my writing to be less cluttered, more succinct and sharper.  I want to write at a faster pace w fewer mistakes.  It can be done.  Time will tell!

Since it is always easy to see the mistakes and sins of other people, I consider time spent working w someone on the job helpful for my edification.  I pay attention to people’s mannerisms and study how they operate.  I can learn how to do something or how not to do something by observation.  I can puff up w pride comparing myself positively w  someone and also be humbled when I recognize my own bad behavior when I see others doing familiar things.  Overall, the study of people is good for telling stories.

The other day I worked w an Indian guy from Guyana, South America.  He speaks what is called Caribbean English or Patois (patwa).  There is a distinction between urban and rural dialects or creoles (not a language proper but does have its own vocabulary and structure) and most ethnic Indians (from the Indian subcontinent) live outside the cities in the West Indies.  I could understand most of what he was saying but he sounded limited in what he could express.  There were several interactions w the public during the day and I inwardly cringed listening to him attempt to answer questions or explain himself.  I wondered how he leads his family here in America through daily events when he’s ignorant of so much.  Does he just do what his relatives or friends do? Live in this neighborhood b/c that’s where so and so live? Vacation here b/c so and so said it was nice? If his children get good grades in school, is that all that matters?  Not whether they can weigh a concept and chew on it?  If so, to all of these questions, he would find himself in good company, being distinguishable from the natives only by his speech.

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