Internet/Social media / Island Life / Uncategorized

Presentation of the Cyber Self: Grammar 

Warning!! Opinionated yet fact based statements lie ahead!

Around the world there are a number of languages. From these languages dialects come forth.

In every country in the world, specifically in the Caribbean, people have different accents and patois that we all enjoy hearing and try to imitate. How we speak represents us and the moment we begin to speak people can decipher which country we are from.

I’ve proudly lived my whole life in the TCI and naturally speak like one. This doesn’t stop me from writing and typing in proper English.

There is a difference between remaining true to one’s identity by keeping your accent or tongue (no pun intended) and using English correctly when written.

Defined earlier, a dialect is a form of a language particular to a specific region. Time and place is the major key in this case. In informal situations writing in dialects are fine. Writing like this is also fine until you begin using ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’ interchangeably as if they mean the same thing for example. The basic structure of the sentence must meet the rules of grammar.

The way we present ourselves as a people is important and various points intended to be made can be demerited because of the grammar/spelling used. From observation on various forums, a vast majority of people don’t seem to follow basic rules of the English language and from my understanding most of them went to school.

First of all, the word used to join a sentence or indicate a connection is ‘and’ NOT ‘an’. ‘An’ is in no instance a conjunction. (For further info on this, Google it).

The lack of awareness and use of proper grammar/spelling is an epidemic that needs to be crushed yesterday. I know I said yesterday calm down, you know exactly what that means.

It’s really difficult to read and understand what people are saying when roughly 90% of what is said is spelt incorrectly. Some may say I’m stupid for not being able to figure it out but maybe, just maybe you’re stupid for not spelling it right in the first place 🤷🏽‍♀️?

Now I’m not here to discriminate but when an outsider reads these posts and it’s branded by a particular country, will that not represent the country? Because of the Brexit, the Brits are labelled as stupid and because of Mr. Trump or the Catch me outside girl Americans are labelled as stupid. Quite an interesting situation. The actions of one person is not generalisable to a country’s population but goodness grief people, it’s pretty easy to believe at this point that the majority of people can’t read and write/type.

As individuals we’re imperfect and we make typos, however typos for every other word in the entire paragraph? That’s suspect. Forget the country for now, your post represents you. Think about what you look like when every post you post is hard to make out. Think about how other people may wonder if they’re losing 20 IQ points per word.

You may be guilty of this but can’t help it because of a disorder or insufficient schooling. This post is not for you.

I’m speaking to those that were taught the right thing and are capable of understanding. I’m not naive, I can tell when someone is typing a slang different to when they’re typing improper English.

Example :

  1. “Gyal u een hear bout that song that came out yesterday?”
  2. “Gyal u hair bout tat song wa come out yestaday?”

I was going to let you decide which one is part of a dialect and which is incorrect spelling/grammar but some may get the wrong idea. Example #1 still has correct grammatical structure while Example #2 clearly has incorrect spellings to words which could mean something completely different to what is intended or nothing at all.

Included in all of this are punctuation marks. It is extremely difficult to read a long paragraph that has no commas nor full stops. Imagine if this post had no commas, full stops or even skipped lines to indicate the beginning of a new idea.

Let’s think about how we are represented on the Internet. Whatever is posted on the web never dies and can create negative stereotypes for a nation. Some may say a simple solution is to stop stereotyping but as humans it is a natural instinct to create a general idea to understand and cope with life. We create schemas and that’s perfectly fine. Our job is to exhibit behaviour that is positive and try to avoid feeding into negative stereotypes about ourselves.

I know some people are going to read this and frown immediately, completely missing the point because they don’t want to be wrong and that’s natural. However, failure to look within oneself to make change, can cause stunted growth in life and in this case, literacy.

Hopefully this made sense to you and we will all double check what we type before broadcasting.

P.S. It is important to note as defined above, patois is not only spoken by Jamaicans, it is a synonym for dialect.

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