Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Derived from...A Corruption of...Jamaican greats

Reading around on Bud’s lively Metaxu Café, I found Geoffrey Philp’s blog. A Jamaican writer who’s teaching and writing in Miami, Philp’s been publishing mini interviews with other Caribbean writers at Bud’s site and on his own site. Going to his site, I found a great birthday tribute to “Miss Lou,” Louise Bennett Coverley who died in August. As I wrote here upon her death, her courage to write in Jamaican was an inspiration to many, many. You should go read his tribute for yourselves, but I couldn’t resist re-quoting this brilliant quotation comparing “corruption of” and “derived from” from Bennett’s “Auntie Roachy,” the wise woman persona of her work.
Like my Auntie Roachy say she vex any time she hearing the people a come style fi we Jamaica language as 'corruption of the English Language'. You ever hear anything go so? Aunt Roachy she say she no know why mek dem no call the English language corruption of the Norman French and the Greek and the Latin where they say English is derived from. Oonu hear the word: English 'derive' but Jamaica 'corrupt'. No, massa, nothing no go so. We not corrupt and them derive. We derive, too. Jamaica derive!"

What’s not to love here? The humor is warm even as the anger and frustration is real. I can’t wait to read her again…


Richard said...

Geoffrey Philp is quite a good fiction writer and poet in his own right. His Benjamin, My Son is a well-craftef, sly thriller and his Uncle Obadiah and the Alien a comic look at Jamaicans at home and in Miami.

Both are worth a read.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Wow! Thank you both for this.

Blessings I-tinually,