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make we speak pidgin

In Notes on 7 December, 2011 at 12:40 am

 today i sit car inside wey i learn pidgin. boys boys and girls girls speak pidgin. i be white chick wey i dey learn pidgin. pidgin no for make sense. i no dey see top [but] i no dey shun. make we speak pidgin.

give me a chance, i’m still learning. here’s what i know so far –

the guys taught me that “pidgin is not supposed to make sense. you’re just messing up the english language so your parents or teachers don’t understand.”

“aahh, so it’s like english remixed?” yes, they said. that’s a good way of putting it.

before i started talking and reading about pidgin, i assumed that its sole purpose was to exclude and divide. i thought it was created so that locals could communicate with each other without colonials understanding their conversations.

a ghanaian student writing for the yale globalist says, “pidgin is an unintended vestige of colonialism, yet it is also a creation of modern times, a way to bridge two cultures: western and ghanaian.” she argues that one of the functions of pidgin is to act as a bridge for people who would otherwise find it hard to communicate. this completely overturns my assumptions.

she says, “pidgin is used when the educated “boss” asks the street vendor “it be how much” (how much is it?), and the street vendor replies “masa it be….” (master/sir it is…). but more than functioning as a bridge it also helps translate the feeling and meaning behind phrases in our local dialects, which are hard to capture in english. when the street vendor says “massa” (master), it is not because he is being submissive to him, but it captures a cultural sense of respect for people.” (frantz fanon appears to disagree here)

either way. i like the sound of it.

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  1. You’d love the Carribean coast of Costa Rica then, as well as English & Spanish they use Patua (pronounced pat-wa) which is a complete mix of both English & Spanish as well as a couple of French words & Jamaican influence. When you listen hard enough you can just about make out a couple of words, I love it:)

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