Please play this song while, before, or after reading this subpage. Please also begin to conisder embedding soundcloud music to your own ePortfolio.
The title of this module is borrowed from a poem by Louise Bennet, Miss Lou,called “Noh Likkle Twang”— not even a little accent. This subpage is a call for you to think about language and discrimination and why so many so willingly accept monolingualism and assimilation, despite the limits and violence that represents.
Here is one of Miss Lou’s most famous pieces (playing in the background).
Wat a joyful news, Miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs’
Jamaica people colonizin
Englan in reverse.
By de hundred, by de t’ousan
From country and from town,
By de ship load, by de plane-load
Jamaica is Englan boun.
Dem a-pour out o’Jamaica,
Everybody future plan
Is fe get a big-time job
An settle in de mother lan.
What a islan! What a people!
Man an woman, old and young
Jusa pack dem bag an baggage
An tun history upside dung!
Some people don’t like travel,
But fe show dem loyalty
Dem all a-open up cheap-fare-
An week by week dem shipping off
Dem countryman like fire,
Fe immigrate an populate
De seat o’ de Empire.
Oonoo see how life is funny
Oonoo see de tunabout,
Jamaica live fi box bread
Outa English people mout’.
For wen dem catch a Englan,
An start play dem different role,
Some will settle down to work
An some will settle fe de dole.
Jane say de dole is not too bad
Bacause dey payin she
Two pounds a week fe seek a job
Dat suit her dignity.
Me say Jane will never find work
At the rate how she dah look,
For all day she stay pon Aunt Fan couch
And read love-story book.
Wat a devilment a Englan!
Dem face war an brave de worse,
But I’m wonderin how dem gwine stan
Colonizin in reverse.
In the poem, Bennett flips the script. We all know that the British colonized Jamaica and forced an imprint on its “colony.” However, the same can happen in reverse when Jamaicans go to England. Things will never be the same again. We will use this image of “colonization in reverse” as a metaphor for when marginalized groups re-direct and subvert dominant ideas and paradigms of national English campaigns. There is no such thing as one, pure language. That is just not how language works, even if that is the way we want it to work. When language is represented that way, it is for the sole benefit of whatever groups are dominant.
We take our inspiration from Miss Lou here (be sure to see the playlist dedicated to her if you want to learn more about her). We will focus on language discrimination here but we will go beyond just looking at how people are discriminated against; we will also discuss language diversity as a basic human right. Choose any ONE article or video below and comment to it using your homework/syllabus guidelines.
|You can also choose your own online article or video that illuminates the negative and/or positive possibilties with new media and technologies. Please write about that choice and include the URL. Your choice will be included on this page.|