Thursday, June 20, 2024

Wolfe’s Woofer: Talking Creole


“I’m worried that my son now speaks almost nothing but Creole,” Bill said. “He’s never going to get into a good university in the U.S. if he doesn’t break that habit.”
“All of the kids in Belize do what they call talking Creole,” I told him. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Bill and I were having coffee on the deck at the Holiday Hotel. He and his wife and fifteen- year-old son, Billy, moved to Ambergris Caye four months ago.
I said, “Let me call my friend, Malcom.”
I phoned and a few minutes later Malcolm joined us for coffee. I introduced the two of them.
“Malcolm is a retired professor of linguistics,” I told Bill. “He’s written books on language so maybe he’ll have some ideas for you.”
Bill explained the problem and Malcolm said, “I’m retired and bored. Why don’t I meet with Billy three times a week? I will imprint the strength of the English language over the Creole dialect in his mind.”
That was a month ago. This morning I was at Tropic Air waiting for a flight to Belize City. I encountered Bill, who was arriving from Belize International Airport.
“It’s good to be back on the Caye,” he said. “I had to go to Europe for two weeks on business.”
“Look!” I said. “There’s Malcolm getting out of that taxi.”
I waved Malcolm over.
“It’s good to see you,” Bill told Malcolm. “How is Billy’s language therapy going?”
Malcolm said, “Nuh worry, mon. Di bwai talk good English now.”

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