Letters to the Editor

A different kind of 'big-up'

Friday, November 29, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I have two personal theories which may probably explain the unfortunate outburst by Waldane Walker during his valedictory speech at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts' graduation ceremony.

1) People often resort to expletives when they lack the appropriate vocabulary to express their immediate thoughts.

2) The Jamaican dialect (patois) is sometimes better able to express some things more briefly than Standard English. This, of course, depends on your audience.

Case in point: Jamaican “big up” can only be expressed in Standard English as “Magnify”, “Enlarge”, or “Glorify, as in The Magnificat — Luke 1:46, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

Jamaican “unuh-self” means “All of you or you all.”

The b....c.... is like a glorification of the individuals concerned.

The four words expressed so vociferously may have been said as: “May you all praise yourselves for your marvellous achievements.” But, of course, this would have had far less impact.

Ronald R Fagan

ronniefagan@gmail.com


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