Coronavirus: Language tutor and life coach?

Letters to the Editor

Coronavirus: Language tutor and life coach?

Monday, March 16, 2020

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Dear Editor,

If the novel coronavirus 2019 has not radically affected your approach to life and your use of language regarding the future then you must be the worst 'dunce bat' around — unless, of course, you have made peace with a coffin that you love.

It is possible, but not likely, that most of us would now make the mistake of the rich fool in Jesus's parable in scripture; namely, presuming about the future and life without using any conditional statement like 'if'. So, he plans to tear down his small barns and build bigger ones to store up his bumper crops and cool out for many years. He died later that day!

I suspect the language of older folk in Jamaica and elsewhere has already begun to resurface with all of us as we hear of flight and social events cancellations rendering the future so uncertain.

The conditional 'if' was a characteristic marker of older folk, so you would hear: “I am going to visit my brother next week if life spare.” In some circles the conditional with a future plan would be D V Latin, deo volente meaning 'If God wills/God willing'.

For awhile yet, it seems we will all be forced by a deadly virus to be more careful in our use of language and how we live our borrowed, limited lives.

Even governments will have to modify the traditional language regarding their economies going forward as the virus shipwrecks their financial reserves.

Politicians now campaigning for elected posts will need to temper their promises and plans with caveats, contingency, and conditional statements in light of current global realities.

In fact, we are not even certain that any elections will be held this year in Jamaica or the USA.

Rev Clinton Chisholm

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