Wednesday, 8 April 2009

West Indies Speak

I just noticed something interesting about an article concerning Jerome Taylor's recent road accident. The article quotes an eye witness, who apparently said:
"Bwoy them man ya lucky. Not even a scratch them get and the vehicle lick up."
"Taylor and the rest of de man dem must praise God, because a God save them."

Now, I now that's what it may sound like in real life, and I'm not exactly experienced with this kind of reporting, but why represent mannerisms and accents in a quote? "Bwoy", "dem", this all seems like some sort of mockery of the local way of speaking. I can understand keeping most of that, but it's almost as though the person writing this article wanted to distance themselves from the eyewitness.

Can someone explain to me whether this is common practice in local newspapers?
Food for thought.


12th Man said...

They have faithfully reproduced the witnesses' statement.

Looks like the witness was not tutored in English grammar and sentence construction.

Amy said...

Generally you find that sentence structure remains the same, but the word "boy" would not be written as a representation of the local accent. And the highlighting of some words as "dem" while leaving others as "them". It's all strange.

12th Man said...

The reporter has "stayed sharp" to notice the phonological shift, as the witness kept pronouncing "dem" and "them" alternatively.

Amy said...

Taking a leaf out of AB's book? I see now. He must have thought the witness was trying to trick him into only writing "dem" or "them", but this reporter, his ears are well tuned to pick out subtle variations in speech.