THINK NOT ABOUT WHAT YOUR PEOPLE CAN DO FOR YOU – THINK ONLY OF WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR PEOPLE by Damon CorrieTweet
As an indigenous person – we should have as our mantra to live by – this simple co-opted expression:
THINK NOT ABOUT WHAT YOUR PEOPLE CAN DO FOR YOU – THINK ONLY OF WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR PEOPLE
I try to live by this motto, I guess you could say it is ‘holy’ to me, let me not give any other examples than 1 of my very own, of what I have been able to do ON my own just by trying to live up to this every day.
EXAMPLE #1 – My people’s ‘olde Lokono-Arawak’ language is heading for extinction, I deliberately use the ‘Olde English’ spelling for the word ‘Olde’ to stress the point – because the English language survives, but as ‘Modern English’..’Olde English’ spoken everywhere in Shakespeare’s day (in which an ‘e’ was added at the end of many words – among other differences – is dead). You see, only the 50+ year old people in my tribe still speak ‘Olde Lokono-Arawak’ (as I describe it), and they are going to get older and older and die and take it with them…..the young generation is only fluent in English in Guyana (where 75% of the Lokono left on Earth live) – due to the fact that the Christian Missionaries and Colonial mis-education system – literally BEAT the language out of previous generations of the human ‘bricks’ they molded for the foundations and spiritual prison walls that built Colonial (and still build Neo-Colonial) society on the backs of native peoples everywhere….and the young English-speaking Lokono find learning to speak and write ‘Olde’ Lokono as tedious and cumbersome as the average monolingual English speaker finds learning Spanish to be.
So I created ‘Modern Lokono-Arawak’, ALL the parts of speech are preserved (and in fact ALL words that are of post-contact origin have been omitted – such as ‘sapo’ for ‘soap’ or ‘aranso’ for ‘Orange’ – which is a Mediterranean fruit our ancestors never knew before Columbus arrived, so it is more historically ‘authentic’ in one sense – though not in others – such as in syntax – obviously).
Just as to us who speak English as a first language – who find Spanish sentences to be backwards quite often….with examples like this for instance ‘Pantalones largos’ – meaning ‘Long pants’ but LITERALLY ‘pantalones’ = pants and ‘largos’ = long…..backwards when compared to English as I said before….well very often this is how ‘olde’ Lokono-Arawak is spoken…..yet when I speak sentences in the ‘Modern Lokono-Arawak that I re-structured – to my mother and father-in-law (who are both FLUENT speakers of ‘Olde Lokono-Arawak) – they have no problem whatsoever understanding me….for all the nouns and other parts of speech remain exactly the same…Hamaka is still Hammock, Nana is still Pineapple, Hachi is still pepper, Hadali is still the Sun, Korokali is still Thunder, Oni is still rain etc, etc. ONLY the syntax is changed.
I merely made sentences to run FORWARDS just as in the English language (which is the only language our young people in Guyana know perfectly today) – in order to make Lokono-Arawak easier to learn and speak, because as we all know – the youth are generally lazy in this technological age, if you make something too difficult for them – they lose interest.
Sure, you can be an armchair critic with no foresight and say I changed the language and it is no longer ‘genuine’ (but YOU do not speak ‘Olde English’ yourself – no-one does anymore, so is the ‘Modern English’ you and I speak so well a ‘fake’ language because it was modernized? Come on man – surely you are more intelligent than that) …..but if you have foresight (more than foreskin) you will see it from my point of view, what would be better? To just let the ‘Olde Lokono-Arawak’ go extinct? Because even when our youth were being PAID to learn it – they still dropped out in greater numbers than stuck with it…with the common complaint to me being ‘Uncle Damon it is too hard to learn, too confusing’.
So I did what I had to do – to SAVE the language, and everyone who grew up being mono-lingual in English that has been exposed to my ‘Modern Lokono-Arawak’ – has found it to be very easy to learn to read and write (even my ‘Olde Lokono-Arawak’ fluent-speaking parents-in-law support what I am trying to do)……and 100 years from now, when I and my present day critics (who just can’t admit that their problem with me is one of jealousy more than anything else) are all dead and gone, and the ONLY Lokono-Arawak you hear spoken is ‘Modern Lokono-Arawak’…history WILL have already absolved me.
It will be sold beginning from the 9th day of the 9th month of this year to non-Lokono to subsidize it being provided for free for a Loko youth to learn, for every 1 copy sold to someone outside the tribe @ US$20 ea (worldwide postage included) – 1 copy will be printed for free presentation to an interested Lokono youth in Guyana.
Follow Damon Corrie @ http://damongerardcorrie.blogspot.com/