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would like to learn patwa

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gecheegirl
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July 4, 2011 2:47 am  

I am in Christiansted, VI and would like to become fluent in patwa. I am looking for someone to speak with on a daily basis or a couple of times per week. Serious inquires only-FEMALE preferred. Please respond ASAP!


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ms411
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July 4, 2011 3:13 am  

It's spelled patois. I think.:S


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onthespot
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July 4, 2011 3:20 am  

I learned spanish by working in homes where it was spoken a lot. Maybe you can find work with people who speak it, so you can at least get paid while you learn.


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DL
 DL
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July 4, 2011 4:00 am  

Which patois are you talking about? The language we call "patois" is the French Creole language spoken by immigrants from St. Lucia and Dominica.


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Linda J
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July 4, 2011 11:15 am  

IMO, a non-West Indian trying to speak in this dialect doesn't come across very well. Many people use the odd word, but more than that - no.


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STXBob
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July 4, 2011 12:53 pm  

gecheegirl: Maybe you're referring to the "Crucian" language/dialect. If so, there's a book called "Say It In Crucian!" by Robin Sterns, 2008. See http://www.cruciandictionary.com/ for more info.


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DL
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July 4, 2011 1:11 pm  

If you are talking about the local dialect, then I should warn you - it is very offensive for outsiders (especially non-West Indian outsiders) to come here and attempt to speak the dialect. I found this on the net:

"The prevailing sentiment is that Virgin Islands Creole cannot be learned like a standard language, but acquired only through having spent one's formative years in the Virgin Islands. Attempts by Virgin Islands non-native residents to speak the dialect, even out of respect, are often met with disapproval."


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Cruz
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July 4, 2011 2:26 pm  

If you are talking about the local dialect, then I should warn you - it is very offensive for outsiders (especially non-West Indian outsiders) to come here and attempt to speak the dialect. I found this on the net:

"The prevailing sentiment is that Virgin Islands Creole cannot be learned like a standard language, but acquired only through having spent one's formative years in the Virgin Islands. Attempts by Virgin Islands non-native residents to speak the dialect, even out of respect, are often met with disapproval."

This is very true. Everyone should take heed.


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East Ender
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July 4, 2011 2:30 pm  

The better word is creole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creole_language
For which creole do you seek instruction?


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onthespot
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July 4, 2011 5:54 pm  

The original poster may not want to learn to speak it like a native, but may want to understand what is being said around her. To the newbie, Crucian does not even sound like English. Or French, or Spanish. It has a kind of generic African rhythm to it, and a word here or there will jump out at you, but God help you if they speed up, or are angry when they are speaking. You will be totally lost. The speech patterns do not follow "American" english, lots of contractions, and a word will be used before or after another, rather than how book English is spoken. Some words you will never find in a Scrabble dictionary, lol, and many references to local customs, values, likes and dislikes that won't make sense for a few years.

It doesn't need to make sense to you. It makes sense the the speaker, and nearly everyone else on the island. Go with it, Flow with it, but don't try to "own" it or "be" it. You can appreciate a classic painting, say, the Sistine Chapel, but don't go home and try to do your own ceiling. It won't come out the same.


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terry
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July 5, 2011 1:29 pm  

Some even write this way. We get letters and reports from a manager who speaks that way but I expected this person to be able to write in decent English.
They don't add odd words but omit words. Very unprofessional when reporting to a group of owners. This person is supposed to have a good education. Maybe this speaks volumes about the schools on island. I was always terrible in spelling and English in school but it even sticks out to me. I have heard many owners ask why this person was hired and still has the position.


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onthespot
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July 5, 2011 2:52 pm  

Maybe his job performance plusses outweigh his grammar minuses? Good help is hard to find, anywhere, and if he is good help, I could see the people he reports to overlooking some things if they do not affect the bottom line. I would.


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Ronnie
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July 5, 2011 10:49 pm  

Withe the name geecheegirl, I would presume she comes from that areain So Carolina that speak that geechee and may want to learn, patois. Geechee does sound like some of the words we speak here. But as stated, patois is the language or dialect spoken in St Lucia or Dominica. Hopefully she will come back and clear this up before everyone goes on and on about her intention and/or the way we speak around here. JMHO


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BeachcomberStt
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July 6, 2011 6:02 pm  

Geecheegirl, did spell "patwa" the correct way as a native Dominican would write it. (Checked with a friend who speaks, reads, and writes the language)

She lives on STX, so I do not know how much of the popultion are Dominican, St. Lucian, Haitian, or are from St. Kitts who speak the language. Here on STT we do have a a lot of down islanders.

The majority of the French Patois/Creole speakers are over the age of forty. The younger generation are not learning the language, exception Haitians because it is their main official language. Maybe the younger generation pick up a few words or sentences here and there in the home setting. But the majority speak English, as their first language.

Unfortunately, many dying languages out there in the world.


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gecheegirl
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July 8, 2011 3:36 pm  

Just to clear things I would like to learn patwa because I am a nurse and to better service my patients that speak this language I need to be able to communicate with them without running for an interpreter when I am caring for them. Whether in an emergency or not because many do not have family that is at their beside 24hr to translate. Furthermore, me learning the launguage is not intended to offend it is to care for my patients. The patwa (patois) I would like to learn is that of people from St. Lucia/ Dominica

Also to clarify, the person that guessed I was from the Sea Islands of The Lowcountry, South Carolina is correct. There we speak Gullah but we are called Geechee people. We have a very rich culture of our own that is a mixture of West-Indian and African. So I have much
respect for the culture of others.

Anyone interested in helping me learn please respond. Thanks


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sallyf
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July 8, 2011 4:07 pm  

Good for you - Geechee Girl - communication is at the heart of healthcare. Methinks some people got a bit "smug" there. 🙂


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BeachcomberStt
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July 8, 2011 7:02 pm  

Wish my friend could help, but on STT.

I agree with Sallyf and her statement.

In the states, with the influx of Hispanics immigrating to communites that never had dealt with that population. The 911 operators, police, emergency/hospital personal, etc. have to go to classes to learn Spanish, so they can communicate with people in need of their sevices.

So, I understand your situation and good for you wanting to learn another language. It will help your career in nursing and on your resume. Bilingual is always a plus.

If you ever move to back to the states were there is a population of Haitians/Lucians, you will get the job over someone else, more than likely because of being able to speak patwa.


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Ronnie
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July 9, 2011 3:24 am  

Never met a person from St Lucia or Dominica that did not speak English.I know it may be difficult but it is English. That is the language that classes are taught in their schools. You should be okay. Your Gullah might even work as I understand it is similar.


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BeachcomberStt
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July 9, 2011 5:19 am  

I agree with Ronnie and Ronnie being a "local" knows what he is talking about and is very intelligent.

Their official language is English and taught in their schools. Some Dominicians do have a very thick accent depending on what part of the island they are from.
(Dominica was under British rule up until the 1970's)

Are you sure your patients aren't from Haiti? Just double checking.
My friend says Dominican patois is similiar to Haitian patois. They understand each other in conversation. So, you can learn, also from a Haitian individual.

I believe I saw a documentary about the Geechee people. Very insightful and interesting. You have a very rich culture to be proud of.


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noOne
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July 9, 2011 9:49 am  

I'm not sure about Dominicans speaking English. I spent a good six months sharing an apartment with a Dominican who spoke almost no English. Of course, my Spanish is not that good either.

//him screaming at night about "El Diablo" and having to go into his room to wake him from his nightmares was not comforting. I have no clue as to why he thought that way. He may have been lying about being Dominican and may have been Haitian.

//I miss you Sanchez; you are a pretty cool guy even though we didn't speak languages both of us could understand


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Ronnie
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July 9, 2011 12:27 pm  

noOne now you are confusing things. Your guy was a Domincano from the Dominican Republic that speaks Spanish. Dominicans from Dominica were British subjects who speak English, but their native dialect is patois.


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DL
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July 9, 2011 3:01 pm  

Check out this St. Lucian Creole dictionary. VERY extensive! Hope this helps!

http://linguafranka.net/saintluciancreole/dictionary/KweyolDictionary.pdf


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East Ender
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July 9, 2011 3:20 pm  

It is difficult to become fluent in a new language once your brain development has ended. You might be able to get a working knowledge of one, but if you are serious, and immersion course might be a good route.

There is a book: Kweyol-A Basic Guide published by the Folk Research Centre in St Lucia. I found it in St Lucia many years ago, don't know if it is still in print. I also met a Peace Corps worker there who said they were given a manual, but I could not find it in the book store there.

There is also a book "School Days", by Patrick Chamoiseau about growing up in Martinique. He explores the suppression of creole by the French.

French creoles are all similar, native speakers can understand others, but they can tell the difference. It is like the difference in Crucian, St Thomian, Tortolan and Antiguan (etc.) creole.


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gecheegirl
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July 9, 2011 4:52 pm  

Thx. Everyone for all your help and insight I will look at some of the resources mentioned. Also the problem is even though many of them speak English when trauma, mental, and psychological disorders occur the brain only remember the first language. So in this case especially the elderly with Alzheimer's and Dementia they will only respond to patwa and not English.


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noOne
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July 9, 2011 7:27 pm  

My mistake Ronnie, thanks for pointing that out!


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