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Of ‘Broian’ and ‘Keshan’

Saturday, August 18 2012

THE EDITOR: To call things (or people) by their right names is not a Trini virtue. For instance, because of our bloodthirsty culture heinous often seems the only word that accurately describes some incident. But heinous is the most mispronounced word uttered in this country. So hein in heinous echoes rein, reign, feign and thus sounds like rain. Put the two syllables together — hein — ous- and what you get is something like hayn-us; not hee-nee-us!

But knowing how frivolously we treat with such linguistic niceties, one expects to still hear on TV and radio and along the corridors of power how “heeneeus” was the murder of the day.

Just after Brian Lara had broken his world record, one local commentator wrote of how there were Bajans who had obviously never met Lara say ‘I went to school with Broian’ — claiming acquaintanceship of him courtesy a Bajan twang.

I actually heard a local Trini radio announcer who has become something of a legend by his slow, deliberate drawl call Lara Brian Lalla. When I heard that slip-of-the-tongue on air, I attributed it to the announcer’s repeated saying of it that way in private and so on air it just slipped pass him.

When the Bajan’s wished to grant citizenship to Brian by inserting an “O” in his name for the sake of Bajan etymological authenticity, it was most likely done from a funny, peculiar, hahaha perspective.

The Brian Lalla joke I heard all about the place from other Indo/Trinis who wished to further claim the wonder boy — not just as a fellow Trini — but from a chauvanistic ethnic perspective: He is one of us. But that having been said, it is to be reiterated that it all came from a self-mocking, tongue-in-cheek Trini sense of humour.

And so to Keshorn Walcott. Key-shorn/shawn/sean and not the several other pronunciation that one is already hearing. One that is reminiscent of the Lara/Lalla juggling is Keshorn/ Keshan. Keshan is a definite Hindi name and one feels that the correct pronunciation of the Olympian’s name should be rigidly adhered to if only out of respect for his achievement while forfeiting our predisposition to say whatever comes out our mouths and just be cool about it.

If we can’t get it right it might be advisable to accept the adage that states, speech is silver but silence is golden.



L Siddhartha Orie

via e-mail

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