10 December 2010

Funnyquote Friday

Your quote this week comes from Jonathan, who upon learning that I had inadvertently left my laptop's charger at my work office this past weekend, texted me the following:

"OK, that stinks.  
Well, have fun reading this weekend."

And I did.  I'm down to just 200 pages remaining in Rutherford's London, and can hear the quiet but persistent calls of the books currently waiting in the queue.  "I'll be gripping!"  "I'll be enlightening!"  "I'll return you to the nostalgic euphoria from when you just began enjoying to read!"  All good promises, to be sure.  Although it seems like fewer and fewer selections are able to make good on them.  It's probably a problem with me (and unreasonable expectations).  Especially if all of the praise and hype on the back covers of these books is to be believed!  (It isn't.)

An interesting phenomenon I have noticed: As we know, a cultural touchstone in the Caribbean is the writing of English in dialect here, which is prevalent in American literary history as well.  But despite the negative stereotype that speaking or writing in dialect implies that one is a poor English-speaker, commonly accepted even here in the islands, I believe that it lends itself to a firmer grasp of basic phonetic principles than people who speak "Standard English."  For example, if you asked a common person in the US to describe the difference between a hard "th" sound and a soft "th" sound, I believe that person would be unable to mark any difference.  And yet if you asked them to repeat the phrase, "throw the thing," they would unknowingly exemplify both phonemes.  The reader will see that the words "throw" and "thing" are said by pushing air between the tongue, extended out to the front teeth, and the upper row of teeth, whereas the word "the" uses the same mechanic but allows the tongue to vibrate slightly, giving it a soft sound.

Here in the Caribbean, a heavy accent would change the sounds to "chrow de ting," indicating again an almost subconscious awareness of the difference between the hard digraph and the soft digraph.  For in all cases, the dialect here distinguishes between soft "th" sounds by changing dem to a "d" sound.  But hard "th" sounds are changed instead to a "t" sound.  And this happens within words, too, not just at the beginning of words.

The last day of the schools' Fall trimester is today.  That means that I finished my work on the library yesterday, sorting and beautifying the last two categories of children's literature, and moving the shelves into the rear half of the room.  All of the books are in surprisingly poor condition; I wish I had more training in repairing or reconditioning these materials to improve their longevity.  I have to say, it is at once chilling and depressing to have to look on a copy of Frog And Toad Are Friends that is so dilapidated that it cannot be reasonably expected to be legible anymore.  So when there comes a time to add new books, you can be sure there will be steps taken to ensure the longevity of their respective lifespans.

And as a special bonus, nature pictures.  To tide you guys over until my camera comes in.

Mt. Liamuiga, the highest point on St. Kitts and home of the dormant volcanic crater. 
*Photo courtesy Will Murray

It's an African Green Monkey!  Plentiful here on island, imported from Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1700s. 
*Photo courtesy Will Murray

Sign outside ShipWreck bar at South Friars Bay

A black sand beach, a common sight on the island of St. Christopher


  1. Is this yours?
    This guy picked Georgia Tech as #4 in the preseason poll. haha

  2. That is a little spooky. Though not at all funny.


    I am not laughing here.

  3. Hey, my pictures of the monkey and Mt. Liamuiga! I wouldn't mind a link back to where you got them from :)

  4. Everyone, meet Will Murray, former PCV in St. Kitts.
    His blog can be found at http://kittsmet.blogspot.com/

    Will, please forgive my impropriety; I received the pictures through JAT, so I didn't actually know their original source. But now I do, and credited them appropriately. Thanks!