Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Disaster at Central Bank; QRC priest crushed by falling language standards

Dear Editor: Disaster at Central Bank; QRC priest crushed by falling language standards

“She then almost gave out her sexual orientation when she said that she was ‘into Aaliyah’, and then attempted to correct it with ‘inter alia’ with the short ‘a’ pronunciation—which, by the way, is the correct Latin pronunciation. Only with the audience’s urging did she get it right in the end. Sigh!”

The following Letter to the Editor, which deals with an example of the continuing decline in the use of language in public in T&T,  was submitted to Wired868 by Reverend Clifford Rawlins:

Photo: A satirical take on reading.
(Copyright Glasbergen.com)

With every passing QRC function over the last several years, one has had to bemoan the falling standards reflected in the quality of speeches and presentations. [Saturday evening] was no different, as far as the Mistress of Ceremonies was concerned particularly. Her mispronunciations throughout the evening were remarkably those that could have been corrected by taking preventative action as, more than anything else, they were errors of knowledge.

As a fellow Scots Presbyterian Minister myself, I was proud to celebrate the formidable legacy of inductee, the late Sir Robert Alexander Falconer, son of Reverend Alexander Falconer, third minister of Greyfriars Church in Port-of-Spain. But I cringed as his name was mispronounced “FAL-CO-NER” at least three times.

The wife of an eminent former QRC vice-principal, who was sitting to my immediate right, remarked, “Well, seeing that he went to the University of EdinBERG, his name could surely be Fal-co-ner!” *Chuckle*

As we went along, I moaned as she pronounced “Royalians” with a short ‘a’ as in “royale.” How could someone not know how to pronounce a word as simple as that?

She then almost gave out her sexual orientation when she said that she was ‘into Aaliyah’, and then attempted to correct it with ‘inter alia’ with the short ‘a’ pronunciation—which, by the way, is the correct Latin pronunciation. Only with the audience’s urging did she get it right in the end. Sigh!

Photo: A satirical take on modern education.
(Copyright Glasbergen.com)

Somewhere in the mix was our President’s usual non-pronunciation of his ‘th’s’ and misplacement of the same as with his classic, “The work that these great men wroughth…” Well, to tell you the truth, by then, I was wroth and wrathed, or as the Jamaicans would pronounce it, raaaaated man, raaaaaaated!

But what took the cake was Miss Lady’s announcement that the rest of the audience remain while the inductees “living and posthumous,” make their way out first. There was an audible gasp of horror in the room. She wondered at everyone’s amazement, totally nonplussed.

The gentleman to my wife’s immediate left (name withheld) looked on in horror, shocked that she apparently did not really know what she had done. She too began to ask if she had done or said anything amiss. As the gathering started to mumble among themselves, yours truly, unable to take it any longer, simply blurted out, “Posthumous means they’re DEAD!”

“Oooooh!” she exclaimed, catching on at last. She then made an appropriate correction. Where did they find such a one? Rather, “Whey dey find she?”

My colleague mentioned that she was a youth who was being “given a chance.”

“Yout,” I asked, “Yute?”

He replied, “No, YOOT!” Hahahahahaha!

Photo: A satirical take on education.
(Copyright Glasbergen.com)

I’m sure this woman has tertiary level education. And yet, for all that, unable to read, write, spell and pronounce? Good God!

The esteemed lady to my right ascertained that these faux pas—which I deliberately and audibly mispronounced “fox pass” a couple of times—were not the fault of the persons concerned but rather of the hall, since she had been at a function there the week before where someone welcomed “all the members of the Diplomatic Corps(e)”!!! Oh gawd! Murder, yes!

The night’s saving grace and redemption came from the response of the inductees, delivered by one Hollis Raymond Charles. What use of language! What style, what diction, what command!

It was a classic QRC speech, of the sort to which I was accustomed as a boy at the College but which has been sadly lacking of late as standards have been falling and we seem to be alright with mediocrity.

We no longer stand on the shoulders of giants, as he alluded that we once did. As with Elizabeth Browning’s poem, “Aurora Leigh,” when we see greatness and majesty, we don’t take off our shoes and follow; we “sit in stupor, pluck blackberries and daub our faces far from our first similitude.”

Photo: The Queen’s Royal College (QRC).
(Copyright Nigel Durrant)

Hollis Charles reminded me of why I wanted to go to no school other than The Queen’s Royal College and why I wanted to marry someone with a like intellectual and linguistic capacity and performance.

And why I pray that any future male issue of ours would be educated at and groomed by none other than The Queen’s Royal College.

AboutLetters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your blog between 300 to 800 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation.

Check Also

QRC cricket remembers 1972 Intercol win; Justice Moosai to address anniversary celebration at Harvard

CIC alum Justice Prakash Moosai will deliver the feature address on 18 November when the …

14 comments

  1. My Ph.D will never be done but its thesis would have been titled The Effect of Colonialism on the English language in multi racial Trinidad. CLR James and VS Naipaul would be strong reference points for structure; Afra would get in as evidence as to what my generation did with the language and Lasana Liburd for his endless supply of Trinidad-tinged sarcastic metaphors. An Indian coconut vendor and a Sangre Grande taxi driver would be included as examples of occupational influence, it would be interesting to see if they could write that, and ah diz cyah leave out the next generation from my old neighbourhood in EDR. But my thesis would sadly prove the declining influence of the Trinidad calypso on a distracted nation.

    • Earl Best

      And why, pray, would it not get written? You already have three readers, I think: Lasana, Clifford and me. Make that five: Afra and Winford James.

  2. Wendell Raeburn, you have to add anyone you would like to tag to the group first. Check the top right hand panel and put their names under “Members.”

  3. Soooo. ..who was this special speaker…or is the Code of Silence in effect?

  4. Michael Anthony Lilla…its bricks from aside!

  5. My cringing intensified by the sentence!

  6. Cliff cut like ah bozzzzz in that post HAHAHAHAH

  7. “Somewhere in the mix was our President’s usual non-pronunciation of his ‘th’s’ and misplacement of the same as with his classic, “The work that these great men wroughth…” Well, to tell you the truth, by then, I was wroth and wrathed, or as the Jamaicans would pronounce it, raaaaated man, raaaaaaated!”

  8. Clifford Rawlins…..lord eh…..