Pronunciation and the Frederick Kissoons of the world
Once upon a time, one of the first things I pored over in the Guyana media was Freddie Kissoon’s column. But that was then; these days, after glimpsing at his column headlines, readers pretty much know what to expect, as his rant usually is a rendition and recapitulation of the same old tune; it’s like listening to a used-to-be good song on a scratched-up vinyl record.
The June 17, 2012 rendition was no different, except I got caught with dem out-of-this–world Philosophy big words. I’m not impressed, but must admit that the word “Prometheus” caught me – so I read the column.
To my surprise, there was no connotation or innuendo of what the word meant in the column in question.
As a matter of fact, nowhere was the word mentioned! Is the word “Prometheus” a synonym for “Promotor”, or is it “Promise” – or perhaps “Prose”? Maybe “Promiscuous”!
What I found annoying in the column was not the failure of the prolific ex-U.G. lecturer to give the reader an idea of who or what “Prometheus” is, or his virtual bankruptcy to be balanced in his references and opinions.
It is not his penchant to twist facts, exaggerate or convolute the truth.
The sentence that irked me most was his mention of his wife making saltfish and “dholl” – more specifically – the last word in that sentence. (“Dal”, or “daal”, is a lentil, commonly known as “split peas”).
Mr. Kissoon and some others have ‘good’ reasons to be ashamed to be East Indians; (I have not read his latest column on the issue, neither the readers’ response to it).
However, I feel that one of the reasons the writer has mis-spelled (mis-pronounced) the word is that he is ashamed of the East Indian utterances and elocution.
His ignorance on the correct sound of the word or his refusal to acquiesce to the correct accentuation could be a result of his growing up in Wortmanville.
Freddie, please… the word should be spelled and pronounced (phonated) “dal” (or more accurately for the Guyanese spelling “daal”! Not “dholl”, or “dhool”, or “dhall”, or “dol”; (the latter intonation is rather revolting, and makes me want to puke!) The correct spelling and pronunciation, Mr. Kissoon, is ‘dal’ (or ‘daal’)!
I surely can empathize with the columnist for curtsying and knuckling under the word ‘daal’; it sounds too Indian, too ‘country type’, and too uneducated. So, he has to ‘Englishfy’ the word (“daal”) to fit in, and make it look less Indian so as to be acceptable to neighbours and acquaintances. Having lived in Georgetown a short time, I was pressured to do the same, so I understand a bit, Freddie.
Please, Freddie, be ashamed for whatever reason you wish, but please, considering your assumed role as the consumate exemplified Guyanese hybrid, please spell and pronounce the food item as ‘daal’ (or ‘dal’)! And while we are at it, the half spherical Indian pot is not “kanary”; it is “karahee”!
I can hear Mr. Kissoon and his fans saying, “why be bogged down by the frivolousness of a mere pronunciation of a word? There are more important issues to attend to such as corruption, crime, creed and greed”.
Though seemingly trivial, this concern is of particular concern as it is symptomatic of a greater problem with the Frederick Kissoons of the world.
Dehradun, UC, India