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GUEST,Paul Slade 'De' vs. 'The' in Carribean folk songs (27) RE: 'De' vs. 'The' in Carribean folk songs 27 Nov 12

1) I used to work with a woman whose parents came to Britain from Jamaica with the Windrush generation. She spoke perfect estuary English in the (otherwise all-white) office, but automatically slipped into patois whenever her mum rang. It was as natural a switch for her as my own automatic excision of any swear words when I spoke to my parents.

2) When Johnny Cash recorded Bob Marley's Redemption Song, be delivered the lines just as Marley himself had done - "Sold I to the merchant ships", "We forward in this generation", and so on. "There was one line I was wary about because it was not good English," Rick Rubin says in his sleeve notes. "I said, 'Johnny, do you want to change this word to say it the way you'd say it?' And he looked at me and said, 'Bob Marley wrote that. I can't change that!'"

3) I used to chant along for all I was worth with Linton Kwesi Johnson's early albums, pronouncing the words in my closest approximation of his accent. As a nice middle-class white boy from North Devon, I've no doubt I sounded absolutely ludicrous, but my love for the music was genuine enough and how the Hell can you song those words in any other voice? "Stan' firm inna Englan' inna this ya time!" is one thing. "Stand firm in an England in this, your time," quite another.

4) I always thought that Ghost Town line was "in natty boom town", but maybe I'm wrong. Whatever it is, Terry Hall makes it work, anyway.

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