Tag Archives: West Indian English in Panama

Rass Not Spoken Here!

Making light of the scramble for the Metro of Panama money.

Making light of the scramble for the Metro of Panama money.

Rass
1.West Indian term referring to the behind.
2.Can also be a word used to enhance any sentence.
3.Used when angry
urban dictionary

A short while ago, not only I but a roomful of visitors to the University of Panama received a cold and rather unfriendly “welcome” to a poetry recital of sorts in which I had been invited to participate. I was summarily cut off from my recitation of a poem I composed using the English of my grandfathers. What followed was a litany of “Spanish Only” poetic voices, much to my outrage and chagrin. Even our audience, full of distinguished people from all parts of the Caribbean and the U.S.A. were sternly put wise that they were in a Spanish speaking country and being hosted by a monolingual university. At least, that was how we were made to feel. I could not hang around and listen to the rest of the hypocritical blah, blah that followed. Continue reading

Mashup

My beloved Auntie Berenice Charles, 1912-2005

My beloved Auntie Berenice Charles, 1912-2005

Although passed on to Glory now since 2005, my beloved Auntie Berenice, who worked on the Panama Canal Zone as a maid and, finally, a cook, all her life, never leaves my side at my writing desk. It was from her that I learned about the Westindians of Panama and grew to love and understand our English patois.  Continue reading