The Way We Talk and other Antiguan and Barbudan Folkways

This fine book on Antigua & Barbuda’s lore will be of interest to visitors and residents alike. It is a building block in recording and preserving local heritage making everyone more aware of the culture’s unique character and preserving it for future generations. Author Joy Lawrence’s creativity in storytelling and reporting puts readers worldwide in a place where they can see, hear, feel, touch and, oh yes, taste the richness of the Antigua & Barbuda culture. The book has created a sense of pride and nostalgia in citizens living abroad and a renewed appreciation of home in those living locally. The author moves easily from Standard English to her home-grown Creole, with an emphasis on entertainment through quick ironic wit and sly humour. On the other hand, Joy takes on an educator’s role in a novel experiment, to teach Antigua/Barbuda Creole. But she has gone a step further by recapturing the country’s historical and cultural past in writing, songs and pictures. Her work is notable given that there are no standard formulae for writing and speaking local Creole. Only one previous writer has published a text on Antiguan/Barbuda Creole; but this one comes to you complete—almost, maybe—with explanations and translations in Standard English, all well arranged to help the learner master the language. Many visitors to the country have been seen and heard expressing varying degrees of astonishment, puzzlement or even exasperation. “Can you please show me the way to the Recreation Grounds?” one may have asked politely. The reply may have come just as politely, as friendly, and as helpfully while mixed in with that vital ingredient of gesticulation. Goo dung dey so so … den tun pan de carna … den you weel bak so agen … jes by de fiah chuck an dem … an you we see um! Author Joy deserves the highest compliments for her efforts to educate citizens and others with a craving for local culture. So-o-o get bilingual, or even multilingual, all in the spirit of good, effective communication!

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