I don’t watch TV here. I used to. 10 years ago I lived on a daily diet of BET and a German cop show I still remember storylines from relatively vividly. It was called Le Clown in French, and it was awesome. A standard detective/action hero main character but because it was German the things that people called the police for were different from what I was used to. The things that a jury would think were important were different. I found it fascinating to see how another people lived. That it, like lots of violent cop shows came on at like 8am was also a revelation; we have a ‘watershed’ in the UK, which means that if it’s not suitable viewing for kids it shouldn’t be on TV before 9pm.
It’s probably why I like languages in theory. I say in theory cos in practice I become more reluctantly bilingual by the day I swear. When I’m feeling stressed out, suddenly I’m all ‘argh, as if my day wasn’t shitty enough, I have to explain my vex face in french! ARGH!!’ But that happens when you’re a bit homesick.
I used to love French. When I was in secondary school, I used to translate my favourite RnB tunes into French – for fun! In my spare time! And then I’d do my regular French homework! When I did A levels, I would listen to French radio every morning. And not the music stations, like news programmes. I was a proper francophile. Continue reading →
I love Martinique. Love it! Why? Because I catch the most jokes here. I write this with a silly grin, teary eyes and chuckling. This place is nuts. It’s like Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted. Beautiful but incomprehensibly crazy. Though it might be a crap analogy because I remember feeling like I didn’t ‘get it’. Although it’s possible that it is therefore the perfect analogy.
But I digress.
What had me laughing so hard I felt compelled to blog about it? Slavery – history versus the discourse here? The state of education in contemporary Martinique? Or perhaps both? I’ll let you decide.
First off, I was not alone. The group of crying splutterers included me, two Martinican dudes, and two girls, one Martinican and one Guadeloupean. We had convened at 8am and were reviewing the contribution of our comrade in educational struggle, who was also a Martinican, at around midday. His task was to translate the fruits typically found in a jaden kréyol Matinitje (literal translation: traditional Martinican creole garden) into kréyol – as in the language – so that creole-speaking students learning to read and write their language could have a written reference point aka a dictionary while they learned a bit of Martinican cultural history. There’s a real and problematic lack of learning materials in creole – the first language of many if decreasing numbers of Martinicans (and St Lucians, Dominicans, Guadeloupeans, Trinidadians and Haitians…Mauritians, and Seychellois…but that’s another story). Bref, this was an important task. Continue reading →