Introduction: Oral/sexual
discourse in Jamaican
popular culture
'I dont know much 'bout book, but
tell you what me fren,
is a
man wid
terrible long head,
can tell you, and de man dat want
fe mek me a fool, mek him come.' Old John.
Quoted in Henry G. Murray,
Manners and Customs of the Country a Generation Ago:
Tom Kittle's Wake
'Kishee says to be a Griot,
must have no doubt when a knowl-
edge comes to me like an echo in the bone or a noise in the blood.'
Vic Reid,
Nanny Town
'Now I'd like to describe for you some of the characteristics of
our nation language. First of all, it is from, as I've said, an oral
tradition. The poetry, the culture itself, exists not in a dictionary
but in the tradition of the spoken word. It is based as much on
sound as it is on song. That is to say, the noise that it makes is part
of the meaning, and if you ignore the noise (or what you would
of as noise, shall I say) then you lose part of the meaning.
When it is written, you lose the sound or the noise, and therefore
you lose part of the meaning. Which is, again, why I have to have
a tape recorder for this presentation. I want you to get the sound
of it, rather than the sight of it.
Edward Karnau Brathwaite,
History of the Voice
The linguistic trap
. . .
The oral
the written
(the release of inhibitions)
Edouard Glissant,
Caribbean Discourse
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