Author Archives: Sheba Liverpool

Guyanese Creole in Social context, Literature, and Music

Social Context
Like in most cultures the social context of a conversation includes code switching. Depending on who you are speaking to will determine how the conversation will flow. For example, a woman on the Steve Harvey show exemplified code switching while having a conversation with her boyfriend. She expresses that she speaks English; however, when she becomes upset or angry her Guyanese patois comes out. This shows that the social context of the Guyanese language does not differ from most. When speaking with someone who is not familiar with the Guyanese dialect one would speak proper English. Nevertheless, once you are in a social gathering amongst family or friends an individual gravitates to speaking patois. As for the news media the language is usually always in English. According to the website, Kaiuterness, caters to Guyanese news, the print and news audio is written in standard English.

History of Guyanese Literature
According to the article, Indian Ancestry, written by Petamber Persuad, provides details on the beginning of Guyanese Literature. Persuad states, the first writings on Guyana were published by European explores and colonizers. Their writings extends up to the 20th century. As for the very first Guyanese of Indian Ancestry, the writings of Peter Kempadoo wrote the book, Guiana boy ,which was self published in 1960. Being that the European colonizers stole the shine of the Indian Ancestries made it difficult to create a platform for themselves. However, in 1960 Persaud states that soon comes to an end by “the emergence of women writing and a heightened period for Guyanese literature”(Persuad 3). This promotes Guyanese Ancestry to have a platform and ultimately a voice.

As for the music aspect of the Guyanese creole, nearly all songs are spoken with Guyanese patois. It is rare to come across a Guyanese song spoken in only standard English. Soca being one of the few genres in the Guyanese culture mainly uses Guyanese creole. The following is a link to the song “March out” by Jumo Primo that exemplifies Guyanese creole:

Within the song you will find the dialect to favor Guyanese creole. For example he states “gal” “meh” and “vybez”. This shows that in Guyanese music artists tend to shift towards Guyanese creole. Below you will find a poem entitled “The Cane-cutter” written by Ruel Johnson that typifies the same notion.

Fo-day manin -cack a crow
And he know he gat to go
And all he gat is e sharp twenty-two
And e food-carrier so shiny and new
Today is had wok this whole munth
Today we gat to full all dem punt
At break-time me tek a lil smoke
And Kadwah guh crak a joke
And then the dam lead- han’
Playing lek some white man
Sometimes behave like a real jerk
Come and chase us back to work
Buddy-by how me bones ah ache Oh Gad!
If when Haray Ram tek me now, me glad
Only Ram keep me going as I chant me bhajan
Today, I hope me wife cook hassar and sigan
The cane-cutter tek his roti from he carrier-dish
He is thinking of his last daughter’s only wish
To save ebry las cent of he salary
To pay for her damn big dowry
Po gyal na know fuh wat in store
But agat to let me baby go fuh sure
Oh Gad! Now I can hardly bend
When does all dis hadship end
The cane cutter goes home at sunset
Gat to hurry so he wifey don’t fret
Still gat sum tumatee to plant
So tired no matta how he cant
Fatnight coming and its pay day
Gat to tek a lil finey this Friday
Shoot some crap wid Kak, Bud and Lulluby
And Pum-pak to dance wen he get lil groggy
Betta read yuh book get some larning
You can’t last wid this cane cutting
You cut, fetch and full punt in de sun or rain
Come Munday and it’s back to cutting cane
Pickney ah tell yuh dis life is haad
Dis is nat cricket or playing cyad
Yuh wuk till yuh get haad calluses all ova
And de bakrah neva say thanks, son-of-a
The cane-cutter is one of those dying breed
These pioneers‘ve fused the Guyanese seed
Metal intact, they raked and did scrape
And eventually changed the landscape


Guyanese on Steve Harvey show:
Persuad, Petamber “Indian ancestry Guyana Chronicle”. Since 2008