Time for a new tower of Babel

September 1, 2006

London visitors are going to be able to learn rap-style slang to help them understand local teens. Mayor Ken Livingstone has lined up free crash courses for tourists in London’s Trafalgar Square. The move comes after researchers revealed teenagers have swapped traditional Cockney rhyming slang for a new dialect dubbed “Jafaican”. It mixes English, Jamaican patois, Indian and West African dialects and is officially called Multicultural English.he language use of words such as “creps” for trainers, “yard” for home and “sick” or “nang” for good. Visit London plan to set up a Festival Season Language School to give three-minute lessons tomorrow. Five languages or dialects will be taught – Bengali, Spanish, Sign Language, Cockney and Teen Slang.According to The Sun a spokesman for Visit London said: “It’s a celebration of our diversity. More than 250 languages are spoken in the city and some have blended together.” What a horrible thought! Youngsters spouting such nonsense as ‘ my sick creps are in my yard’ in a French or German accent. Is this what the language of Shakespeare has come to? A plague on your multiculturalism, My Livingstone!

The Guardian a while ago had an example of this abomination: ‘Safe, man. You lookin buff in dem low batties. Dey’s sick, man. Me? I’m just jammin wid me bruds. Dis my yard, innit? Is nang, you get me? No? What ends you from then?’

To my mind multiculturalism in languages should mean keeping individual languages intact, not brewing some appalling mish mash of languages. “People are beginning to sound the same regardless of their colour or ethnic background,” said Sue Fox, of London University’s Queen Mary College, who is studying the phenomenon. What a world where people all sound the same, eat the same crap food, wear the same clothes, shop in the same shops.

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