Half Yu Life Gone!

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We’ve all had someone declare, “You have not lived until you’ve . . .” and the sentence is completed with their idea of a life changing experience. So, they might continue, “ . . . been in love”, “ . . . had fondue”, “ . . . had a child”, or “ . . . watched the sun set from Ricks Café”.There is an array of enriching experiences with which some persons, having had them, now consider their life complete. These are all debatable, of course, but we don’t need to engage here in a debate about the essential features of a life well lived. What we will do, however, is consider how similar ideas are expressed in Jamaican: “Half yu live gone if yu neva love nobody” or, “If yu neva watch di sun set in Negril, half yu life gone!” In essence, you are as good as dead.Now, this subject of how we speak in Jamaica is itself, rife with debate. For example, do we speak a dialect, a patois, or a language? Embedded in this question are thorny issues of correct spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, among others.There are Jamaicans with expertise in this area (and I am not one of them) who have addressed these and other questions at length. In fact, I will invite my friend, Dr.