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‘WORDS HAUNT ME’

It was mid-afternoon and Romain was about to meet the parents of his girlfriend. He was
very nervous as he kept hearing the words of his father over and over in his head. “U r no
gud...no one wil ever love u.” But he felt there was some hope as he’s loved by his girlfriend
Rae-Ann. However, he fears that this may not be the case with her parents. They would never
approve of a boy living in a small three roomed house with his mother, who had to take him and
flee for their lives from his abusive father…..
“It’s going to be alright hun. Don’t worry, my parents will love you!” says Rae-Ann
kissing her boyfriend of six months on his cheek.
“Ah nervous babe. Yuh fada is ah big man in de business an mi is nun in he books!” utters
Romain with a hint of fear as he wipes his face for the third time.
Taking him by his hand and patting it gently she proceeds to say “Relax” and they both make
their way towards the front door. As Rae-Ann opens the door she calls out to her parents “Mom,
Dad, we’re here!” The parents emerged from the kitchen area and proceeded to the living room
where they embraced their daughter. Returning to her boyfriend’s side holding his arm, Rae-Ann
introduces her boyfriend.
“Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet Romain”
Firstly wiping the palms of his hand on his trousers, Romain reaches out and greets both parents.
“Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Carmino, a pleasure to meet you!”
“Good evening Romain, please have a seat” replies Mr.Carmino after firmly shaking
Romain’s hand.
“Dinner will be ready in ten minutes, hope you’re not too hungry” says Mrs.Carmino
smiling while taking her seat besides her husband.
Without hesitation Mr.Carmino says “So, what are your intentions with my daughter young
man?”
Before Romain could answer Rae-Ann pleas in a soft voice with her father “Daddy please”
holding on to her father’s arm.
“It’s alright Rae,” says Romain making and holding eye contact with her father. “Mr.Carmino
my intentions are pure. All I have is respect for your daughter and I will never disrespect her in
any way!” With a smile on her face, Rae-Ann watches her boyfriend as if he has just passed the
test.
“Very good” replies Mr.Carmino. “However, I’ll still have my eyes on you!”
Excusing herself, Mrs.Carmino leaves to check on the dinner. There was a period of silence
however; Mr.Carmino breaks it by directing another personal question to Romain….
“So tell me something about your family background”
“Well sir, I live with my mother” Romain says stuttering.
His voice trails off and enters Mrs.Carmino “Dinner is served.” Romain is relieved as he
does not wish to disclose any family history for particular reasons.
When they were all seated at the table Mrs.Carmino asks Romain to bless the food. His eyes
widens as he hears the question, but Rae-Ann intervenes and offers to give grace. Romain made
it through dinner as not much was said around the table. However, the moment Romain dreaded
all night has reached dessert!
Despite his dismay, dessert turned out to be the best part of the evening. Dessert was apple pie
crumble, which Romain thoroughly enjoyed never having tasted it before, followed by a game of
Pictionary, couple verses couple! Feeling a sense of ease, Romain begins to loosen up. It was
time for him to solve the drawing and within a few seconds he accurately achieves this. Rae-Ann
jumps up and hangs her boyfriend for they are close to winning the game. Romain full of
excitement blurts out…
“Alyuh ent wa nun wit we! We d bess, d bess ha ha!”
A sudden deafening silence filled the air, as Mr. and Mrs. Carmino sat staring in open
disapproval at this new Romain. At his side, he could see his girlfriend shaking her head and he
knew this was not good.
“Young man, what did you say? What type of language is that?” Shaking his head,
Mr.Carmino nearly shouting, “That type of language is unacceptable in this household!” says
Mr. Carmino with his eyebrows frowning together. Turning to his daughter he proceeds “This…
this…this is the kind of man you’ve brought into my home! One who can’t even speak proper
English!”
Raising his voice Romain says almost sneeringly “Dere is nuting wrong wit d way I speak! U jus
tink ur better dan mi cause u big in d ‘corporate world’!”
“You speak the language of the underdogs” replies Mr.Carmino. With an element of
disgust he continues, “I’m sure your mother is nothing but a measly servant!”
Not wanting to hear anything else, Romain rushes out the door, eyes filled with water. He
makes his way to the nearest park and pulls out a cigarette. This is a habit he’s developed over
his childhood years. The days when his father beat him to a pulp! At that moment he let all his
problems go as they slowly melted into his subconscious.
In spite of that he suddenly jerks as he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Rae-Ann. “Wah do u
want?” Romain says rising from his seat.
“I came to make sure you’re alright babe. I was worried” proclaims Rae-Ann almost
whispering now. Reaching for his hand Romain pulls away and shouts…
“Get away from me. Go back an b wit ur snotty, uptight lil family. I wish ur fada rots in
hell!”
Rae-Ann in turn slaps him in his face and screams “My father was right; you’re just a stupid boy
who’s worth nothing in this world!”
Romain launches blindly at Rae-Ann and proceeds to hit out at her. All the while with tears
flowing as he shrieks “I am goin be wort sumting dad, ur wrong ur wrong! Am goin to be wort
sumting!”
Rae-Ann somehow heard herself shout back “I’m NOT your father!”
As if in a trance, Romain stops and watches his girlfriend crying and moaning from the pain that
he has caused. Shocked by his actions he slowly backs away and then runs off. As he arrived at
home he quickly slams the door and slumps to the floor, face in hands. Suddenly he realizes that
he had never gotten over the trauma of his father’s frequent beatings…but what could he do
now? Was it too late for him? For Rae-Ann? He sobbed quietly.
Remember in the analytical you need to analyse: the dialectal variations, registers,
communicative behaviours and attitudes to language

ANALYTICAL

In my short story entitled, ‘Words Haunt Me,’ the language registers and variations in the
short story as well as attitudes to language and communicative behaviour of the characters will
be discussed.
Throughout the story, an intimate register was used between Romain and Rae-Ann. This
is because they are very comfortable with each other. Additionally, it is the language marked by
specialized words and expressions as seen when Rae-Ann says “It’s going to be alright babe.”
However, a more formal tone is exchanged between Romain and Mr. and Mrs. Carmino. This is
level of formality may have been adopted because Romain was meeting them for the first time.
This is apparent as Romain declares “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Carmino, a pleasure to meet
you!”
Mr. and Mrs. Carmino spoke Standard English using the acrolect variation as seen in this
example “So what are your intentions with my daughter young man.” Their choice of language
may have been because of their ‘upper class status’. However, Romain spoke creole at intervals
throughout the passage and at some intervals even exclaiming in basilect as he was emotionally
aroused. The comfort at which he spoke basilect leads one to believe that this is his first
language of choice and he is very comfortable with it as evident in the many features of the
creole structuring such as the use of ‘mi’ as a subject adjective and the replacement of the ‘th’
with the‘d’ as seen in the example ‘Dere is nuting wrong wit de way I speak!’
The attitudes formulated to language vary given a person’s perception. In the extract, Mr.
Carmino despises the creole used by Romain. He considers acrolect/ Standard English superior
to creole. He indicates this by saying ““You speak the language of the underdogs.” Romain on
the other hand, defends his language as he sees nothing wrong with it. He also, associates
Standard English with a higher class… ‘Corporate world.’
An example of a communicative behaviour which was exhibited throughout the passage
is gestures. Romain wiping his hands showed his nervousness while Mr. Carmino’s stern
handshake is interpreted as a sign of authority. Other communicative behaviours included facial
expressions as seen when Mr. Carmino’s ‘eyebrows frowned together which illustrates his anger
and also through vocalics when Romain raised his voice to show his frustration.
In attempting to analyse my second reflective I have looked at the relationship between a
person’s dialectal variations, choice of register, attitude to language and communicative
behaviours, all of which are important in communication.

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