Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Real Gangsta Shoulderz

I have never understood why we had both a C and K in the English language. I feel like the C could do everything the K does and vise versa. Sure, we have been conditioned to be familiar with Cs and Ks in their proper places. If I spelled "break," "breac" instead, your brain would not be happy with it. But what is the real problem there? It should sound the same right? 

It really gets me when we double up on the CK. I mean would "snack" sound any different if it was "snac" or "snak?" I think not, just ask all the snack food companies that spell it one of those ways so it will seem hip and cool for the kids. 

Personally, I am leaning towards the K. It can do all the things the C does and in most instances, it looks better, has a better feel. "Kreek?' No problem. "Kat?" Works for me. "Sukkeed?"  Maybe a little weird. I start to trip up when I insert the K into the "Ch" situation. "Khurch?" This is not working for me. Also, the practise of beginning all normally C words with Ks feels very Ku Klux Klanny to me, and there is no way I want to have anything in common with that group. 

Maybe I should go the other way around and drop the K and replace it with the C. The only trouble there is all those silent Ks at the beginning of words, "knife," "know." We didn't need those Ks anyway. They were silent for a reason.

What, in the name of god, is your point Sara?

The Samoan alphabet does not have a C. However, it does have a K. So one would think that they could simply substitute the K in all instances where a C is used in English. It would help solve small issues, like pronouncing Cale's name. Kale sounds the same as Cale and happens to be a common misspelling of his name anyway, since that is how the vegetable is spelled.

However, Samoans do not interchange the C and K. Instead, they use the G for C words. I assume because a G and a C look the same. So Cale becomes Gale. Things start to get a little tricky when you realize that the G in the Samoan alphabet does not sound the same as the English G, but instead is a NG sound (like at the end of sing or sung). Except, as far as I can hear, when Cale is called Gale it is with the English pronunciation of the G. My head is spinning.

What implications does this C, G interchangeability have? Well, as with the rest of the world, American gangsta culture is quite popular in Samoa. Last year I had a student that named all this files Gangsta....something. I have a student this year who writes his name as 2p@c (that's Tupac for those of you at home) on all his assignments. Rap music is insanely popular, as are gangsta fashions (when they aren't in school uniform). Things like Blood and Bloodz show up in students artwork all the time. And thanks to the interchangeable C and G, we have seen more than one Samoan with an elaborate, gothic script tattoo across his arm or back declaring "Grips." You know, the American gang? Switch the G with a C? Crips! Now you got it.

— Sara

PS. As long as I am talking about interchangeable. There is no B in the Samoan alphabet either. But there is a P and it is interchangeable with the B. It is so prevalent that I find myself misspelling words with Ps instead of Bs. I had a 10 minute conversation trying to figure out what a netball "pip" was until I realized we were talking about "bibs," the uniform netball players wear.

PPS. I should probably explain the post title. Real Gangsta Shoulderz is a piece of graffiti in town. We are pretty sure they want to be Real Gangsta Soldiers. 

4 comments:

Teresa said...

Holy crap you are blowing my mind... or sould I say... Holy Krap you are plowing my mind! haha

Barb Carusillo said...

Wouldn't you spell succeed if you were exchanging things to make the proper sound, as sukseed?....Hmmm, that just plain looks nasty though, don't it?

Anonymous said...

I always thought that it was the way Samoans speak english in a way like Chinese speak english (where they have trouble with the 'r' and 'l'). They cannot pronounce certain letter sounds due to I guess not having them in their every day language. My husband is Samoan born and I forever correct him on the pronounciation of the 'b' and 'p' sound emphasising how one is hard sounding and the other is soft sounding....same way with the c and g

Chris said...

là où sont vous Sara,
ses 5 jours maintenant
I'm inquiété