ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the May 2, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dreamwriteremmy. It also fills the "baby" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] kengr. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some touchy stuff. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features an unsupportive social worker, language discrimination, a prickly soul, vulgar talk, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"Yon Sèl Lang Se Janm Ase"


Saraphina was crying because
not all social workers were
as nice as Heidi was.

Aidan felt so frustrated
that he tugged on his hair,
trying to focus himself back on
the office and the woman who
was making an obstacle of herself.

The Language Support Department of
the Human Services Center was,
in fact, not supportive at all.

The clerk in charge of it had
a tight fist and a dwol kaka,
neither of which Aidan wanted
to say where his baby could hear.

"Don't listen to her, pitit," said Aidan.
"Your mother tongue is a language."

"Haitian isn't a real language,
just a jumble of French and African,"
Chrysann Clark said, wrinkling her nose.

"No, that would be a pidgin, made by
adults speaking different languages but
needing to communicate," Aidan said.
"A creole is a natural language that evolves
when children grow up hearing a pidgin.
It's quite an impressive accomplishment."

He'd been reading the books that
Heidi had recommended, which were
apparently more use than the person
who was supposed to help children
get support for learning a new language.

Saraphina needed to hear about how
her people were smart and resourceful,
not that her native language "wasn't real."

Aidan would just have to do his own research,
and maybe set up a program of his own.
He didn't need the department's money,
but other people weren't so lucky.

Besides, Saraphina would benefit
from having other children around.

"How come she keeps crying
like that?" Chrysann asked as she
stared at the sobbing toddler.

Aidan was tired of being polite
to someone causing so much trouble.
"Because your soul feels like a sandbur,
bourik idyo," he said truthfully.

"I don't know why you're bothering
with that gabble," Chrysann said,
giving him an offended look.
"You speak perfectly good English."

"Yon sèl lang se janm ase,"
Aidan said as he walked out.

One language is never enough.

* * *

Notes:

Chrysann Clark -- She has ochre skin, black eyes, and short black hair with just a little wave. Her heritage includes black, Hispanic, and Asian. Chrysanne is a social worker for the Language Support department where Aidan goes in California. Logical and proper, she is a hard worker but has little sympathy for the people in her care. She pushes assimiliation to the point of erasing other identities, with a particular dislike for Hispanic and Afro-Caribbean cultures.
Qualities: Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Proper, Good (+2) Sociology, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Insensitive

* * *

Yon sèl lang se janm ase -- One language is never enough
-- Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole has a rich history.

dwol kaka -- mouth full of shit
-- Haitian Creole on YouSwear

Pitit -- little one
-- MamaLisa

A pidgin is a shorthand language created as a means to communicate between groups who do not share a common language. A creole is a full-sized, natural language evolving from two or more source languages.

Bourik idyo -- ill-mannered idiot
-- Kreyol Dictionary

Sandburs come in various species, of which at least one is found in haiti.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-14 01:28 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Can we see one more comeuppance? Clark-ka is being nekulturniy. With the full import of that word.

Re: Well...

Date: 2017-05-14 11:24 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*dreamy voice* ohyes...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-14 02:10 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I love this one -- I find linguistics and the history of languages fascinating even though I have no facility for (human) languages whatever. (Programming languages are another matter -- one could easily regard Ruby as a creole, with mostly C syntax and Smalltalk semantics.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-14 02:51 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a Band of Brothers appreciation icon, highlighting Gene Roe (BoB: my fandom needs some scissors!)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Go, Aidan! *hugs Sarafina*

All my multilingual characters (and there are many), especially the Creole, Kreyol and Kweyol speakers in the bunch, are cheering. And giving this quote unquote social worker the extra strength hairy eyeball. So am I, for that matter; a little internalized hatred there, lady?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-14 03:14 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, go Aidan and go you, [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith!

The Doctor agrees completely with your description of these languages, and adds curses in several languages that I can't even recognize and don't think I can transcribe, let alone translate (except I recognize something like "Clark" in all of them). And he adds
 photo Cherokee sig_zpsjr6obivh.png
Edited Date: 2017-05-14 03:14 am (UTC)

A quick note

Date: 2017-05-14 04:17 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
When I copied the title from this to post a pointer in LJ & DW pages, I noticed that the lang tag was empty.

For future reference, here's the entry for Haittian Creole from http://www.iana.org/assignments/language-subtag-registry/language-subtag-registry

Type: language
Subtag: ht
Description: Haitian
Description: Haitian Creole
Added: 2005-10-16
Suppress-Script: Latn

I don't know if you'll actually be able to add that to the title, but if you can, it'll be appreciated by folks using the smarter screen readers.

you can also use lang tags on phrases in web pages:

Aidan was tired of being polite
to someone causing so much trouble.
"Because your soul feels like a sandbur,
<span lang="ht">bourik idyo</span>," he said truthfully.

Aidan was tired of being polite
to someone causing so much trouble.
"Because your soul feels like a sandbur,
bourik idyo," he said truthfully.

Re: A quick note

Date: 2017-05-14 08:12 pm (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a cream-colored yellow Labrador lying at the top of a staircase, one paw draped over the top step (mellow yellow)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I haven't met/seen you before, but cheers for being very screenreader savvy! I'm using Jaws, which does tag languages when it parses them--if it parses them which isn't always a definite thing--and now not only does another friend of mine have language-tagging information, I do as well! I never knew how that worked - I thought it had to do with internal, preset dictionary and language detection code within JFW, honestly - and with as many multilingual code switchers as I tend to write, I'll be making use of this now I have a clue! Retroactive use, even. *eyes her own fic previously posted*

Re: A quick note

Date: 2017-05-15 01:52 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I've had a few blind friends and still have one. Heck, I have braille translation software that produces "adequate" grade 2 braille. And I have my own braille embosser to print it out.

I first encountered accessibility software and problems back in the 80s when we had a blind user on the BBS I helped run. Learned to do menu option so that they didn't get messed up by the sort of hardware screen readers they had back then.

And my friend Lin clued me in to the way Jaws does things.

If you are gonna rewrite stuff, and it's on a site where you can do stuff like CSS there are tricks for making a translation of a foreign word/phrase appear when you "hover" the mouse cursor over the word(s).

Even here there are a couple of tricks that'll mark the text and let you get a translation by clicking on the marked text.

Let me know if you want more info a PM would probably be best to avoid boring poor ysabet with stuff zie can't use.

Re: A quick note

Date: 2017-05-15 02:54 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a slightly faded picture of a three-legged torbie kitty cat with a lot of rust coloring in her fur (supermodel kitty)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
You have decent Braille translation software bouncing around? Wow, not very many people can say *that*! If I'm reading correctly and you're sighted, I am super impressed!

Re languages: I'm aiming to tag various language snippets in text, so your code demonstration above is perfect. :) Thanks!

Re: A quick note

Date: 2017-05-15 03:26 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
You have decent Braille translation software bouncing around? Wow, not very many people can say *that*! If I'm reading correctly and you're sighted, I am super impressed!

Well, it's "adequate". It's something the NFB(?) used to have on their website.

Does Grade 1 perfectly (like that's a challenge) and does ok Grade 2.

Yeah, I'm sighted. though if I lose my glasses I'm in trouble. I can have trouble *finding* them if I drop them.

I've also been interested in codes and ciphers and odd alphabets, so it was sort of a gimme.

Re languages: I'm aiming to tag various language snippets in text, so your code demonstration above is perfect. :) Thanks!

De nada. The hardest part is looking thru that page I linked to to find the right language tag. Some languages don't have one.

I love it!

Date: 2017-05-14 04:25 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
The story, not the situation.

I've run into that sort of unsocial social services type a few times. Not fun.

She needs a few applications of the cluebat.

It's one thing to say "we don't support that language", quite another to say "your language isn't a real language". Almost as bad as saying "your religion isn't a real religion".

I'm not that good with languages, but I do pick up phrases (and pronunciation) pretty well.

Aidan's response reminds me of a kid I had a summer school class with back in junior high. He'd picked up a lot of "colorful" phrases from his dad.

He could smile sweetly and say the most insulting things in a number of languages. All while making it seem like he was complimenting you. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-14 11:51 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
*sigh*

I wish I had more facility with languages. But my brain seems to have a hard enough time processing English, much less anything else. I think I know why my particular sub-set of Viking ancestors decided to settle down in one place.

Still... it's interesting to see that T-America has it's idjits as well... enough so to reduce the immortal with the frankly phenomenal coping skills to swearing in frustration. Oh well, at least Aidan can console himself in the knowledge he'll at least out-live Ms Clark.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-14 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
I wonder if she's doing that job because she's the person who's available to do it, even though she's not really suited for it.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-15 02:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm not the only one reminded of Faramundo here! Ugh, may these two never get together.

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