Thursday, August 04, 2005

Weekend Competition

Your ever-thrifty Pedant-General seems to be running up credit wherever he goes at the moment.

In the midst of some lively discussion on the undeniably gripping topic of the auxiliary initial clause with complex subject, our frequent and most heartily welcome commenter dearieme - who clearly has too much time on his hands - wondered exactly how one might explain, linguistically, the jazz construction "is you is or is you ain't my baby"?

I suggested, meekly, that perhaps the correctness conditions for Jazz musicians might allow for an alternative declension of the verb "to be" (or "not to be" as the case may be - or not).

This, I thought to myself, is a little conundrum that merits further examination, which is where you lot come in.

A weekend competition: Hamlet a la Jazz

Given these two examples of the patois, please - by way of comments - translate the Hamlet Soliloquy into Dizzy Gillespeze.

How is that for multiculturalism?


dearieme said...

Is ah gonna live or gonna die, babe?
De usual question dat's a-botherin' men,
'n' if ah die den all my troubles done be ovah,
No more no question bother me again.

But if ah die, what is it dat comes after?
Will de devil come chasin' aftah me?
Or will ah sleep de deep sleep of de just men?
'Cause sleep don't die for happily sleepin' me.

dearieme said...

P.S. someone once recommended WS's sonnets to Duke Ellington. The great man read and commented "five beats to the line"!

Arthur said...

I have been struggling with this all weekend - but I concede to dearime!

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Oh Mr Seat: admitting defeat?

I will accept variations on the theme though: what, for example, would you be able to do to Richard III?

"Now dat dis dogone fall done gone, it's gonna be a bright sunshiney day, heh: all cos of yours truly"

Or Henry V before Agincourt?