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dr Richard alsop
Dr Richard Allsopp Is a rarity in a Region that has produced a number of outstanding scholars, who have all won great international acclaim. He is linguist and lexicographer extraordinaire. When Dr Allsopp published his Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage in 1996, he had taken, compiled and recorded the effect of four hundred years of language usage in the Caribbean region. It took Dr Allsopp 25 years from the beginning of the project to collect all the disparate strands of the language, spoken in over fifteen separated and somewhat isolated countries, and weave it all into the wonderful glowing tapestry that is his Dictionary. Allsopp's love for words first found printed expression when he published his first article for Arthur Seymour's literary magazine 'Kyk-Over-Al' in "1950 in their native British Guiana, now Guyana. The article started Allsopp on the study of words of Guyanese usage, and this is a daunting task when it is considered that the Guyanese vocabulary is richly invested with words of various indigenous nation/tribes of Amerindians, as well as influenced by the Dutch, French, Portugese, Spanish, Chinese, various Indian (from the Asian subcontinent) and African languages as well as English. Allsopp left his post as Headmaster of Queens College Guyana's most prestigious school, and took up appointment at the University College upon an offer from Sir Arthur Lewis as UCWI later UWO. Allsopp then enlarged his research to include the other Caribbean countries. The Dictionary found greater form when the Ford Foundations approved a request from Sir Phillip Sherlock for a grant, for what they called a Caribbean Language Development Programme in 1969. While Allsopp carried out his research, notices were always put on notice boards on Campus for students from various countries to help in assisting, by explaining how words or phrases were used in their respective countries. This is what was seen of the project in the Caribbean. But Allsopp realised he had to embark on the study of etymology and this necessitated him writing to scholars in universities and libraries in other countries, and also to Directors of Culture. What is surprising is that Dr Allsopp did not get ready funding for the project, and often it was barely kept on track by the timely intervention of a single Caribbean country, like when Guyana, under Forbes Burnham's rule came in with crucial support. At times even the University of the West Indies seemed not too supportive of the project, and often if it were not for the intervention of a sympathetic head of state, the project would have certainly taken longer, if not failed completely. But then Allsopp was creating history like it had never been created before in the Caribbean Region, creating history is often hindered, when far too often the persons in positions of power or influence, do not have the necessary vision to perceive the benefits of a project before it is finished. It is noticeable that when one reads the credits in the introduction to Dr Allsopp's Dictionary that it is woefully short of Caribbean institutional support. There was no support from the Caribbean Development Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central bank, (although they have funded other book projects and some of seemingly far less importance!) There was no support from any of the Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks, and it was to the indictment of all of them when Barclays Bank supported the Dictionary project! Dr Richard Allsopp's 'Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage' is one of the most formidable contributions to the understanding, usage's and linguistic integration of the Caribbean Region, while being the definitive authority of English, is used both written and spoken in the Caribbean.