Voices from our community Pt 2 Tanya Brown Griffith

  • 04/03/2019
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  • Admin

Each month, Vandu Languages will be posting stories from people who come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds in our new series of blog posts. We want to shine a spotlight on people’s experiences, contributions, achievements, and challenges and to make their voices heard.

This month we’re sharing a story from Tanya Brown-Griffith who is currently Programme Director at Sussex Health and Care Partnership. Learn about her story below.

Tanya's story

My native country and languages

I’m Jamaican by birth and moved to the UK in 2002 from the Caribbean. My husband is Barbadian.  English is the main spoken language in both Jamaica and Barbados, although there is a dialect that is spoken which is known as “broken English” or “English Creole”.  

In Jamaica, the social language is Patois which derives most of its words and the entire slang from a West African language named Akan. This is spoken by many Jamaicans, even by the most educated and affluent people and is often mixed with English words.  However, Patois is most frequently spoken amongst those from the areas of greatest deprivation (affected by socioeconomic factors such as poverty, lack of education, and employment).   

My life in the UK

Though my children were born in the UK, it’s very important to me that my children appreciate the language from their heritage.  We speak creole at home, in conversations with family living in the Caribbean, or when we return to the Caribbean to visit.  

I also cook based on a lot of Jamaican and Barbadian foods. Another way I stay connected with my heritage is by holding true to my faith and instilling this in my children.  My love for some colours – red and orange is also very much influenced by my culture.  My taste in music is heavily influenced as I play a lot of calypso and reggae tunes for my children and I often sign a few Jamaican folklore songs to my children. Dance is another way I express my culture.

It can be an effort to keep connected with my culture, especially as life here in the UK gets busier. But it’s very important that I feel connected to my birth culture and so food, music, language, and dance is how I do that.

Share your own story

We’d love to hear about your heritage languages, foods, music, and any other cultural traditions or experiences you’d like to share. If you’d like to submit a blog post, please add your responses to here and email it to If you prefer, you can email us an audio or video recording instead if that’s easier for you. Please also send us a photo you’d like to include with your submission.

Contact us

At Vandu Languages, we work with people from across diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and believe there’s power in connecting our communities. Feel free to contact us to learn about our translation, interpreting, and bilingual advocacy services.

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