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#4083: Re: DeGraff's promotion well deserved (fwd)

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

Well! Professor DeGraff, you have fulfilled the criteria to be promoted
to Professor of Creolistics 2001 and I wish you all my best to such an
ambitious project. However, there is one minor detail, a little
condition rather: make peace with Grey so she can join the "Konbit" with
no grudge :-). I am quite sure she has much to contribute in working to
elevate the Ayitian language.

If we paid close attention to the last waves on the language, we can
learn that all of us are for a language for Ayiti. Where we all differed
was in approaches and forms against which we can do nothing, due to the
fact that Ayitian higher authorities stamped the whole package. Until it
is widely used one can hardly evaluate its potential.

Considering the major structural work done to give shape to the
language, much that is left is to make it acceptable by all Ayitians and
others as a first class language. In fact, it is in good shape except
that it is not used as the vehicle of Ayitian knowledge\technologies.
This is not because it cannot be taught due to technical difficulties or
is not quite yet ready. I think otherwise. 

Ironically, the proponents of the language create an impediment to the
language elevation to a higher status. However, they are not alone:
Ayitian authorities are also a culprit. While the former made no effort
to pressure Ayitian authorities to change the image of the language from
a variance of Creole to a language so to call it by the people's name,
the latter has no desire to push it as a teaching and
knowledge-gathering tool. 

First, they (Ayitian authorities) don't find worthwhile spending the
money on such a campaign. Second, they feel that linguists are not very
serious about it since there are no pressures coming from them
(linguists) to change the language status in terms of name. Instead,
they are insisting in their academic work on calling it "Haitian
Creole". Third, proponents of the language fell short of creating a
synergy with the standard language to the country's real life; as a
result a major source of vocabularies is neglected in favor of the
master's language. Fourth, proponents spend too much energy on adult

 Not that adult literacy is not important, but the lack of resources
makes it ineffective. Available resources (for literacy) would be better
used if devoted to educate the children.  The way both uneducated and
educated Ayitian adults relate to the Ayitian language constitutes a
very dangerous mine for the evolution of the language. Both categories
are hostile to the language as is, because they feel that learning
French is the main course to receive an education. They resent the fact
to be taught in their mother tongue. Only a minute few along with
scholars feel otherwise. With this state of mind, it is basically
impossible to keep the language on track. For that matter, Ayitian
adults educated and educated are detractors and Ayitian children the
beacon of it.

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live