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29284: Hermantin (reply): 29276: Laforest (reply) Re: 29255: Bick (reply) RE: 29241: (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Mr. Laforest:

Your question is a very legitimate one which has been debated here in South Florida where this program is being implemented. Beyond the much referenced issues of culture and identity there are very practical reasons as to why Creole should be offered as a foreign language in this part of the country.

Need for Reliable Interpreters: Many city, state and federal agencies are relying on young Haitian Americans or American Haitians to serve as interpreters for clients, patients etc. The level of MIS-interpretations offered is really alarming. These young ones, who have never learned Creole formally are using a very rudimentary, very rough version of Diaspora Creole, confusing their Haiti born brethen and creating situations where they have hurt rather than helped. Moreover a language program ( Creole language interpretation and translation) offered at Miami Dade College is having a hard time recruiting the right candidates, that is individuals fluent in Creole and English with a mastery ( written and spoken) of both languages. Applicants are either Haitian nationals with great proficiency in Creole and very limited skills in English or vice versa.

The Hispanic community has identified the lack of literacy in Spanish as a major problem in this community and have implemented a Spanish literacy program for native speakers from Kindergarten at most public schools in this County.

Teaching children Creole is also important, because many of them have also associated Creole with anger and punishment.... Mom screaming or Dad spanking. The Creole heard on the radio is again for the most part people fighting and insulting each other. The introduction of songs, poetry etc. would expose these children to a whole other dimension of Creole, one that they certainly do not experience at home.

And finally, Creole instruction is important because according to the experts children have a better grasp of the English language when they also have a mastery of the language spoken at home.