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#1023: Ballots in Haitian Creole: DeGraff comments (fwd)

From: Michel DeGraff <degraff@MIT.EDU>


> Educated Haitians speak, read and write French -- whose going to be able to 
> read Creole ballots?  very few.

This brings to mind the real dangers of persistent mis-information about,
and mis-representation of, Haiti's linguistic profile, among (educated)
Haitians and non-Haitians alike.  


(i) The vast majority of Haitians are monolingual Creole speakers --- with no
fluency in French whatsoever.

(ii) Through (adult) literacy programs in Haiti and the U.S., an increasing
number of these are becoming literate in Haitian Creole (not French).

(iii) Also note that most "Educated Haitians [who] speak, read and write
French" also speak, read and write English, which is not true of those
monolingual Creolophones who are now becoming literate in Haitian Creole.

(iv) Lastly, using the native (and national) language of a particular
community in admistrative correspondance that affects the well-being of that
community is a sign of concern and respect toward the said community.

(v) As far as I can tell, no one in, say, Florida has so forcefully
complained about the use of Spanish in government brochures.

What gives?

MIT Linguistics & Philosophy, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139-4307
degraff@MIT.EDU        http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/www/degraff.home.html