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#1050: Poincy on/vs literacy: DeGraff comments (fwd)
From: Michel DeGraff <degraff@MIT.EDU>
> How many of the potential Ayitian voters in Miami-Dade County that would
> pick up a newspaper in a would be Ayitian version of Miami Herald? First,
> they would have to know how to read and second, if they knew how to read,
> they would rather it be in French.
> This mentality alone is what inhibits them from learning how to read
Poincy seems to have first-hand experience vis-a-vis literacy projects with
monolingual Haitian Creole speakers. Of course, I'd greatly appreciate any
details he'd be so kind to provide us.
In the meantime, let me share the little bit that I know from my training
as linguist and my own first-hand experience (which is admittedly limited).
I have taught linguistic classes to literacy teachers for monolingual
Creole speakers (at the Creole Language Bureau). These teachers work with
monolingual Creolophones to devise better literacy training techniques and
material. I yet have to hear of, or encounter, a monolingual Creolophone
who would prefer to read in French --- a language that they do not know.
This is not a complicated argument about the cons and pros of multi-
vs. mono-lingualism, but this a pedagogical truism: the basics of reading
and writing are most efficiently learnt in one's mother tongue. This
truism is clearly understood by unschooled Haitians, but seems to hard to
grasp by some well-educated multilingual `pun-dits'. (On this and related
topics, I'd recommend Yves Dejean's book "Alphabetisation: Mythes &
While on the topic, does anyone have readership statistics for, say, _Bon
Nouve`l_? (This is _Bon Nouve`l_ --- the all-Creole newspaper --- not _Le
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