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#1115: Bilingualism: DeGraff (dis)agrees with Pierre-Louis (of course!) (fwd)
From: Michel DeGraff <degraff@MIT.EDU>
> Yes, you are right on target, the strongest advocates of a standard Creole
> are those who are fluent in two or three languages.
I am not sure how I would go about evaluating this statement. My own take
is that "the strongest advocates of ... Creole" are the Six Million
Haitians who are monolingual in Haitian Creole. These are the people who
have kept Haitian Creole alive against all odds and who make it one of the
most vibrant language on earth. Note that the MAJORITY of world languages
are relatively minor compared to the number of Haitian Creole speakers.
> Let us promote our Creole on the same scale with all other languages.
This, I wholeheartedly agree with. The next step is to ask ourselves:
When was the last time you heard the French discuss the adequacy of
French in Japan's educational, intellectual, socio-economic and political
When was the last time you heard the Japanese discuss the adequacy of
Japanese in Japan's educational, intellectual, socio-economic and political
When was the last time you heard about the Finns discuss the adequacy of
Finnish in Finland's educational, intellectual, socio-economic and
Perhaps the most stunning (and most inspiring) lesson is from the Israelis,
who went to great lengths to revive Hebrew, their quasi-moribund national
language. Now Hebrew is a vibrant symbol of Jewish identity.
In the face of the Hebrew example, Haiti is depressingly embarrassing: we
seem to go to great lengths toward devaluating (and, some would hope,
killing) our own national language. But, of course, in the Haiti case,
language is being used as an expression and instrument of class interest to
the detriment of national interest.
So indeed, "let us promote our Creole on the same scale with all other
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