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#1154: Nekita on Creole


Corbett Friends,
It seems that every year some sort of Creole discussion surfaces. I remember 
last year numerous messages were sent about the name for Haitian  Creole . 
Some said Haitian, Haitien, Ayitian. That discussion triggered me to write a 
12 page paper which I  mentioned  in the past.
I have been following the debates among Chamberlain, Degraff et al. I am not 
a linguist. I  am an educator who had used Haitian Creole with my bilingual 
students for 12 years. They learned. It worked. That "bilingual"discussion 
seems to me  irrelevant and redundant.

Emmanuel Vedrine raised some interesting points in a post he sent in Creole.  
One of them is the hardship that those who write in Creole have to go 
through. There is no publisher that will publish a Creole manuscript without 
asking advanced payment. Most writers as many of you know don't have money. 
They have to spend the little they have to get their works self-published. 
They are accountants, publishers, distributors, writers-all at once.  There 
is not a weekly Haitian Creole or a Haitian paper that will place their ads 
if they manage to self publish a manuscript. Emmanuel can put his post in 
English if he wants to.

My point is as a person who has been  writing  in Creole for the last 20 
years, I can see and understand all those "intellectual" discussions. But the 
reality is it is not encouraging to write in Creole. The majority that speak 
Creole don 't have the money to buy books.  Writing in Creole does not have 
as much prestige as writing in French or English does. There is nowhere to 
publish your work. I have known Emmanuel for a long time and have witnessed 
what he went through and still going through to do extensive self-publishing 
in Creole. This is something that I don't think I have the energy for and I 
commend his strenuous effort.
Nowadays people are reading less. Economically speaking, the English speaker, 
especially the middle class American has more money to spend on literature. 
As much as one loves Creole, if one can write  French , Creole and English, 
if you want to be realistic, you will choose the latter.
I think we should continue this discussion on what kind of financial support 
system or publishing mechanism should be in place for Creole writers. 
Since, most of us who write in Creole can not afford airplane tickets and  
hotel costs to go to Creole conferences or gatherings where Haitian or 
Haitian Creole issues are addressed, I think those linguists should keep 
their discussions for their conferences or the journals that they themselves