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#1233: Is Haiti a multilingual country? DeGraff comments (fwd)
From: Michel DeGraff <degraff@MIT.EDU>
Re Henry F. Chip Carey's posting:
> 1) There are very few nation-states in the world. Multi-lingual countries li
> ke Switzerland, where the standardized, "high" dialect is taught in schools a
> s a means of assimilation, represent 80% or more of the world's countries. I
> n other countries with which I am familar, like India, Pakistan, Romania and
> the Philippines, attempts to use either local dialects or national languages
> have BOTH been unsuccessful; and,
Indeed there are few nation-states in the world, but the simple reality is
that Haiti is one of them (along the lines of Japan, Finland, Norway, etc,
Sweden, Iceland, etc.) There is no going around that basic fact.
Again, the major principle that underlies my arguments is stated very
clearly by UNESCO:
"Every human being has the right to be educated in his/her mother tongue"
In Haiti, the mother tongue of the vast majority of HUMAN BEINGS (which, by
the way, are NORMAL human beings) is Haitian Creole. The logical
consequence is clear vis-a-vis the role of Haitian Creole in the education
of our Nation, regardless of the bovarism of the dominant classes and of
the ideological fantasies of various observers --- e.g. let's `help'
Haitians by keeping them dependent on foreign `aid', which now includes
French and/or English as "invaluable tools" (an "invaluable tool" that is,
for now, unreachable for most).
So far, given what we seem to know about education and language learning, I
haven't heard any factually- and theoretically-robust argument agains the
above observations and conclusion.
NB: Haiti's being a nation-state, the India-Pakistan-etc models just do
> 2) ...
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