Beneath Haiti’s problems lies a deep conflict with its own language. An MIT professor has a bold plan to fix that. Read more...
Creole is the mother tongue in Haiti, but children do most of their schooling in French. Two hundred years after Haiti became the world's first black-led republic, is the use of French holding the nation back?
"The percentage of people who speak French fluently is about 5%, and 100% speak Creole," says Chris Low. Read more..
We arrived in Port au Prince after a few hour delay in Miami. At Laura and Jack’s Ft. Lauderdale home we had spent two lazy days, adjusting to the time zone, heat and relishing our last days with flushing toilets, swimming pools and air-conditioned movie theaters. Read More
When Christine Low ’83 first visited the island of Lagonav, about 30 miles offshore from Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, there were only a few functioning private trucks on the island, several motorcycles, two public telephones, and no plumbing or paved roads. The island was (and remains) largely deforested, with severe water shortages hindering regrowth and agricultural production. Read More... -
Michel DeGraff: Yes, Kreyòl is a REAL language!
Woy Magazine: Are there any examples where Kreyòl has been given its due, examples that demonstrate how Haiti could thrive if we end this charade?
In my own research in Haiti starting with my collaboration with Yves Dejean in the 1990s, I have had the rare opportunity to work with children who are encouraged to embrace their native Kreyòl. The latter is the language in which these fortunate children are taught from Kindergarten onward, with French being taught as a second language—first SPOKEN French, and then and only then, written French, according to best educational practice.
Such children, like those at the Lekòl Kominotè Matènwa (LKM) in La Gônave whom I’ve been working with since 2010, grow into joyful, dignified, confident and successful learners. Read more here.
As a schoolchild in Haiti in the 1970s, I was forbidden to speak my mother tongue, Haitian Creole, which we Haitians call Kreyòl. If I disobeyed, a teacher would remind me with the sharp smack of a ruler across my hand. Kreyòl, which emerged from the contact among French and African languages on colonial plantations, is the only language spoken by all Haitians. But the nation’s education system discriminates against it in favor of French, which is spoken by at most a 10th of the population. Kreyòl-speaking children are subjected to myriad classroom humiliations, including in at least one school a sign that says: “I have to always express myself in French. Otherwise, I am the gorilla of the class.”
Discrimination against Kreyòl starts in schools, but it does not stop there. Read more...