HAITI AND ITS LANGUAGES IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION
Florida International University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The Republic of Haiti occupies the western third portion of the island of Hispaniola situated in the Caribbean sea. The island of Hispaniola also hosts the Dominican Republic on the eastern two thirds of the territory. It is in 1697 that the treaty of Ryswick ends the Spanish control over the entire island and divides the territory into a French-Saint-Domingue and a Spanish-Santo-Domingo colony. The French colony of Saint-Domingue gained Independence in 1804 after a successful slave revolt and the founding fathers re-named the new country Haiti.
Haiti has a population of 8 million, according to non-official sources. From that number, it is estimated that 2 million are living abroad in what it is called the Haitian diaspora. North American cities such as: New York, Miami, Boston, Montreal host very large Haitian communities.
The national language of Haiti is Creole also called Haitian Creole. This idiom is spoken by the 'entire nation.' The large majority of Haitians are monolingual (Creolophone). French is Haiti's second language. A small percentage of Haitians speaks French and can be considered, at various degrees, to be bilingual. French is used in 'many of Haiti's formal affairs'.
Use of Creole as a formal language is not prohibited, however remains stigmatized. Knowledge of French is associated with prestige and power while Creole is only used for purpose of communication. This presentation focuses on the 'uneasy coexistence' of the two languages and the challenges of promoting literacy in a country that speaks Creole and writes French.