Where is Haitian Creole Going?

Haitian Creole is the vernacular language of Haiti, spoken by all its inhabitants and serving as the only form of communication for over 90% of the population. Middle class Haitians are mainly bilingual, but they do not compose a large portion of the population.

The Creole faces a long road ahead for many reasons, including:

  1. Haiti’s sub-par infrastructure
    1. Most rural areas only have narrow dirt roads, making it difficult to traverse the small country.
    2. Public transportation between large population centers is almost non-existent, so Haitian Creole retains its regional dialects.
  2. French-dominated higher education
    1. There are few universities that instruct in Haitian Creole, partially because it may not be as profitable. In this way, the educated French and bilingual elite will remain the same across generations.
  3. Secondary education clashes with the home
    1. Instruction in Haitian Creole hardly extends beyond primary school, so it is common for students to struggle in secondary school when they are required to take classes in French. This also reinforces the negative divide in language prestige between French and Creole.
  4. Haitian Creole continuously takes from French
    1. Latin died after its offspring, the Romance languages, took hold. However, this is not the case for Creole since French is still a thriving language. Therefore, Creole is changing simultaneously alongside French, borrowing words for novel technological advances and expressions.
  5. The French orthography is more grounded and traditional
    1. Many Haitian businesses take French names and advertisement is often in French.

To read about a current event related to Haitian education, follow this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/opinion/a-creole-solution-for-haitis-woes.html?_r=0


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