Monday, August 16, 2010

Haiti Q & A: What language do they speak?

Q. What language do they speak in Haiti? Do you speak it?
A. There are two official languages of Haiti, French and Creole, and I speak neither. As I understand it French is the language of the educated and is used in government and business dealings, whereas Creole is spoken by virtually everyone in Haiti.

In Gramothe where I'll be teaching I assume few people speak French. The vast majority of the adults are illiterate and never attended school. I'm not even sure which language is used at the Gramothe school. They may be teaching and learning in Creole. At any rate, Creole will be the primary language spoken around me, so I've attempted to learn some basic Creole before I go to Haiti. I downloaded a program from that has enabled me to learn some phrases and words from native speakers. I also bought a book that is teaching me about the grammar and sentence structure of Creole. Both have been fantastic resources--and Byki has resources for more than 70 languages.

I'm also employing the use of labels around the house. I have about 40 post its around my house with Creole words marking different items.