Language Reclamation: French-creole Language Teaching in the by Hubisi Nwenmely

By Hubisi Nwenmely

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Extra resources for Language Reclamation: French-creole Language Teaching in the U.K. and the Caribbean (Multilingual Matters, 106)

Sample text

The continued marginalisation of Kwéyòl in post colonial education continues in a defacto manner the tradition of contempt established in colonial times. Nevertheless, there are increasing signs of attitudinal shifts in a positive direction. Recognition of the cultural importance of Kwéyòl in Dominica began during the 1930s with the work of Cissy Caudelron who popularised konts (folk tales), and Kwéyòl songs amongst the English speaking elite in Roseau. Henderson (1989) also remarks that during the same period, there was a growing awareness of the language as a mark of a distinctive Dominican identity.

Alongside shifting attitudes towards Kwéyòl is a change in terminology. St Lucians and Dominicans have traditionally referred to their language as Patwa, a term with many negative connotations. ' Although the term Patwa remains in widespread popular usage, it is significant that the Standing Committee for Creole Studies decided to adopt the term Kwéyòl, thus bringing St Lucia and Dominica in line with the terminology adopted by Banzil Kwéyòl, the international Kwéyòl community. Nor has the growing popular support for Kwéyòl escaped the notice of the political parties.

This is clearly demonstrated in the high incidence of friendship and intermarriage between the two groups. Kwéyòl features prominently in social and cultural events. Music, cultural activities, and social settings such as markets, churches, pubs and clubs all help maintain the language. In addition, they ensure that a growing number of people from Dominican and St Lucian backgrounds have access to another cultural identity, besides that of being Black British. Education is another area which plays a very important role in language maintenance in the UK context.

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