Fontaine applaudes efforts to keep Creole alive

Fontaine noted there is language diversity in Dominica
Fontaine noted there is language diversity in Dominica

Chief Education Officer, Melina Fontaine, is encouraged by efforts to keep the Creole language alive in Dominica.

Fontaine made reference to successes at preserving the language when she addressed the opening ceremony of the Creole Spelling Bee Competition on Wednesday.

“It used to be that you would only hear Creole being spoken in the rural areas. Today because of all our efforts to keep the Creole language alive, we can hear the Creole Language being spoken everywhere including within the schools, particularly on Creole Day during the Independence celebrations,” she stated.

She continued, “Today we can boast of much language diversity in Dominica. We have moved away from just the Standard English being accepted and the belief that Creole is sub-standard. Today we have a better understanding of it as being part of our identity of who we are as a people. It is also one of the areas we should not suppress and should be proud of it. It is a good thing to know several languages and we have begun to accept that Creole is a language that should not only be spoken but written.”

The Chief Education officer hails the production of a Creole Dictionary as a success story in the preservation of the traditional Creole language.

“We now have a Creole Dictionary and other literature written in Creole. A special mention must be given to Felix Henderson, who really keeps it alive everyday through DBS’s Espayweans Creole,” Fontaine said.

The Kweyol Spelling Bee Competition organized by the Cultural Division held on Wednesday at the Arawak House of Culture saw the participation of eleven primary schools.

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11 Comments

  1. Educator
    May 16, 2014

    Oh how times have changed. I remember being beaten in primary school for speaking patois after school hours. The school principal used to have spies who would report back to him on who spoke patois after school. The next day he would call out names during assembly and is blows like old clothes. He did not even give us a chance to explain or defend ourselves.

    The rational was that, speaking a second language would curtail our ability to speak proper English. Now we all know that is total nonsense.

    I have travelled through Europe and I met people who spoke 5 or 6 languages fluently.

    Thank God for the progress we have made.

  2. Rastafari
    May 16, 2014

    Great move, keep the language alive!

  3. Anonymous
    May 16, 2014

    put it in the schooling system!!

  4. aha
    May 15, 2014

    so which skools won

  5. nas
    May 15, 2014

    Before when kids would speak creole, adults would think its a bad thing..I feel very proud to be able to speak creole..its good to be bilingual.. I appreciate the creole more when I started living in the US..when people ask me where I’m from, I would tell them that I’m from Dominica and they will say ‘oh u speak Spanish!’ They think that its the Dominican Republic. Then I will tell them that I speak creole..
    All I’m saying is that we have a unique culture and we should embrace our culture more..

  6. DC
    May 15, 2014

    We must never allow our culture to die. Some are ashamed to speak patois because it is often referred to as the illiterate or poor man’s language. Our culture is part of our identity, it makes us unique, therefore, we must never be ashamed of who we are, where we came from. The more knowledge we possess, the more empowered we are. My people, be proud of who you are! Keep the patois alive!

    Mr. Felix Henderson, I salute you! Your work is not in vain.

    • Creolier
      May 16, 2014

      Dear DC just for your information,the use of the term “patois” as reference to the creole language is no longer appropriate.Dominicans continued use of that obsolete term is one of the reasons why the Haitians who live here erroneously think that they speak creole and what we speak is patois.

  7. djnos
    May 15, 2014

    at what time is the Espayweans Creole program?

  8. dominican
    May 15, 2014

    keep it up, it is our heritage. i am proud to be aprt of it.

  9. Bonjour
    May 15, 2014

    When we visited Roseau for school or shopping from the rural areas, the city people would label us as “country bookie”. Now, everybody want to adopt the country lifestyle.

  10. Mc Carthy MARIE
    May 15, 2014

    Very good effort, but I could not help noticing that the inserts of the officials presentations as reported on Marpin were all in English!!!!

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