(No. 5)



Some journal articles which have recently appeared include the following.

“Curriculum for Jamaican creole-speaking students in New York City” by Yvonne Pratt-Johnson in World Englishes 12/2, 1993 (pp. 257-64) discusses the situation in New York City with regard to the education of Caribbean immigrants, similar to that in the UK and Canada (see the reports in this issues and in PACE Newsletter 4). Here is the abstract of the article:

Jamaican students constitute a significant segment of the New York City public school population. Many Jamaican students have a solid grasp of Standard American English (SAE) at the time they enrol in the New York City public school system, but others speak only Jamaican Creole (JAC), a variety of English spoken in everyday conversation. Many New York teachers claim that JAC is incomprehensible. Moreover, classroom teachers who are newly exposed to the spoken and written forms of JAC are not familiar with Jamaican culture or trained to handle the linguistic and cultural differences. Consequently, they may refer these students to English as a second language and/or special education classes. This paper outlines some of the problems encountered by JAC students in New York City public schools and by the teachers who instruct them; it argues the need for a specialized curriculum and instruction for these students, and it offers recommendations and suggestions for a model program which will accommodate those needs.

In their article, “The ‘real’ Haitian orthography, ideology, metalinguistics, and orthographic choice (American Ethnologist 21/1, 1994, pp.176-200), Bambi B. Schieffelin and Rachelle Charlier Doucet present a detailed picture of the debates concerning the orthography to be used for Haitian Creole (kreyòl).They also give an excellent summary of typical negative attitudes towards creole languages in general (pp.181-2). Here is the abstract:

This article analyses competing representations of kreyòl and the symbolic importance of decisions taken in standardizing a kreyòl orthography. Kreyòl, which educated Haitians claim to share with the masses, is an enduring symbol of Haitian identity, yet the image of this language is deeply contested in several arenas. Linking language ideology, in particular metalinguistic terms that refer to varieties of spoken kreyòl, to orthographic choice, we view the debates as part of a nationalist discourse about Haitianness – what is authentic and legitimate – and examine the role of language in national identity formation.

An article in French by Vinesh Y. Hookoomsing, “Langues et législations en pays créolophones” appeared in a special issue of Universités on the topic of languages and legislation in French-speaking countries: La langue, la loi et la Francophonie (15/2, 1994, pp.42-4). The article gives a comprehensive overview of the use of varieties of French-based creole in the Seychelles, Haiti, St Lucia, Dominica and Mauritius. Only in the Seychelles and Haiti does the creole have status as an official language and as a language of education.

Two important publications have come out in Australia this year, both to be reviewed in a Special Report on Australia in the next issue of this newsletter. The first is Bridging two worlds: Aboriginal English and cross-cultural understanding by Jean Harkins (University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1994).

The second is Fostering English language in Kimberley schools (FELIKS): Professional development course for primary schools (Catholic Education Office, Kimberley Region, Broom, 1994), developed by the Language Team including Joyce Hudson and Rosalind Berry. This is actually a whole kit including a manual for presenters, overhead transparencies, handouts, and audio and video tapes. (If you can’t wait for the next issue to find out more about this course, contact the Catholic Education Office, PO Box 1451, Broom, WA 6725; Tel (091) 922 275 Fax (091) 022 559.)

[More publications are described in the report below on the UK.]


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