and creoles in education
recent Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching, edited by
Sandra Lee McKay and Nancy H. Hornberger (Cambridge University Press,
1996), contains an excellent chapter on “Pidgins and creoles”
by Patricia C. Nichols (pp.195-217). The chapter is a comprehen-sive
but very accessible introduction to P/Cs and some of the educational
issues concerning them, and makes important reading for any educator.
As the author points out (p.196), “The consequences of teachers’
and school administrators’ ignorance of pidgin and creole
language varieties can be enormous for children who enter school
speaking them.” An interesting theme of the chapter is that
students are quite adept at distinguishing differences between teachers’
and students’ ways of speaking, and that teachers should be
chapter defines pidgin and creole languages in general and describes
common negative (and uninformed) attitudes towards them, especially
in school settings. Then it goes into more detail about the origins
of these languages. A brief history of the study of pidgins and
creoles is given and some theoretical and methodological issues
mentions some of the creoles likely to be encountered in contemporary
English-speaking classrooms. Using Gullah as an example, she illustrates
some structural, functional and pragmatic differences to more “standard”
varieties of English in order to give teachers an idea of what to
look for in their students’ language.
author advocates the use of pidgins and creoles as resources in
the classroom and stresses the importance of teachers at least knowing
something about the languages and cultures of their students. (She
even includes a plug for the PACE Newsletter!)
chapter concludes with a call for research into discourse-level
differences between home and school languages. A list of suggestions
for further reading follows the text.
slightly older, but also very useful book chapter is “Teaching
speakers of Caribbean English Creoles in North American class-rooms”
by Lise Winer in Language Variation in North American English:
Research and Teaching edited by A. Wayne Glowka & Donald
M. Lance (Modern Language Association of America, New York, 1993),
pp.191-98). Here is the introduction (p.191):
article is a guide for teachers and teacher trainers about Caribbean
English, Caribbean English Creole, and the special needs of students
whose first language is a variety of Caribbean English Creole.
It briefly discusses some of the basic knowledge of Caribbean
culture and language that teachers should have, and provides information
from which both teachers and students can learn about language
use in situations in which a creole language is in contact with
its lexically related standard language: in this case, where English
Creole speakers are in North America.
points out how Caribbean students are sometimes perceived as having
“language problems” and are placed in ESL or speech
therapy classes. She then gives a clear summary of the characteristics
of varieties of Caribbean English Creole, describing their enormous
variation, their low prestige and their relationship with standard
varieties of English. She notes (p.195):
approach to the teaching of students whose first language is English
Creole, recognized or not, must include knowledge about and acceptance
of the language and its culture, contrasted specifically with
English language and culture varieties. Without an awareness,
on the part of teachers, administrators, and others, of the validity
of creoles and an understanding of their relationship with English,
the students; progress will be continually short-circuited.
author gives many suggestions and resources for the study of the
social, cultural and political background and for the study of the
language. She doesn’t suggest that teachers become fluent
in English Creole – rather, that teachers work with their
students to figure out cultural and linguistic differences and whether
these might be the basis of difficulties students are facing. She
recommends two guiding principles (p.198): “(1) respect
the student, the student’s culture, and the student’s
language; and (2) suspect language to be involved in apparent
recent book has two chapters relevant to PACE: Caribbean Language
Issues Old and New edited by Pauline Christie (The Press of
the University of the West Indies, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad &
Tobago, 1996). This is a collection of papers in honour of Professor
Mervyn Alleyne on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
“Language policy (1): Towards a rational approach for Caribbean
states” (pp.112-19), Ian Robertson takes the position that
“any language policy must be premised on its potential to
contribute to the wider goals of education” (p.114) –
that is, to prepare people to function effectively in their society.
He describes the sociolinguistic situation in Caribbean countries,
where the creole languages are generally used for informal functions
in everyday interaction and the standard languages used for official
functions in education, public communica-tion, the courts and the
church. Robertson points out that contrary to popular belief, there
is actually quite a bit of overlap in use of the creole and standard
languages in the various functions. Nevertheless, because of persisting
negative attitudes, creoles have basically been considered irrelevant
to formal education.
there have been some changes in these attitudes, they have been
slow, and vary from country to country in the region. Some important
factors relevant to language policy in the different countries are
the official language of their neighbours (eg French or Spanish)
and the presence of large populations of people of South Asian origin
(ie in Trinidad and Guyana).
regard to specific languages used in the education system, Robertson
mentions arguments for the use of English because it is an international
language and against its use because very few will actually be involved
in international communication. Rather, it is argued, using the
first language would lead to better educational results and a more
positive linguistic self-concept.
author also distinguishes between language teaching and language
education. Students need to be competent in the language used as
the medium of instruction and in an international language, but
they also need to know about language as a human social phenomenon
and about all the particular languages which are relevant to their
“Language policy (2): The case for creole in formal education
in St Lucia” (pp.120-42), Hazel Simmons-McDonald considers
the question of “whether or not creole ought to be used as
a language of instruction within the formal education system”
(p.121). She starts off by presenting some of the arguments on both
sides, and then describes learners in St Lucia as falling into one
of three groups on the basis of their first languages: French Creole
(Group A), English Creole (Group B) and St Lucia standard English,
the official language (Group C). After reporting some literature
about the effects of using the first language in education, the
author describes her own research in St Lucia showing that after
2.5 years of formal education, Group A speakers lagged behind their
counterparts in the other groups. However, Group B speakers still
did not acquire the proficiency in standard English needed for formal
the work of Carrington, Craig and others on models and factors involved
in language planning in creole situations, Simmons-McDonald proposes
(1) that French Creole be used as a language of instruction for
Group A speakers while at the same time English is taught as a second
language. (2) that methods of teaching English as a second dialect
be implemented for Group B speakers, while French Creole is taught
as a second language, and (3) that standard English be used as the
language of instruction for Group C students, while they are also
given exposure to both French and English Creole. The goal is therefore
bilingualism and bidialectalism. In order to determine the economic
costs of such a policy, she recommends a carefully researched pilot
program and a detailed survey of the number of speakers in each
group who will be attending school and their geographic distribution.
Reclamation: French Creole Language Teaching in the UK and the Caribbean
by Hubisi Nwenmely (Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, 1996) is a very
informative book on Kwéyòl, the French Creole of St
Lucia and Dominica. Large numbers of Kwéyòl speakers
migrated to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, but within a generation
language shift to English was nearly complete within the community.
According to the author (p.1):
many second- and third- generation children now express unhappiness
at their limited proficiency in Kwéyòl and some
have taken positive steps to reclaim their linguistic heritage.
For them Kwéyòl is a symbol of distinctive cultural
identity which sets them apart not only from white Britons, but
also from other Black British groups, such as Barbadians and Jamaicans.
This book attempts to document the efforts of students and tutors
in Kwéyòl classes in various parts of London to
assert their cultural identity.
the introduction, Ch.2 of the book presents a discussion of various
general language-related issues such as attitudes, identity, maintenance
and shift, and policy and planning. Then Ch.3 gives some historical
and sociolinguistic background about Kwéyòl in the
Caribbean, including information about its use in education. In
Ch.4 the focus shifts to Britain, describing the patterns of settlement
of Kwéyòl speakers, changing patterns of language
use and the current Kwéyòl community in London.
discusses methodology and argues for the use of a “critical
ethnography” which draws on a variety of sources and employs
various methods of data collection. Then the next three chapters
concern the classes that were set up to teach Kwéyòl.
Classes are of two types: the language course, which aims to teach
people how to speak Kwéyòl, and the literacy course,
intended for people who know how to speak Kwéyòl but
not how to read and write it. These chapters give background on
their formation, discuss associated resources such as standardization
and materials production (in the Caribbean as well as the UK) and
describe efforts in assessment and accreditation. The final chapter
draws together the various themes of the book and discusses wider
article that should stir up some controversy is “Attitudes
to literacy in the pidgins and creoles of the Pacific Area”
by Peter Mühlhäusler, published in English World-Wide
16/2, 1995 (pp.251-71). The main theme is that “the idea that
pidgins and creoles of the region could and should be reduced to
writing originated with expatriate outsiders; it neither reflects
the socio-economic realities of the main user groups nor necessarily
their aspirations” (p.252). The author gives a history of
official and unofficial attempts by colonial governments and missions
in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to provide literacy for varieties of Tok
Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin). According to the author, these were for
one or more of the following purposes: to communicate with the extremely
multilingual population, to “civilise” the indigenous
population, to keep them at the bottom of the social ladder, or
to promote political and economic development leading to independence.
With regard to the attitudes of the indigenous population towards
these efforts, he points out that little is known.
says that “English is catching up with Tok Pisin as the main
language of wider communication and that English, but not Tok Pisin,
is becoming the dominant mode of expressing oneself in writing”
(p.259). He mentions recent government emphasis on vernacular literacy,
but says that its effects on Tok Pisin literacy remain to be seen.
[However, see the PACE Newsletter 3, p.3, where it is reported
that Tok Pisin was the third most widely used language in vernacular
historical background is also given for Melanesian Pidgin in the
Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and for Northern Australian Kriol and
Torres Strait Creole. The role of expatriate linguists and missionaries
is again emphasized for each [despite recent local developments,
as reported in the PACE Newsletter 5 and 6]. Finally, a
comparison is made with Caribbean creoles.
concludes that creole literacy can only be transitional, since it
is English literacy that gives people access to jobs.
recent articles in The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education
are relevant to PACE. The first, by Anna Shnukal, is “Language
in learning at Thursday Island High School” (Vol.24 no.2,
1996, pp.42-52). It is a report of a study done for the high school
on the major linguistic differences between Standard Australian
English (SAE) and Torres Strait Creole (TSC), the language of the
majority of the students. Shnukal points out that Islander culture
is predominantly an oral one, using the three Islander languages;
written communication, when it is used, is predominantly in English.
TSC has become the young people’s lingua franca, and is an
important marker of Islander, as opposed to European, identity.
However, with the exception of some minor opposition, most people
support the continued use of SAE as the language of education.
describes contemporary TSC and language mixing with English and
then outlines some formal and rhetorical differences between TSC
and SAE. She also presents some important observations of Torres
Strait Islander society that are relevant to classroom management.
Like some of the other publications mentioned above, Shnukal advises
teachers to encourage students to discuss differences between TSC
and SAE structures and meanings.
Turner’s article is “The Injinoo Home language Program:
A positive community response to marginalisation and institutional
racism” (Vol.25 no.1, 1997, pp.1-9). It describes the marginalisation
of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and how both
groups have been disempowered and “constructed” as non-achievers.
In reaction, the Injinoo community in North Queensland started their
own Home Language Program, using Torres Strait Creole. [This program
was described in PACE Newsletter 6, p.15.] The author points out
is important to look at the Injinoo Home Language Program in the
context of power, identity and resistance; power in terms of the
community taking control of education, and countering hegemonic
control; identity and resistance being stated through the use
of a language other than that of the majority [of the country].
dialects in education
and Communication Enhancement for Two-way Education by Ian
G. Malcolm (Edith Cowan University, 1995) is a report on a project
conducted for the Australian government’s Department of Employment,
Education and Training. The project was undertaken in response to
demands from teachers and from indigenous students who speak Aboriginal
English as their first language.
English (AE) is defined as a nonstandard (ie not codified) dialect
of English spoken by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander
people in Australia. It consists of a range of varieties, differing
in systematic ways from Standard Australian English and used for
distinctive speech acts, speech events and genres. It also serves
as a marker of indigenous identity (p.19). The report gives the
historical origins of AE, distinguishing it from pidgins and creoles,
but showing some possible connections. The linguistic features of
AE are outlined and the discourse and sociolinguistic features as
well. Then its various functions are described.
project promotes a particular type of bidialectal education as an
appropriate basis for the education of speakers of AE. It involves
“two way” or “both ways” education. This
is described by the author as follows (p.39):
emphasis in two-way schooling…is not simply advocation of
bilingual schooling, but a desire for biculturalism. It is about
a sharing of knowledge, and of the power linked in with that knowledge,
both in terms of what is taught and how it is taught, as well
as ensuring that Indigenous communities and parents have more
control over what is happening in their children’s schools.
aims of the project were (pp.13-14):
To help teachers better to understand Aboriginal English and to
see, through it, distinctively Indigenous ways of approaching
experience and knowledge.
(2) To help teachers, through the principle of two-way education,
to develop the capacity to provide learning experiences which
exploit Indigenous ways of organising and expressing knowledge
while also promoting the appropriate use of standard English as
a second dialect by Indigenous learners.
project involved two phases: (1) research including a literature
survey, data gathering from interviews at 9 schools and analysis
of the data; and (2) mentoring teachers, focussing on two intensive
in-service courses for teachers from these schools. The outcomes
were the development of two course modules, one on Aboriginal English
and one on Bidialectal and Two-way Education. These will be offered
in association with several different degrees at Edith Cowan University.
recent publications discuss African American Vernacular English
(AAVE) in education.
first is by William Labov: “Can reading failure be reversed:
A linguistic approach to the question” in Literacy among
African-American Youth edited by Vivian L. Gadsden & Daniel
A. Wagner (Hampton Press, Cresskill, NJ, 1995), pp.39-68. Labov
describes the general failure in teaching reading to African American
children in inner-city schools and then reviews the history of research
on AAVE that might be relevant to the problem. He starts off by
looking at research up to the end of the 1970s and notes that despite
earlier controversy, it was then generally agreed that AAVE had
creole origins but has been gradually converging with (ie becoming
more similar to) other dialects. Labov lists several differences
between AAVE and standard classroom English (SCE) that might interfere
with success in reading, and also discusses the underlying cultural
conflict that may contribute to the problem.
the author describes in detail the Bridge program, as described
above in the article by John Rickford. Labov analyses the strengths
and weaknesses of the Bridge program, both linguistic and sociolinguistic,
and concludes that its approach “appears to be the most powerful
way of attacking simultaneously the cultural and linguistic conflicts
between AAVE and SCE” (p.56). The problem is that this approach
is not suitable for ethnically mixed schools. He then makes some
useful suggestions for language arts in the integrated classroom.
Labov reviews research since the 1980s which seems to question the
creole origins of AAVE and to show that rather than converging with
other dialects, AAVE is diverging from them. The educational consequences
are that the conditions which have led to the problem of reading
failure are getting worse, the need for programs such as Bridge
is even clearer and the necessity of developing language arts in
the integrated classroom is much greater.
article is available on William Labov’s Web site:
partnership: Sociolinguistics and the African American speech community”
by John Russel Rickford appeared in Language and Society
26/2 (1997), pp.161-97). This article has the following starting
quantitative sociolinguistics has, over the past quarter century,
drawn substantially on data from African American Vernacular English
(AAVE) and the African American speech community for its descriptive,
theoretical, and methodological development, but it has given
relatively little back to that community in terms of representation
or practical application.
describing the particular contributions the African American community
has made to linguistics and sociolinguistics, the author discusses
what has been returned. Rickford says the community has been underserved
by sociolinguists in several ways. First, very few African Americans
have been brought into the field of linguistics. Second, the representation
of the community in writings about it has been very negative because
of the kinds of example chosen. Third, socio-linguists have done
little to counteract the racial discrimination and injustice suffered
by the community in the legal system and employment.
focus, however, is on contributions (or the lack thereof) sociolinguists
have made to the teaching of reading and the language arts in elementary
(ie primary) schools. Rickford presents some grim statistics about
the performance of African Americans in the school system. Then
he describes some of the efforts sociolinguists have made to deal
with the educational roots of these problems. These include documenting
the systematicity of AAVE, rebutting misconceptions about the cognitive
limitations of its use and noting the unfair disadvantages IQ tests
pose for its speakers.
Rickford notes that sociolinguists could have done more in some
areas, such as studying the use of “dialect readers”,
as in the Bridge program (which he describes in detail),
as a way of teaching reading to AAVE speakers. He proposes that
sociolinguists give back more to the community and train our students
to do the same – with all kinds of activities and not only
those that draw on linguistic expertise. The concept of “service
learning” is also mentioned – where community service
is integrated into academic work. And there is some discussion of
how theoretical and descriptive research can be used to help communities.
it is noted that researchers should be committed to ethics, advocacy
and empowerment not only because “we owe it to the people
whose data fuel our theories and descriptions” but also because
“there are good things for us to do… [to] help us respond
to the interests of our students and the needs of our field”
important new educational resource is the Melanesian Trust Awareness
Packets Manual, published by the Melanesian Trust (with member
organizations in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu).
Written in the three dialects of Melanesian Pidgin, as well as in
English and Motu, the book has questions for group discussion and
other ideas for community awareness work. The topics covered are:
Land registration Custom
Government Debt crisis
Law and order Logging
Mining Dynamite fishing
Racism West Papua
Women and men Alcohol and drugs
from: PNG Trust, PO Box 297, University, NCD, PAPUA NEW GUINEA.
Creole English has never been endorsed for general use
in the islands’ schools, but it has been accepted to some extent
in the Kamehameha Early Education Program (KEEP) for ethnic Hawaiian
children. Using a “language experience approach”, teachers in this
program based their reading instruction on children’s utterances,
whether in Hawai’i Creole or in Standard (American) English. While
Standard English remained the medium of instruction, discourse strategies
and participation structures used by Hawai’i Creole speakers were
adopted by the program for use in the classroom.
1987 Hawai’i Board of Education Standard English-only policy just
mentioned above met with widespread public opposition people also
realized that it was virtually impossible to implement and enforce.
useful articles about the Hawai’i situation are:
Kathryn H. 1980. Participation structures in a reading lesson
with Hawaiian children: analysis of a culturally appropriate instructional
event. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 11, 91-115.
Kathryn H, and J.M. Mason. 1983. Cultural congruence in classroom
participation structures: achieving a balance of rights. Discourse
Processes 6, 145-67.
Sato, Charlene. 1985. Linguistic inequality in Hawaii: the post-creole
dilemma. In Language of inequality, ed. by N. Wolfson
and J. Manes (Berlin: Mouton), 255-72.
------. 1989a. Language attitudes and socio-linguistic variation
in Hawaii. University of Hawai’i Working Papers in ESL 8/1,
------. 1989b. A non-standard approach to Standard English. TESOL
Quarterly 23, 259-82.
Speidel, Gisela E. 1981. Language and reading: bridging the language
difference for children who speak Hawaiian English. Educational
Perspectives 20, 23-30.
------. 1987. Conversation and language learning in the classroom.
In Children’s language (Volume 6), ed. by K.E. Nelson
and A. van Kleek (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum), 99-135.
(the creole of the Northern Territory) has been used in
education at Barunga (formerly called Bamyili) since 1975, when
an experimental program was started in the community preschool.
A formal bilingual program, under the Northern Terri-tory Department
of Education, began at the primary school in 1977. The model of
“partial bilingualism” has been adopted, with Kriol being used for
reading and writing until English is introduced at the grade four
or five level. Kriol is then restricted to subject matter relating
to cultural heritage. A recent report on the bilingual program has
been published by the Department of Education: Barunga School:
accreditation process for Northern Territory bilingual schools,
is also reportedly used as the language of instruction at the community
school in Ngukurr. Although it is not used for reading and writing
at present, there has been some discussion of starting a formal
has also been a subject of study at another school, Yiyili, in the
Kimberley region of Western Australia. But there it was an “awareness”
rather than initial literacy program, although some creative writing
in Kriol was used in translation exercises to English. According
to a paper by Joyce Hudson (“Kriol or English: an unanswered question
in the Kimberleys”, presented at the 54th ANZAAS Congress in Canberra
in 1984), the program was “based on the premise that if children
could be taught how to separate Kriol from English, along with the
social rules for appropriate use of each language, they would learn
English better and quicker”.
present, an in-service “awareness” course is being developed by
the Catholic Education Office for teachers in the Kimberley region.
This course, which is being trialled this year, is aimed at helping
teachers of Kriol-speaking children to understand more of the children’s
language. The ultimate goal, however, is to make teaching of Standard
English more effective.
PO Box 1264
Broome 6725 AUSTRALIA
regard to Torres Strait Creole (also known as Broken,
Pizin and Blaikman), Anna Shnukal of the University of Queensland
reports that she has observed a great amount of teaching carried
out in the language, but that it wasn’t acknowledged officially.
In fact, there is great resistance to the use of Torres Strait Creole
(TSC) in education, both from educators and Islanders themselves,
even from those who are native speakers. She adds:
I doubt very much that Islanders would accept even the teaching
of initial literacy skills in the creole, although this may change
in the future, especially with the proposed publication of the
New Testament in TSC. Although TSC has taken over domains formerly
reserved for English, it isn’t yet accepted as written language.
All the written material I’ve seen has been written in English
on Torres Strait Creole will be published in the next issue.
Although Tok Pisin has not been officially used
in government schools, it has been used as a medium of instruction
for years in many church-run schools, which provide a large proportion
of primary education in the country. In the Catholic church, the
Divine Word Mission declared Tok Pisin its official language as
early as 1931. Although the Lutheran church preferred using indigenous
church lingua francas for education, they did have at least one
“Pidgin school” as early as 1950. But in 1962, the Education Department
decreed that only English should be used in schools receiving subsidies
from the Australian Administration, and so the use of Tok Pisin
the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG established a “Bible School”
program to be distinct from the Administration’s official education
program so that vernacular languages including Tok Pisin could still
be taught. In 1973 there were 340 teachers and 9500 student at Lutheran
primary schools where Tok Pisin was the main (or sometimes the only)
medium of instruction. (This information comes from articles by
Francis Mihalic and G.L. Renck in New Guinea Area Languages
and Language Study, Vol. 3, Language, Culture, Society
and the Modern World, edited by Stephen S. Wurm [Canberra:
Pacific Linguistics C-40, 1977, pages 643-69]).
newly independent Papua New Guinea government simply carried on
with the educational policy established by the Australian Administration.
But there have been revolutionary changes in educational policy
since the 1986 appearance of the Ministerial Committee Report, A
Philosophy of Education for Papua New Guinea. The most recent
development is that the Secretary of Education has recently (6th
June 1989) endorsed a plan including a list of responsibilities
and strategies for raising the level of literacy in the country.
The preamble to this plan is as follows:
In order to improve the quality of education, to strengthen traditional
cultures and values, to facilitate participation by citizens in
national life, to promote national unity and to raise the level
of literacy in Tok Ples, Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu and English, we
recommend the development of educational programmes to ensure
that children, out of school youth and adults become literate
in Tok Ples, transfer their skills to Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu or
English and maintain their literacy skills in these languages.
plan encourages communities to set up preparatory classes to teach
initial literacy in Tok Ples before children enter Grade 1. It is
up to each community to decide what Tok Ples is to be used. “Tok
Ples” usually refers to indigenous vernacular languages, but in
the plan it is defined to also include lingua francas, such as Tok
widest range of programs is still run by the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of PNG. The following numbers for schools and other training
institutions where Tok Pisin is the medium of instruction (as of
September 1989) have been provided by Duaro Embi, the Lutheran Church
Assistant Secretary for Tok Ples Education:
78 primary schools
(grades 1-6) 164 teachers 648 students
(grades 7-10) 54 teachers 462 students
institutions 20 teachers 79 students
TOTAL: 1189 students
programs are non-transitional in that they are not meant to prepare
students to go on to mainstream English-medium schools.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
PO Box 80
Lae, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
large-scale program is run by Pacific Islands Ministries in the
East Sepik Province. This program is described as the feature program
later in the newsletter.
different type of non-transitional program is being run in the Eastern
Highlands Province, described by Joy McCarthy in a paper presented
at the National Seminar on Community-based Education, held last
year in Port Moresby. Here adults learn initial literacy in their
first language, Inoke, and then go on to learn to read and write
in Tok Pisin. As of December 1988, there was a total enrolment of
3041 in the program in 52 villages, and 1483 “new literates” had
are several other educational programs in Tok Pisin, such as the
national Kisim Save adult literacy program, but I haven’t
been able to get any details about them. (If anyone knows anything,
please send some information so I can include it in the next newsletter!)
In contrast with Tok Pisin, Solomons Pijin (another
variety of Melanesian Pidgin) has been used hardly at all in education.
pioneering program in Solomons Islands is being run by the Nazareth
Apostolic Centre near the capital of Honiara. It involves teaching
women initial literacy in Pijin. One teaching method being used
is making sets of letters of the alphabet with bamboo pieces (like
Scrabble tiles). Also, the Pijin news from the radio is being transcribed
and printed to use as reading material. Plans are also being made
for a full intensive year of preparing some literacy teachers in
Nazareth Apostolic Centre
PO Box 197
Honiara, SOLOMON IS.
Although Bislama is constitutionally the national
language of Vanuatu, it is not officially recognized as a language
of education. (English and French are given this role.) However,
according to the 1987 report of the Asian Development Bank/Australia
Development Assistance Bureau Joint Technical Assistance Team on
Vocational Training and the Labour Market in Vanuatu (Asian
Development Bank, T.A. No. 810-VAN Vocational Training Project),
Bislama is used as the language of instruction in the Police Training
School, the Trade Training and Testing Scheme, the Marine Training
School and 10 different rural training institutions. Here are some
quotations from the report about the use of Bislama:
The Study Team believes that most of the vocational training currently
provided in Vanuatu is at a level where Bislama could be used
far more extensively with no detriment to efficiency. (p. xiii)
The Study Team notes that the Marine Training School is able to
provide instruction in marine engineering to international standards
using Bislama as the primary language of instruction. (p. 184)
All teachers at INTV [the national technical training institution]
should be required to develop fluency in Bislama. Intensive Bislama
courses on arriving in Vanuatu should be provided for this purpose.
International Literacy Year Committee of Australia has funded two
programs on the island of Malakula in Vanuatu as part of the larger
Melanesian Literacy Project. Both programs involve teaching initial
literacy in Bislama, one to women and one to out-of-school youth.
The programs are being run by the World Vision organization, headed
in Port Vila by Kali Vatoko, with Enikelen Netine doing the teacher
training and coordination in the field. Enikelen attended the second
National Literacy Training Course in PNG earlier this year (see
below). A preschool program using Bislama is also going ahead in
c/o World Vision Office
Port Vila, VANUATU
in Vanuatu, Bislama is used in education in a way which must be
unique for any pidgin: it is the medium of instruction and the subject
of study for a second year university course in linguistics. The
course, Introdaksen long Stadi blong Bislama was written
by Terry Crowley and has been taught by him since 1985 at the Pacific
Languages Unit of the University of the South Pacific in Port Vila,
Vanuatu. The course is for Bislama speakers who have completed the
intro-ductory linguistics course taught at the university (in English).
Pacific Languages Unit PO Box 12
Port Vila, VANUATU