A Symposium on Pidgin and Creole Linguistics
in the 21st Century was held as part of the conference
of the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, held in conjunction
with the meeting of the Linguistics Society of America in New York
City, 9-11 January 1998. One of the papers in the symposium was
“Applied Creolistics in the 21st Century” by Jeff Siegel.
Here is a summary of the paper:
Many speakers of pidgins, creoles and minority dialects
remain disadvantaged in education, employment and dealings with
the law. Yet despite periodic calls for creolists to do more to
help speakers of the languages they study, very little has been
happening. This paper is a call for a greater role for “applied
creolistics” in the 21st century.
paper starts off by outlining some of the modest efforts that have
taken place in various parts of the world in applied areas such
as legal contexts, translating and interpreting, and education.
regard to education, the paper describes three types of programs
which use individual pidgins, creoles or minority dialects: instrumental,
accommodation and awareness. Research on the effectiveness of such
programs is then presented.
paper goes on to suggest a plan of action and research agenda for
applied creolistics in the 21st century. Three steps are described:
documentation, establishment of pilot programs and systematic evaluation
of these programs. The importance of promotion, publicity and public
awareness is also discussed.
conclusion, the paper calls on creolists to get involved in the
community, to make contacts with other professionals, such as educationists,
associated with speakers of pidgins, creoles or minority dialects,
to give papers at conferences and publish in journals other than
those for linguists, and to campaign for language awareness (or
basic sociolinguistics) to be a component of training for teachers
and a part of the general language arts curriculum, starting in
is also suggested that two new websites be created, aimed at the
general public, including primary and high school students: one
on creoles in general and one on African American English. Finally,
it is recommended that there be a special session at SPCL conferences
devoted to applied issues and that an applied creolistics committee
be established to coordinate activities in the area.
invitational Conference on Language Diversity and Academic
Achievement in the Education of African American Students
was held in New York City on 11-12 January, 1998. Here is the press
release about it:
and Educators Advocate Wider Understanding of Language Diversity
group of nationally recognized leaders in education, linguistics,
communication, and speech pathology called upon public school officials
to take seriously the systematic differences among varieties of
spoken and written English common in this country.
differences play a critical role in instructional effectiveness,
student learning, and educational assessment, according to Donna
Christian, President of the Center for Applied Linguistics.
conclusions were reached at a Conference on Language Diversity and
Academic Achievement in the Education of African American Students
in New York City on January 11 and 12, 1998. The conference was
sponsored by national professional and research organizations.
classroom is a communicative environment and most instruction and
assessment involves the use of language,” says Orlando Taylor,
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard University.
“A disregard for language diversity can inhibit effective
instruction and student learning and can result in inappropriate
evaluation of student achievement.” he continues.
example, those attending the conference agreed that contrasts between
Standard English and some of the varieties of English spoken by
African American students frequently lead to ineffective classroom
instruction and mistakes in identifying predictable differences
between language varieties as deficiencies in reading, writing,
and speaking. This lack of understanding pairs with negative attitudes
to foster low expectations that often impede academic achievement
for the students involved.
urged teacher education programs to give the nation’s teachers
accurate and practical information about language and dialect diversity
to enhance their ability to teach students that come from a variety
of language communities. They also described successful programs
for training teachers and their students about how English varies
in different geographical regions and social groups.
the conference were teachers, school administrators, educational
researchers, linguists, speech pathologists, communication scholars,
professors, university deans, and representatives of the sponsoring
conference was sponsored by the American Association for Applied
Linguistics, the American Dialect Society, the American Speech-Language-Hearing
Association, the Center for Applied Linguistics, the Council of
the Great City Schools, Howard University's Graduate School of Arts
and Sciences, the Linguistic Society of America, the National Alliance
of Black School Educators, the National Black Association for Speech-Language
and Hearing, the National Communication Association, the National
Council of Teachers of English, the Office of Educational Research
and Improvement at the US Department of Education, and Teachers
of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Dr Orlando Taylor, Howard University, (202) 806-6800; or Dr Donna
Christian, Center for Applied Linguistics (202) 429-9292.
Fourth International Creole Language Workshop was
held at Florida International University in North Miami 19-21 March
1998, organized by Tometro Hopkins and helpers from the Linguistics
Program and African-New World Studies. The theme of this year’s
workshop was “Standardizing the Creole: Orthography, Vocabulary
and Structure”. The following papers were presented:
and creoles in education: An overview (Jeff Siegel)
Hu laik no hau fo rait pijin (Suzanne Romaine)
Some pedagogical problems in acquiring and using vocabulary in Caribbean
French and Caribbean Spanish (Jeanette Allsopp)
Standardization and native language proficiency (Peter Roberts)
Lessons learned from orthography development for Belize Kriol (Ken
Decker, read by Ron Morrens)
Perspectives on Haitian Creole and African American English in the
context of multicultural education (Flore Zéphir)
Awareness and contrast: Standard English and teacher preparation
in the United States (Glenn Gilbert and Sharon Gilbert)
A Creole English reading experiment (Ronald Kephart)
Kreol Morisyen and Seselwa in education (Dany Adone)
Aftaa yu laan dem fi riid an rait dem Kriiyol, den wa muo? Creole
- and the teaching of the lexifier language (Dennis Craig)
Cat – Puss or What the leaves hear (Ian Robertson)
How can you standardize in a continuum? (Derek Bickerton)
“Standards” for a continuum: A contradiction in terms?
Haitian school children: An asset in the standardization of Haitian
Creole (Marie Jocelyn Levy)
Identifying the standards for Haitian Creole: Reducing the gap between
oral and written standard (Yves Dejean)
Problems and strategies in the administration of a Frierian approach
to adult literacy in Mauritian Creole (Laura Hills)
Using a creole to teach literacy (Vincent Cooper)
Issues in the promotion of a Creole orthography (Kathryn Shields-Brodber)
An automated approach to Haitian Creole orthography conversion (Marilyn
Standard, orthography, and the classroom teacher (Velma Pollard)
Wence Haitian Creole grammar? (Michel DeGraff)
How is Haitian Creole spoken in formal situations? (Hugues St Fort)
The Society for Pidgin and Creole Languages
(SPCL) will meet (in conjunc-tion with the annual meeting of the
Linguistic Society of America) on 8-9 January 1999 at the Bonaventure
Hotel in Los Angeles. For the first time, there will be a special
section on Applied Creolistics.
will also meet in conjunction with Le 9e Colloque International
des Etudes Créoles in Aix-en-Provence, France, 24-29
more information on either of these conferences, see the CreoList