Jessica/ November 28, 2018/ Reflective Essay #3/ 2 comments

Jessica Tabares

Professor Ines Vano Garcia

ELL 101


Language Attitudes of Haitian Creole speakers as perceived by Dominicans


Haitian Creole also known as (kreyòl ayisyen) comes from 18th century French with influences from Spanish, Taino, Portuguese, English, and West African languages. Haitian Creole was made by African slaves when they came into contact with French settlers during the Atlantic slave trade. This slave trade took place In the French colony of Saint-Domingue now known as Haiti. Haitian Creole is spoken by 10-12 million people internationally. Haitian Creole is the most popular language in Haiti more than 8.5 million Haitians are fluent but every region has its own different touches to it.  Haitian creole is in many different countries including Canada, the USA, France, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries. Haitian Creole is the second most spoken language in Cuba after Spanish, there is even a creole radio station in Havana Cuba. Over 300,000 Haitian immigrants  speak Haitian creole in Cuba. It is a minority language in Cuba and a significant number of Cubans speak it fluently as a second language. Most of these Cubans that speak Haitian Creole have never been to Haiti and do not have any Haitian ancestry, but learned it in their neighborhood.

In Dominican Republic Haitians are not really welcome. I found an article on the website of CNN by Mariano Castillo called “Faces of a divided island.” According to the article hundreds of thousands of Dominicans with Haitian decent have been stripped of their citizenship and forced to prove they were born in the Dominican Republic. There are also undocumented immigrants that are forced to register with the government.  Castillo stated that “The more common situation, I learned through dozens of interviews, is that children of immigrants are not recorded in the civil registry at birth.” that was because most immigrants were scared that if they were found then they would be deported.

I also found another article on seeker by Julia Wilde called “Why Dominican Republic hates Haiti.” the Article mentions how in Santiago there was a crowd of people burning a Haitian flag which was a symbolic act to protest against the “invasion” of Haitian migration into the country. They also had anti-Haitian graffiti throughout the capital city of Santo Domingo.

In the Commisceo Global there was a page titled “Dominican Republic Guide Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette.” It states the upper class are descended from the European settlers and have lighter skin than the lower class who are darker skinned and descended from African slaves or Haitians. Status is defined by family background not by wealth and there is little social mobility

I feel like in Dominican Republic the social factor that associated with the attitudes to the language is the fact that Dominicans just don’t like anything about Haitians in general. Dominicans are racist towered the Haitians.

In conclusion I feel like a lot of people are judged on the way that they talk. For example, sometimes people think that they can tell what type of education someone else has had by the way that they talk but in reality, people can have many different dialects. When I am around my mom, I wouldn’t use slang with her I would only talk in Spanish. Someone listening in might think we don’t know English.

is there anything i should add?

is there anything i should fix?

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  1. You added great details about the background of this dialect, but I think that it will help you if you try to add more information about the attitudes towards this dialect and explain why they have these certain attitudes. Also in the part that you talk about the history of the dialect, I don’t really hear your “voice” , so you could try to summarize it or put it in your own words.

  2. Hey Jessica, in regards to your questions, I feel as though you did not have a definitive reason as to why the Haitians are so hated upon. I mean, was it something they did? Or is it just them being straight up racist? Even so, if that is the case, how do the Dominicans view them and their language as (Low-class, uneducated, old-fashioned, etc) and why? And how come Haitians are not welcome into the DR? Although it seems you have done so already, it would be pretty cool to expand upon why the Haitian Creole language is accepted and spoken almost everywhere in the DR but why Haitians themselves are not. You also stated that each region has it’s different touches (dialect), what is the one that DR uses? I think this kind of information will greatly improve your essay. I hope this helps!

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