Essay #3: Language Latitudes Outside of the United States
The language/dialect I have chosen to write about is Haitian Creole. This particular kind of Creole is spoken in the beautiful region of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The entire population of Haiti (7 million people) speak Haitian Creole. There about 10 to 12 million people on earth who speak this language. This language is French-based with influences from Portuguese, Spanish, English, Taino and West African Languages. Haitian Creole was first spoken by African slaves and French settlers during the Atlantic slave trade in the French colony of Saint-Domingue which is now known as Haiti. Today, Haitians are the largest creole-speaking community in the world. It is also spoken in the Bahamas, Canada, Cayman Islands, France, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. (Ethnologue).
Because Haitian Creole is a French-based language, over 90% of the Haitian Creole vocabulary is of French origin. They share similar pronunciations and share many lexical items but there are still many differences between the languages. For example, the word for “frequent” in French is fréquent; however, its cognate in Haitian Creole frekan means ‘insolent, rude, and impertinent’ and usually refers to a person. Using certain terms like this can lead to people being misjudged and misunderstood depending on how they interpret the use of the terms.
Both French and Haitian Creole are official spoken languages in Haiti. Like in most civilizations there is a social class in Haiti. French is mostly spoken by the people in the higher class of the society and people who speak the language of Haitian Creole are considered to be a part of the lower class.
Based on my own knowledge and experiences, the people of Dominican Republic look down on Haitians for many reasons. Haitians are perceived as immigrants in DR who have “invaded’ many neighborhoods and have taken over many job opportunities in the nation. For these reasons, Dominicans don’t usually tend to get along with Haitians. The way I see it, Haitians are to Dominican Republic just like Mexicans are to the United States of America. Haitians, like Mexicans, traveled to another country seeking great opportunities, employment, hope for their future, to escape poverty in their homeland and basically to help find the resolutions to all of their issues and worries. There are more than 2 million Haitians living in the Dominican Republic as of the year 2010, most of which are undocumented. Some Dominicans have learned to get along and compromise with Haitians with the little Spanish/Haitian Creole they know. They get to work with each other, live next to each other and spend time together -they usually offer Haitians work because Haitians don’t really ask for high wages. It’s sad to say that there are other Dominicans who treat them as if they were inhuman. I believe that shouldn’t be allowed, even if they are considered to be “aliens”, everyone should be treated with the same respect.
No matter where you choose to live, you will be judged and categorized based on how you speak, the words you choose to use, how you use them, the way you look, the color of your skin, your clothes, your accent, your quietness, your loudness, ect.
“Dominican Republic – Spanish Language and Culture.” Learn Spanish Online for Free with VeinteMundos RSS, www.veintemundos.com/en/spanish/dominican-republic/.
“Haitian Creole.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Creole.
“Haitians in the Dominican Republic.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitians_in_the_Dominican_Republic.
- Should I add more examples?
- Anything I can add on/improve/remove?