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Educational Policy

How to deal with the variability of BEV (or Jamaican Creole, or Haitian Creole) in schools? Previously teachers considered it substandard, corrupt, an evidence of linguistic and mental deficit. More enlightened attempts try to build on it, valorize it, emphasize that the diglossia is natural but that BEV is not marketable; teach SAE (Standard French in Haiti, etc.) as a second dialect? Begin literacy in BEV, switch to SAE? BEV is clearly a strong marker of ethnic identity, especially among teenage males. BEV forms seem to increase during adolescence (machismo? Covert prestige?) which is counterproductive to the marketability notion.

Harold Schiffman
Tue Mar 25 08:54:40 EST 1997