French and Italian | Structure & sociolinguistic aspects of Haitian Creole & Haitian French
F676 | 26848 | Prof. Albert Valdman

Joint offer with LING L700. Haitian Creole, the language shared by all
Haitians and co-official language (with French) of the Republic of
Haiti is the most developed of all creoles: it has an officialized
spelling, it is partially standardized, and it has access to all
domains of language use in that country. Also there are more speakers
of that language than for any other creole language.

F676 will include a description of all aspects of the language:
phonology, morphosyntax, and the lexicon. Students will have an
opportunity to elicit data from a native speaker of the language and
to extract material from a wide collection of recorded materials. In
addition, they will have access to a computerized corpus and a data
base from which is being produced the most extensive dictionary for
the language.

Among the sociolinguistically oriented topics discussed will be a
variety of language planning issues and the description and analysis
of geographical and social varieties of the language. The focus will
be placed on the development of an autonomous systematic spelling for
Haitian Creole and the elaboration of a standard norm. Other issues to
be considered are the contact with and the demarcation from French and
attitudes of speakers toward both of Haiti's official languages.

Haitian Creole is historically and structurally related to a wide
variety of other creole languages derived from French and created by
African slaves spoken in the Caribbean area: Louisiana, Guadeloupe,
Martinique, Saint-Lucia, etc.  The course will include some
comparative studies among these French-derived creoles. Finally,
current theoretical issues in the field of pidgin and creole studies
will necessarily be broached.

The course will be taught in English but a reading ability in French
is highly desirable because much of the scholarly literature for
Haitian Creole and its Caribbean congeners is in French. Only an
elementary level of study of linguistics is required since the focus
will be on descriptive rather than theoretical issues.

Course requirements include several bi-weekly written assignments, a
final take-home exam, and a small-scale term paper. Readings will take
the form of Xeroxed packets.

For further information about this course, please contact: or