Kriolu Ka Ten Tadju - Cape Verdean Language becoming official is inevitable

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Oct 17 19:37:07 UTC 2008

Kriolu Ka Ten Tadju - Cape Verdean Language becoming official is inevitable
 By Agnelo Montrond
( Nos Jornal newspaper (USA) Posted:
December 30, 2005

December 30, 2005 - An end of the fall semester dinner event was
organized, on Thursday, December 22, at the Sodade restaurant in
Brockton, where some distinguished guests, including college
professors, educators, businessmen, college students, and many more
participants, gathered together to celebrate with the students who
have successfully completed the Cape Verdean Creole I course at
Massasoit Community College. This course, which will be offered again
in the spring semester, is intended for anyone who wants to initiate
learning the Cape Verdean Language, namely all those who, on a daily
basis, interact with the Cape Verdeans, in regards to education, law,
health, business, etc. The dinner event was a success being that it
was a unique and appropriate opportunity for them to socialize with
native speakers and natural ambassadors of our culture.

In addition, they had an occasion to have a real taste of the Cape
Verdean typical food, music and more, in a very supportive, friendly
and nurturing atmosphere. José Luis Santos Spencer and Tony Lopes, two
renowned Cape Verdean musicians provided an excellent musical
background to the audience.

To complete the (almost salted) trio band, the singer Pedro Silva,
brother of the deceased Ildo De Souza Silva Lobo, according to whom
Ildo is forever the best singer of Mornas and Koladeras, sang and
enchanted the audience with a voice resembling that of his brother,
especially when he echoed the lyrics: Kuzas di korason, na altu kutelu
sinbron dja ka ten, biografia di un kriol and many more. We need to
urge Pedro Silva to continue the wonderful work that his deceased
brother initiated for he is as much as a talented singer of
traditional mornas and koladeras. As you may already know, since
summer session I of the year 2002, Massasoit Community College has
been offering Capeverdean Creole I course. It is a 3 credit course
that offers residents of Greater Brockton the opportunity to initiate
the development of their ability to speak, understand, read, and write
Cape Verdean Creole with special emphasis on the Santiago Island
dialectal variation. Students will learn the fundamentals of grammar,
basic vocabulary, and correct pronunciation. Various aspects of Cape
Verdean culture will be discussed. Perhaps due to the fact that Cape
Verdean language is the language of Brockton's fastest growing
population, this course has been of interest to school, business and
community personnel in general. We must acknowledge that Massasoit has
been a great partner of Cape Verde in promoting a greater visibility
of the Cape Verdean language and valuing our native tongue. Massasoit
Community College administration in general, President Charles Wall in
particular, who has formally approved an educational tour to Cape
Verde over the summer, Dean Peter Jonhston who oversees the
department, professor Cristina Ajemian, ESL coordinator whose heart is
half Portuguese and half Capeverdean, Joia Sousa, Admissions
Counselor, who is working tirelessly to make our tentative educational
tour a reality, Jacqueline Jones, Multicultural Outreach
Coordinator/Admissions Counselor/Adjunct Professor of English, who was
the keynote speaker for the event, as well as professor Susan Hall who
is the Head of the Modern Languages Department, deserve more than one
million thumbs up from all Cape Verdeans: more than four hundred
thousand thumbs up from those living in the islands plus more than six
hundred thousand thumbs up from all those living in the diaspora
(including more than thirty thousand thumbs up from those residing in
the Greater Brockton Area).

The Cape Verdean language must be proudly, boldly and continually
cultivated, studied, and developed because it is the soul of our
culture. In fact, the essence of capeverdianity is our native tongue.
Nothing else is our linguistic identity but Creole. Cape Verdeans feel
morna, koladera, funaná, and batuku because those songs are sung in
the sole language that their souls can decode. As Nelson Mandela,
former President of South Africa, said, "if you talk to a man in a
language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to
him in his language, that goes to his heart." Can you imagine batuku
performed in Portuguese? It would be meaningless and it would fail to
convey that genuine cultural message contained in the authentic

Cape Verdean Language has resisted, over centuries, to powerful
colonial attempts to banish it from Capeverdean souls. Its use was
restricted, controlled, marginalized, and disdained, but people of
Cape Verde did not give up. They continued speaking Creole because the
linguistic identity of Cape Verdean souls was more powerful than any
colonial repressive attitude towards their de facto spiritual
language. Cape Verde independence on July 5th, 1975 is a significant
historical mark in Cape Verdeans quest towards the affirmation of our
own identity and sovereignty. The independence ended the colonial
ruling, but yet our compatriots are still living in a neocolonial or
pseudocolonial linguistic era.

It is unbelievable but it is true: Cape Verdean Creole which had
bravely resisted is now facing resistance in several ways. For
instance, the unification of the orthography of the Cape Verdean
language has been a victim of an unprecedented resistance. Believe it
or not, but many capeverdeans (including some intellectuals, and well
educated ones) are still embedded in the colonial inertia denying Cape
Verdean language the dignity that it merits. To me, that is even more
than resistance. It is a deliberate opposition.

As if more resistance was needed, our legal and administrative systems
as well as our mass media (especially here, in the United States) are
still observing the Portuguese only language policy, ignoring the Cape
Verdean language potential to be aside Portuguese which is a language
that for historical, cultural among other reasons is also another
language which is vital for us.

Resistance is also isolated groups of Cape Verdeans trying to exclude
each other in the endeavor of promoting and valuing the Cape Verdean
language. Indeed, all of us united around that same goal, we are not
enough to face such a strong resistance. Solidarity, cooperation, not
competition among us, will enable us to provide the Cape Verdean
Language the status that it deserves.

But Kriolu ka ten tadju, meaning there is no turning back. If the Cape
Verdean constitution must be amended to reflect the so needed
linguistic democracy in the islands, it should be done without any
delay. We cannot understand how can we promote and value our cultural
heritage by postponing the linguistic development of our native

They may attempt to do so but the people of Cape Verde will continue
speaking Creole, singing morna in Creole, singing koladera in Creole,
singing funaná in Creole, and Cape Verdean politicians will continue
doing campaign in Creole.

In the United States of America, Cape Verdean bilingual teachers will
continue using Capeverdean Creole as an instructional tool to help the
students in their transitional period. Institutions of higher
education in the United States, namely Massasoit Community College
will continue offering courses in Cape Verdean language. We will
continue making efforts to denounce the situation because we strongly
believe that Cape Verdean Language becoming official is inevitable. It
can happen, it will happen, it is about to happen.

Agnelo A. Montrond

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