[lg policy] Paix Bouche wins Kwéyòl Spelling Bee Competition

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri May 17 11:59:08 EDT 2019

Paix Bouche wins Kwéyòl Spelling Bee Competition
Dominica News Online - Thursday, May 16th, 2019 at 10:55 AM
Winner Anjna Thomas with Ryamond Lawrence

Anjna Thomas of the Paix Bouche Primary has won the 10th annual Primary
Schools Kwéyòl Spelling Bee Competition.

In 2nd place was Annelia Aaron of the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School and
Lily Barry of the Goodwill Primary came in 3rd.

Chief Cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence said Dominica has made progress in
terms of the promotion and preservation of the creole language.

“For centuries now, we’ve used the creole language in our music even with
the bèlè dances. In more recent times, in the 60’s, the folk groups have
used a lot of the creole language and the singers in the Cadance like
Ophelia and Midnight Groovers have also been promoting the language in
their music as well,” he said.

He added, “I encourage all Dominicans, especially the young people, to
speak the Kwéyòl whenever the opportunity arises… In that way, we will be
helping to preserve our traditions and keep alive a very vital part of our
culture. It’s all of us to play our role in helping to continue to prompt
the language whether it’s by speaking through friends and family, whether
it’s by taking part in the music and promoting the songs or whether its
through the media that we could help prompt this beautiful language of

Lawrence said that apart from the two Kwéyòl dictionaries that have already
been published, a new one is in the process of being published.

Meantime, Chief Education Officer, Melena Fontaine said steps have been
taken to introduce the creole language in  the schools curriculum.

“As ministry, we have heard the calls for an integration of creole into our
curriculum and we recognize the importance of incorporating the language
into everyday school instruction. I am very happy to say we have taken
steps towards doing so with the consideration of a program that explores
the use of home language in the teaching process,” she stated.

She explained, “Presently under the early learner’s program which is a
program to do with reading we are working on a language policy which
considers the use of home language and for us in Dominica it includes the
creole language. We are working in partnership with the Organisation of
Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Division Management Unit and examining what
is happening in other creole speaking countries”

Fontaine said very soon they are expected to pilot this program in at least
one of Dominica schools where the community speaks a lot of creole.

She urged Dominicans to continue to allow the creole language to remain the
country’s culture.

“The importance of the creole language cannot be understated. We definitely
cannot allow it to die; it’s part of our culture and it’s going to remain
our culture, ” the Chief Education Officer said. “And I think what is so
important if we realize, is that in the days when I grew up, in certain
homes, you could not speak Patois (Patwa)…you dared not do that but in some
areas that’s what people were speaking; but…….because we have maintained
and sustained the creole language, we find more and more people speaking it
all over Dominica.”

Other schools which participated in the competition which was held at
Alliance Francais on May 15th, 2019 are the St. Luke’s Primary and
Woodfrdhill Primary.

This is the sixth time that the Paix Bouche Primary School has won the
Kwéyòl Spelling Bee Competition.
Anjna (centre) flanked by 2nd place winner, Annelia Aaron (right) and Lily
Barry (left) who placed 3rd


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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