Introducing Haitian Language and Culture to Students of French in North America

By Jody Ballah.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Despite its place in the francophone world and its proximity to North America, the language and culture of Haiti are usually not included within the mainstream French curriculum. This paper will discuss the advantages of introducing students to the language, literature, history, and culture of Haiti within regular French classes. By reading literary excerpts and comparing Haitian Creole with French vocabulary and structures, students develop an appreciation for language in Haiti and how standard French can differ throughout the francophone regions of the world. As well, students gain a deeper awareness of the social and political issues in Haiti by looking at how French and Creole co-exist, and how one language is privileged over the other. By including Haiti in a broader discussion of the francophone world, students learn about its unique situation and history, which allows for a greater understanding of current problems and the influence of the United States in this island nation. In addition, the author briefly discusses a service learning trip to Haiti in spring 2011, where students engaged in several areas of community service and were able to use their basic knowledge of French to form a deeper connection with the Haitian people.

Keywords: Language in Haiti, French in Haiti, Haiti in Mainstream French Classes

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.11-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 330.941KB).

Professor Jody Ballah

Instructor of French, Foreign Language Department, University of Cincinnati - Blue Ash, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Jody Ballah has been a faculty member in the Foreign Language Department at the University of Cincinnati - Blue Ash since 2009. She teaches French language, literature, culture, and film. Jody is a native of Canada and has taught French and English in France, Mexico, USA, and Canada for over twenty years. In addition, Jody leads a two week study abroad program to Québec City, Canada for language students, and is co-leader of a service learning program to Haiti with the University of Cincinnati. Currently, she is developing an international service learning course to Guadeloupe, where students will study language, culture, and social issues. Her research interests include service learning in foreign language and French in the Americas.