Posted by Madeline Gilbert – PhD student in Linguistics at NYU
For two months this summer, I am doing linguistic research in Uruguay. I am splitting my time between Montevideo, the capital, and Rivera, a city that lies on the border between Uruguay and Brazil. The border between Uruguay and Brazil actually runs right through the middle of a city (along a main street), which is called Rivera on the Uruguayan side and Santana do Livramento on the Brazilian side. For all intents and purposes, it’s a single city that happens to have a border running through it.
My main linguistic interests lie in sociolinguistics and phonetics. The former deals with how language reflects and is used within a social structure: who says what, why, and how. The latter focuses on the sounds of human speech. My project here in Uruguay combines elements of both: how does the contact between Spanish and Portuguese on the border between Uruguay and Brazil affect the phonetics Spanish spoken? I’m collecting interviews of casual speech in Montevideo and in Rivera to be able to compare speakers from both regions.
Mother Tongues United is an event organized by CLACS in partnership with The Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York (HCLI) and Port Academie to bring together educators, authors, and activists from different language communities to discuss the importance of the use of the Mother Tongue in Children’s Literature in the Caribbean.
At the center of the event will be the discussion of Creoles of the Caribbean’s struggle with overcoming the negative stereotype associated with speaking their Mother Tongue and the legacy of historically undervalued languages of marginalized people.
Participants will discuss what is currently being done to positively promote and preserve the Mother Tongue, and how their respective diasporic communities contribute to a shift in the perception of the language.
Guest panelists will include, among others, Riva Nyri Précil, author of “Anaëlle and The Mermaid”, Carmel Balan, founder of Port Academie, and Keisha Wiel, Papiamentu Scholar. The Panel Discussion will be followed by Professional Development break-out sessions focusing on Lesson Planning, Increasing Parental Involvement, and Cultural Sensitivity Training. Light refreshments will be provided.
Please join us Monday, October 17, 5:30 p.m. at the KJCC Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. A valid ID is required to enter the building.
This academic year, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies began offering Haitian Creole language classes to students at New York University. Students at Lehman College and Columbia University can enroll in the classes as well thanks to the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Consortium. Kreyòl is one of Haiti’s two official languages and is spoken by around 10 million people worldwide, including the large Haitian community in New York.
A course is not a course without a teacher, and on fall of 2015 we were delighted to welcome Wynnie Lamour to the CLACS faculty. Wynnie is the founder of the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York, where she offers Kreyól language classes and cultural events. CLACS MA student Brendan Fields talked with Wynnie about her experiences and expectations regarding Haitian Creole at NYU.