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28415: Hermantin( Letters to the Editor)Teach French, Mandarin, not Creole (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted Sunday May 7, 2006

Teach French, Mandarin, not Creole

Re the April 26 letter No to Creole immersion:

Everyone should have a second language. The choice should be based on how many doors that language will open, how many people speak it and how widely distributed they are.

A billion people all over the world speak English. Half a billion people, also widely distributed, speak Spanish. A billion people, most of them in the world's second largest country, speak Mandarin. French remains a widely spoken second language despite the fact that there are only 125 million native speakers. These are the languages we should consider teaching in our high schools.

Creole is spoken by seven million people, one-tenth of the number who speak Telugu, a language of central India. Optional classes in Creole will produce optional segregation. We need to integrate our children by bringing Haitian literature, the finest literature in the Caribbean, into our schools. Edwidge Danticat's masterful short stories are written in English. Jacques Roumain's Masters of the Dew should be read in the original French by students taking that language and in English translation by everyone else. French students should read the poetry of Rene Depestre. Anglophones should at least have read a translation of Black Mineral. These all are works that should be read for their ideas as well as for their literary merit.

ALLEN A. SMITH, North Miami

The letter fails to address the crux of the issue. The analogy that compares the use of Creole to Yiddish is not far-fetched.

We must give our children the tools that will help them later in life -- knowledge of English and French. Creole will always remain a wonderful conversation piece for scientists and connoisseurs of the Creole language.