Sunday, August 15, 2010
A Language Thrives in Its Caribbean Home
By Simon Romero
WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Thousands of languages spoken by small numbers of people, including many of the Creole languages born in the last centuries of human history, are facing extinction. But a little-known language spoken on a handful of islands near the coast of Venezuela may be an exception.
Papiamentu, a Creole language influenced over the centuries by African slaves, Sephardic merchants and Dutch colonists, is now spoken by only about 250,000 people on the islands of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba. But compared with many of the world’s other Creoles, the hybrid languages that emerge in colonial settings, it shows rare signs of vibrancy and official acceptance. CONTINUE READING
NYT multimedia slideshow:
Posted by m. at 8:33 PM