by Caroline Mikolajczyk
In an age in which we lose an average of 10 languages forever each year, it’s heartening to see that at least one language is beating the odds. Although Papiamentu, a Creole language spoken in Curacao, Bonaire and
The Times notes that Dutch continues to be the language that
Papiamentu is interesting because even though
In the New York Times article, linguist Bart Jacobs explains why Papiamentu has a better chance of survival than most Creoles:
While English and French Creoles get more attention, the extension of Papiamentu into different domains like writing, education and policy is incredibly high. This bodes very well for the language’s chances to survive, and possibly even thrive well into the future.
What makes Papiamentu different from other, less healthy Creole languages? According to the New York Times, part of the difference lies in the fact that Dutch has fewer speakers than other colonial languages like English and Spanish. So, while people on the islands tend to learn Dutch to seek jobs in the
In the New York Times, Helmin Wiels, party leader for Pueblo Soberano, which favors breaking off Curacao’s official relationship with the
The preservation of Papiamentu would allow us to absorb the influences of our South American brothers, he said, while keeping alive that which makes us unique.
Editor’s Note: The characterisation that Pueblo Soberano favours “breaking off Curacao’s official relationship with the
completely” is rather misleading. Under an independent Netherlands Curacao the political status would naturally evolve into a modern bilateral relationship between two sovereign states based on political equality recognising the shared history, language, culture and other commonalities. Such relations would probably be strengthened, rather than broken off.