Haiti

Why do haitians speak French?

Most Haitians do not actually speak French. Those who do are the minority who had access to literacy and education in Haiti. So the question should be "Why does this privileged minority of Haitians speak French?" The answer is that before 1804, Haiti was a French colony known by the name of "Saint Domingue", and even after becoming the first republic liberated by former slaves, and thus the second republic in the Western hemisphere (after the US), the socioeconomically privileged and intellectual minority that retained power in Haiti was still culturally French in many, if not all respects. So French was retained as the official languange, the language of government, business and education. In parallel, a language spoken presently by all Haitians - Haitian-Creole - continued to be spoken by the majority as well as in private, casual, secular, and some sacred spaces by all classes. Haitian-Creole also has an indelible French root - the majority of its vocabulary comes from French. But the syntax, grammar, and other elements have other linguistic roots, such as African languages, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and same Native American terms (Arawak/Taino). The contributions of Haitian intellectuals to French literature has been, and continues to be remarkable, and even as the linguistic politics of Haiti continued to be battled on Haitian soil, most French speaking Haitians fiercely guard their francophone heritage, and can be found in substantial communities as expats living in other French-speaking nations, such as Quebec, France, Francophone Africa and other parts of the French-speaking Caribbean.
answered 4 years ago

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