Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



Language attitudes represent a serious challenge for Haitian education policy makers. This research is the first attempt to study the attitudes of elementary school educators toward the linguistic situation in Haiti. A survey of 154 teachers addressed their attitudes toward language use, preference and choice, and their stereotypes toward other Haitian native speakers. Three instruments (quantitative questionnaire, Match-Guise-Technique, and qualitative questionnaire) were utilized and two Statistical Methods (descriptive and inference), along with Chi-Square were used in order to observe the significance of differences in independent variables. Since Haitian teachers who participated in this study were assumed bilingual, the questionnaire first aimed to demonstrate the extent to which they spoke, understood, and wrote French and Creole. This hypothesis was strongly supported and differences in participants’ reactions were significant at p=0.05. In addition to being significant, the differences were meaningful because they were relatively large and unidirectional; e.g., although the majority of participants spoke and understood Creole better than French, the majority wrote French better than Creole. The results on language use showed that Creole alone is predominantly used in informal domains. “Code switching” was mostly observed in less formal situations. The usage of French alone was predominant only in official settings. These differences were significant at P=0.001. The data on language preference corroborated findings of the preceding sections. The Haitian educators preferred French to Creole for achieving objectives of education. The Match-Guise-Technique revealed that educators hold positive attitudes toward French and the mesolect (the urban Creole), but negative attitudes toward the basilect (the rural Creole). Differences, however, were not significant (P=0.05). Finally, it emerged that bilingualism, education, politics, and poverty are very closely related in Haiti. Therefore, an adequate language and education policy may expand bilingualism and well possibly reduce poverty. Yet, to the extent that bilingualism continues to rise, the basilectal variety has a corresponding tendency to diminish progressively. These latter results are discussed in details with respect to their general implications for education and language policy.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nkashama Pius Ngandu