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Caribbean Journal of Education

Teaching Literacy to Creole-Speakers: Problems and Possibilities

Publication Date: 
September 1984

Over the years, literacy education in Jamaica has been plagued by two closely related problems: (1) the absence of a consistent, officially accepted, socio-linguistically based language policy and teaching methodology for transmitting literacy to creole speakers; and (2) the resultant persistently low literacy levels across the population. Creole linguists have repeatedly expressed the view that the native English-based creoles of the English speaking Caribbean significantly affect the transmission/acquisition of Standard English literacy (see Bailey, Carrington, Craig, Stewart). The fact of creole-interference has been accepted as a given in Caribbean society although the question of dialect-interference has been hotly debated and remains, at best, inconclusive in the United States, the main arena of dialect studies.

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