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Apr 11, 2002

Public input sought on Kriol spelling

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It’s the language used daily by a majority of Belizeans, but most speakers of Bileez Kriol cannot read or write it. In an effort to make people more proficient in their lingua franca, the Bileez Kriol Projek is on Saturday organising an “orthography revision workshop” at the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Centre in Belize City at one in the afternoon. Helen Rocke says that despite the intimidating title, the workshop is designed to reach agreement on a common form of spelling.

Helen Rocke, Bz. Kriol Projek Committee

“The objective of the orthography revision workshop, is to revise some areas in the standard spelling system of the Kriol language that we already have. And what we want, is to public input. We want your input, and we would like as many people as possible to come out and give us your ideas, your opinions. We have some proposals that we would like to make, and definitely with your being there and all our thoughts and ideas put together we can get something good out of it.

We can talk Kriol, but if we do not practice the reading of Kriol, then it’s going to be difficult, just as any other language that we try to practice that we’re not familiar with. Let me give you an example, the Peace Corps come in here. Every year we have a new set of Peace Corps, the first things they want to learn are our first languages, and the main one they need to learn is Kriol. So they are going ahead of us, they are learning not only to speak the Kriol, but also to read and to a certain extend to write the Kriol. So we as Kriol people, even if we’re Maya-Kriol of Garifuna-Kriol, the thing is it’s our lingua franca, it’s the common language of the people, then we should get with it.”

Participants at the workshop will be updated on developments in Creole languages similar to Bileez Kriol such as those spoken in Nicaragua and Jamaica.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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