Asou Nou - About Us

PATWA (the Patois Association of T&T and the Wider Antilles) is about language and life. We don't just want our Patois revival movement to lead to developing a cultural or linguistic museum (which is a good thing for the past and future), but to revive its life today, make it living and alive in 2009 and beyond. Nostalgia is not enough - we must be proactive.

Some of our reasons for the learning, preservation and transmission of Patois:

1) Communication (languages open doors)
a) with elders locally and elsewhere
b) with other people in the region, in countries that have English (St Lucia, Dominica, Grenada), French (Haiti and the FWI) and Spanish (Venezuela) as official languages

2) Personal (languages open the mind)
a) bilingualism and biliteracy develop both sides of an individual's brain (expand our neurolinguistic capabilities)
b) sociolinguistic awareness (reducing linguistic profiling and linguistic discrimination based on false notions and stereotypes)
c) education
d) personal creativity (linguistic, literary and more)

3) Access (languages open worlds)
a) ethnobotany in Trinidad
b) history (national, including books by Anthony de Verteuil referring to Patois, and regional and international)
c) culture (including cocoa, bèlè, proverbs)
d) music (bongo, calypso, kwèch/crèche, folk songs, zouk, kompa, cadence)
e) literature (historical diaries and travelogues, traditional folktales and stories, modern novels including Maryse Condé and Patrick Chamoiseau, plays - Derek Walcott, and poetry)
f) words, words, words - there are 2 English/Creole dictionaries with words of Patois origin in use throughout the French-influenced Anglophone Caribbean

To appreciate our language(s) and language situation(s), we must learn about a) self-love, b) history and c) a little linguistics.

Interest in Patois can even help revive interest in French - Patois being so much easier and faster to learn for Trinbagonians. French is being unfortunately kicked out of our secondary school system, not just here, but overseas. The national focus on Spanish does not and should not exclude other languages, because bilingualism is the beginning of multilingualism. And, internationally speaking, that is far more normal than monolingualism - and is better socially and linguistically. Once an individual learns more than one language, the third and fourth and fifth (etc.) come more easily.

We are all learners/perfecters and speakers and writers of Patois: an engineer, a farmer, a primary school teacher, secondary school teacher, a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, university lecturers, and more.

Tan-an wivé pou mété langaj-nou doubout ankò! Patwa ka viv toujou!
The time has come to put our language back on its feet! Patois is still alive!

Contact us: jsferreira (a) or nnamdihodge (a) or doubadou25 (a)

All material on this wiki, unless otherwise stated, is copyrighted by the organiser.

© 2009 J.S. Ferreira, organiser