Scrabble as a tool for Haitian Creole literacy
Sociolinguistic and orthographic foundations
This paper argues that Scrabble can be used as a tool to help maintain and grow all levels of Haitian Creole literacy and it provides the technical details for developing the game. The rules of the English version are given to introduce the game’s basic structure. Haiti’s educational, sociolinguistic, and literacy conditions are presented in order to put in context the orthographic form proposed for the Haitian Creole version. An overview of game culture in Haiti shows Scrabble’s potential for success. Previous research on the adaptation of Scrabble into Latin by means of a quantitative corpus-linguistic method is examined. Difficult aspects of standard Haitian Creole orthography (IPN) are discussed in order to expose potential pitfalls in design. Quantitative analysis of a Haitian Creole textual corpus provides an empirical basis for the distribution of letter tiles and their point values. Problems encountered in test-games played by Haitian-American university students and Haitian elementary and high school students inform the final proposal. The paper examines the work necessary for the successful introduction of Haitian Creole Scrabble and it provides independent evidence of the game’s cognitive benefits. Haitian Creole Scrabble is argued to be a creative and special method for expanding and strengthening literacy in Haitian Creole and other creole languages.
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