We have a student in our school whose first language is Haitian Creole. This student also moved from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and then to Brazil before coming to the US. So at school she spoke a mix of Portuguese with a little Spanish as she worked to learn English. Some of her Spanish speaking classmates could understand her…sometimes. Others just didn’t have the patience. Did I mention she is 6 years old, a first grader?
Now that we have been out of school, we have been contacting families. Enter Google Translate. I sent a message to see how Dad wanted to communicate, hoping it would be Spanish (selfish, easier for me). The answer was Haitian Creole. So I spent an hour with one very concerned parent, typing English, sending Creole, getting Creole back, clicking for English…trying to communicate in a language I didn’t know (believe it or not, I picked up on a few basics like pronouns and yes/no… and a few words that repeated throughout the conversation). Language is language. But here is the real take-away:
Love and concern of a parent for a child is easily understood in any language.