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Because of the Haitian diaspora, arguments about orthography have repercussions for the representation of Haitian identities transnationally.It is significant that many Haitians who reside in the United States refuse to become American citizens and give up their Haitian passports.We suggest that arguments about orthography reflect competing concerns about repre- sentations of Haitianness at the national and international level, that is, how speakers wish to define themselves to each other, as well as to represent themselves as a nation.Because acceptance of an orthography is based more often on political and social considerations than on linguistic or pedagogical factors, orthographic debates are rich sites for investigating competing nationalistdiscourses.
Linking language ideology, in particular metalinguistic terms that refer to varieties of spoken kreyol, to orthographic choice, we view the debates as part of a nationalist discourse about Haitianness-what is authentic and legitimate--and examine the role of language in national identity formation.
We draw on Silverstein's notion of linguistic ideologies, which are "sets of beliefs about language articulated by users as a rationalization or justification of perceived language structure and use" (1 93).
Language ideology is the mediated link between social structures and forms of talk, standing in dialectical relation with, and thus significantly influencing, social, discursive, and linguistic practices.
Research on language ideology is a bridge between language structure and language politics, as well as between linguistic and social theory (Woolard 1992235-236).
Language ideologies are likely places to This article analyzes competing representations of kreyol and the symbolic impor- tance of decisions taken in standardizing a kreyol orthography.