Le créole-Baissac et le kreol kw : affrontement ou évolution ?

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La Vie Catholique continue à éclairer la situation avec un article du père Cheung, digne d’un jésuite, paru au numéro de fin juillet : Grafi larmoni : le vrai débat. Tous ceux que la question intéresse doivent en prendre connaissance. Pour ma part, je continue à dire que le kreol kw n’est pas une évolution mais un balayage autoritaire du créole-Baissac. Le créole mortifère est enseigné à l’université et, sur une base volontaire, dans nos écoles. Le silence qui règne dans ce domaine n’augure pas de succès et nous devons attendre qu’une autorité compétente nous en parle. Quant à ceux qui veulent introduire le créole au Parlement, je dirai simplement que la transcription des débats au Hansard en créole kw nous exposerait à une risée internationale. Mais n’anticipons pas. Voyons plutôt ce qui se passe en Angleterre et chez nos voisins australiens. Car là aussi ça bouge !

La revue Overseas organe de la Royal Overseas League, no 718 de décembre 2017-février 2018, est rempli de la question et annonce en pleine couverture la teneur de son contenu : Do You Speak My Language ? «From Egyptian hieroglyphics, to English and emojis, the way we communicate never stops evolving.» Suivent une série d’articles «calés» portant des signatures célèbres. Annoncée par l’éditorial de Mark Brierley, Miranda Moore donne le ton en soulignant dans un premier article intitulé «On Speaking Terms», où elle pose la question : «Does the increasing use of the glottal stop or a dropped ‘T’ in speech mean we’re lazy, or is just part of the Evolution of Language ?» et de donner la clé de sa réponse : «Ces changements sont vieux comme le langage lui-même.»

Mais dans ce domaine, les «traditionalistes» s’opposent aux avant-gardistes. Les premiers entendent maintenir la manière de parler héritée de l’époque victorienne : «This linguistic hierarchy is just one of many social filters we use to sort the ‘uneducated’ working classes from the educated upper classes. As the rapper and screenwriter Doc Brown has said: ‘The fear of slang is in my opinion a manifestation of a latent fear of the working classes – a closeted sense of foreboding that our children may be corrupted by an army of hooded Eliza Doolittles raping our green and pleasant land in some kind of grotesque, inverse Pygmalion’.»

Comme le professeur Crystal du programme radio, English Today fait dire à l’un de ses intervenants, même en France où règne une féroce défense de l’usage correct, la langue continue d’évoluer. «The Académie française can coin all the neologisms it wants, but it cannot prevent them from being shunned in favour of English alternatives. After all, what French teen wants to send a courriel when they can write an email instead?»

Government regulation:

Il existe à présent des autorités qui s’efforcent de contrôler pas moins de 113 langues, y compris l’afrikaans, les langues latines, celle de l’île de Man (le manx) et l’arabe. Pourtant, c’est l’absence de règlement qui semble expliquer le succès de l’anglais comme lingua franca universel :

«Here is a language founded on linguistic invasion and theft, on mistakes and localised interpretation. ‘The vigour of English is very much based on how widely it has stolen words. It’s taken words from everywhere and anywhere’ concludes journalist Matthew Engel, whose book That’s the Way It Crumbles denounces the encroachment of Americanisms into British English. Compare that with French, a language that Susan Sontag famously noted ‘tends to break when you bend it.’ ‘The French tried to control the language and then got upset when they realised that parts of the world didn’t want to use French any amore,’ explains Crystal. ‘English has never been in that position; the language has been allowed to develop individually in different circumstances.»

This has led to a glorious multiplicity of slang, much of it celebrated in Tony Thorne’s Dictionary of Contemporary Slang. «All groups – it doesn’t matter whether they are soldiers, policemen, criminals or whatever – always generate to some extent their own language. It’s not just to communicate information, it’s in order to include people into your group and exclude people out of your group», explained Thorne.

Organic development:

«We live in a kind of age in which, it’s very important to express your personal identity, so the emotional lives of individuals are very important and traditional etiquette is not», explains Dr Anne-Sophie Ghyselen. In Dutch, this can be seen in the rise of Tussentaal – the (in-between) language of Flanders – seen as cool, trendy and dynamic compared with standard Dutch. In the UK, the growth of Estuary English serves a similar need with Standard English appearing stuffy by comparison; so you hear former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron dropping their ‘t’ with abandon, as it becomes more important for politicians to identify with ‘the people’ than the ruling classes. While traditionalists may be driven «insane» by the dropped ‘t’s of Estuary English, they happily accept the dropped ‘k’s and ‘w’s of yesteryear (as in ‘knife’ and ‘wrangle’),… we would do well to remember that the language we now call ‘standard’ sounded just as odd, just as ‘wrong’ to native speakers not so very long ago.»

L’Australie :

«Soyons clairs sur un point, déclare le professeur Ghil’ad Zuckermann, professeur à l’université d’Adélaïde qui occupe la ‘Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages’, il n’existe pas de langage pur.»

«In Zuckermann’s adopted homeland of Australia (where here are over 300 languages currently spoken, according to the Bureau of statistics) new ethnolects have also sprung up, including the likes of Warlpiri – a mix of indigenous Warlpiri, Kriol, and Standard Australian English… Other more established ethnolects in Australia are the likes of ‘Greeklish’ and ‘Taglish’ – a mesh of English and Tagalog, an indigenous Philippine tongue… like most hybrid languages, Greeklish and Taglish began as a means of both holding on to one’s own mother tongue – and heritage – and assimilating a new culture.»

According to Zuckermann, the benefits of speaking a hybrid language are almost endless. Those that speak them, he says, can achieve «cultural autonomy, intellectual sovereignty, and even improve their mental health.» «…‘Chinglish’ is one such hybrid language to have been met with a mix of contempt and derision. Burgeoning in line with China’s rise to global economic superpower status, there are purportedly more English speakers in Asia than in any other part of the globe. No longer the preserve of colonials, it is a language that has become the lingua franca of trade and commerce. ‘I think people are missing the point if they see Chinglish as a reflection of stupidity or lack of skill, says Zuckermann. Instead, I would argue that rather than be chastised or lamented, it should be celebrated. It’s also a social reflection of the reality of 21st century, in which people are moving from one country to the other’.»

À Maurice, où cinq langues sont parlées, le créole ne cesse d’établir la communication au besoin, dans le cas rarissime d’un «break down».

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