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Linguistic Profile

Writing Sample

Oral Interview

Problem Scenario

Solution Questions

Societal Linguistic Background

The subject of our case study was a fourth grade student by the name of Joselyne. Joselyne’s birthday is February 4, 1994, and she is ten years old. She was born in Haiti and her ethnic group is Haitian. In her country she is not considered a minority. French and Creole are the official languages of the country. The two languages are linguistically distinct and are not mutually comprehensible. Creole is more widely spoken, but facility with the French language connotes a higher social status

Haiti is located in the Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic. The size of the country is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. The terrain is mostly rough and mountainous. The ethnicity of the country is 95% black and 5% mulatto and white. The main religions of the country are Roman Catholic (80%) and Protestant (16%). Nearly half of the population also practices Voodoo. Haiti is a very poor country – more than 80% of the population lives in abject poverty. Haiti has the highest rates of AIDS, malnutrition, and infant mortality in the region. The literacy rate is 52.9% of the population. The ratio to students to teachers is 33 to 1.

Joselyne lives with both of her parents and 3 siblings. Her mother is 35 and her father is 38. Her mother is a stay-at-home mom and does not work outside the home. Her father is a manual laborer who usually works two to three jobs. The main language spoken in Joselyne’s home is Creole. The mother speaks little to no English while the father can speak a minimal amount. He attends all the parent teacher conferences at his daughters’ schools but is often frustrated because he cannot understand much of what is going on. A very limited amount of English is spoken in the home.

The oldest sibling in the home is 14 years old. She will be attending high school this year. The parents rely heavily on this oldest sibling to translate English into their native tongue. The second oldest sibling is 13 and attends middle school. This child has not learned very much English and prefers to communicate in their home language. The third oldest sibling is Joselyne and the youngest is a small girl of three years old. This is a very close knit family that depends heavily on each other.

The father moved his family to the United States in order to provide a better education for his daughters. He wanted his girls to be able to attend college and knew that if they stayed in Haiti, they probably would never have the opportunity. Their family has a very good attitude towards the Unites States. They see their move to America as a way to provide a better life for themselves and for their children. They encourage their children to learn all that they can about the American culture and the language.

Joselyne’s parents try to be involved in their children’s school life as much as possible, but as noted earlier, the father oftentimes cannot communicate effectively nor understand everything that is going on with his daughters’ education. They come from a very low socio-economic status and must work very hard to make ends meet.

Joselyne’s family is of the Roman Catholic faith and they attend services regularly at a Haitian-American church. They live in an underdeveloped area that is predominantly African-American with a small population of Haitians. The language of the community they reside in is primarily English with many different dialects. The family is active within their Haitian community and is becoming increasingly more active within the American community.

Joselyne is a tall, slender girl. Her eyes and skin are brown. She is an attractive, well-groomed young lady. She is a very shy and quiet, and is respectful and submissive. She seems to get along very well with her classmates and has been helped by forming one or two very close friendships within the classroom. Since Joselyne moved to the United States when she was 7, she still continues to have a very heavy accent. This may be due to the fact that the family continues to speak Creole almost exclusively in the home.

Statistics and information regarding Haiti were obtained from the following websites:


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