Dr. David Tézil publishes latest paper, “Sociolinguistic challenges and new perspectives on determining French speakers in creole communities: the case of Haiti,” in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language


David Tezil 




This study examines the sociolinguistic challenges and explores new perspectives on the evaluation of French competency in creole-speaking communities, particularly in Haiti. Due to the absence of an effective and adaptable French proficiency test in the country, the percentage of Francophones often varies between 5% to 10%, and as high as 42%. This inconsistency may be the result of the assumption that schooling is an effective metric of French proficiency. In this study, I argue that while schooling creates some French speakers, it is not necessarily indicative of French proficiency for all Haitians. In other words, not all Haitians enrolled in schools can count as French speakers. I make three propositions to improve the accuracy of the proportion of French speakers in Haiti: (1) combining schooling with some proficiency instrument to determine French speakers; (2) using an adaptable proficiency test that is based on the salient features that distinguish French from Haitian Creole (Kreyòl); (3) controlling for sociolinguistic varieties such as Frenchified Kreyòl or Kreyòl swa to prevent the miscategorization of monolingual Kreyòl speakers as French speakers.

Keywords: French proficiency, Francophones, Haitian Creole, Kreyòl swa, Kreyòl rèk