The Language of St Lucia

St. Lucia is a tropical Island found at latitude 13° 54' north and 60° 50' west. It is a Windward Island and can be found in the center of the archipelago of the Eastern Caribbean. Its capital is Castries with a population of over 70,000 on the northwest side of the island. All the signs are in English or have a transalation. All of the road signs are standard symbols and written in English.

The natives of St. Lucia have English as their official language but quite a large amount of the St. Lucian population speaks a French dialect called creole. This creole is not patois or broken French as other types of creole. It is instead a complete language by itself with different rules for syntax and grammar but even so, the inhabitants are not considered bilingual. The French creole that is spoken by islanders is a mix of French and African grammar mostly English vocabulary with a mix of French and a little bit of Spanish words as well. They have a written form of the language which is used for teaching scenarios and they even have textbooks for these lessons to include Mwen Vin Wakonte Sa Ba'w (I am going to explain it to you).

This language is as widely used as the official language of the country and as such it is preserved through its everyday use. It is not only the natives that use this dialect when communicating with each other but there are radio programs that are read in Creole only. This language is so highly esteemed that there is even a festival; the Jounen Kwéyòl is staged every year as a means of celebration for the language.

Though English is St. Lucia’s official language it is estimated that approximately 20% of the island’s population still does not speak English. As such there have been attempts to use language outreach programs to target these members of society that do not speak English so that they can integrate well with the rest of their islanders.