The lexicographic treatment of Creole in the “Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative”
By Robert Berrouët-Oriol
Montreal, July 20, 2020
English version : July 21, 2021
The original French version of this article, « Le traitement lexicographique du créole dans le » Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haïti Initiative« , was published in Haiti on July 21, 2020 in the newspaper Le National. It was then published in France on Médiapart, in Switzerland on Potomitan, in Martinique on Montray kreyòl and Madinin’Art, and in Canada on www.berrouet-oriol.com .
In this article, linguist-terminologist Robert Berrouët-Oriol rigorously demonstrates that the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » was not elaborated according to the rules of professional lexicographic methodology. It is essentially a fanciful, erratic, incoherent publication, totally lacking in lexicographical rigor : it is therefore a work of amateurs comprising more than 800 pseudo « Creole » equivalents of inadequate English terms, which do not conform to the Creole language system and which no teacher, no Creole-speaking student can understand. This « Glossary » can in no way be used in the teaching of science and technology in Creole.
The publication in Haiti, in Le National of June 22, 2020, of our article « Le traitement lexicographique du créole dans le » Diksyonè kreyòl Vilsen « , earned us a number of comments and pertinent questions from readers living in Haiti and overseas. As a reminder, it should be recalled that our evaluation of this dictionary was conducted according to three analytical criteria: (1) the editorial project/program of this dictionary; (2) the choice and representativeness of the nomenclature; and (3) the methodological conformity and the content of the lexicographical headings. At the end of our evaluation, we concluded that the examination of « Diksyonè kreyòl Vilsen », based on these criteria, shows that in no case can this work be recommended by linguists as a dictionary reference because it does not conform to the requirements of professional lexicography. Its serious conceptual, methodological and lexicological shortcomings, the inadequacy, approximation or falsity of many definitions as well as the absence of an adequate metalanguage make it a very unreliable work, which is difficult to consult and which cannot serve as a credible reference for users, in particular students, teachers and, more generally, language professionals.
This evaluation of « Diksyonè kreyòl Vilsen » has therefore given rise to a number of comments that raise several fundamental questions. Thus, in the absence of a unilingual Creole dictionary written according to the rules of professional lexicography, in the absence of a range of scientific and technical vocabularies elaborated by linguists-lexicologists in concert with specialists in different fields, is Creole, in its natural evolution, equipped today for teaching science and technology? Is the currently available Creole lexical stock sufficient to denote new realities in the scientific and technical fields? How can we explain the scarcity of pedagogical tools in Creole (ministerial directives, learning manuals, specialized lexicons and vocabularies, teacher’s guides, student’s guides, etc.) in the Haitian education system since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution which established the co-officiality of Creole and French? How can we also explain the fact that the translation market in Haiti, since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, is still a generalist market with very little technical/scientific content and that, in most cases, translators into Creole do not have specialized university training in technical/scientific translation or legal translation? Is there a recommended and/or standardized methodological framework to which teachers engaged in the transmission of knowledge and skills in the classroom can refer? Should the « didactization » of Creole precede and/or accompany the production of quality teaching materials in Creole, and should it be at work in the development of dictionaries and lexicons in Creole? (On the issue of the « didactization » of Creole, see our article « Aménagement et « didactisation » du créole dans le système éducatif haïtien : pistes de réflexion », Le National, January 24, 2020.)
This article provides some answers to these basic questions in a synthetic manner. And to better clarify the subject and to discuss the issue that underlies all of the questions posed – namely the teaching of science and technology in Creole – we will then proceed to analyze the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » put online by the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » as part of an educational project currently being carried out at the Matènwa school on the island of La Gonâve.
The conquest of media spaces by Creole since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution may give the illusion that this language has really been developed by the Haitian State in the public space and in particular in the educational system, on the one hand, and that, on the other hand, it would already be strongly equipped to name new realities and ensure quality teaching in Creole in the technical and scientific fields. This lack of vision is mainly carried by a few rare defenders of the « all in Creole right away » vulgate who oppose the simultaneous development of Creole and French in Haiti and who intend to develop only Creole by excluding French, one of the two languages of our national linguistic heritage (see our article « Faut-il exclure le français de l’aménagement linguistique en Haïti », Le National, August 20 and 21, 2017). In reality, empirical observation of the country’s sociolinguistic configuration sheds a different light, especially in the educational system where Creole is still subject to institutional minorization. Without losing sight of the fact that the « didactization » of Creole cannot be reduced to the production of Creole lexicons and dictionaries, it is necessary to take into account the fact that since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, very few pedagogical tools in Creole have been developed and introduced into the national educational system. It is true that « Creole [was] officially introduced into the Haitian school system in 1979. Its use in the educational system has not been easy. It still suffers from a problem of methods, methodologies and « didactisation ». This problem became even more acute with the disappearance in 1991 of the IPN [Institut pédagogique national], which was responsible for developing didactic materials for the system. The Creole language has been the object of resistance and refractory and conservative reactions on the part of all the actors in the system. These resistances and refractory reactions are in line with the collective representations and ideologies and the results of the linguistic policy actions taken in Haiti, which are not always in favor of the language. Nevertheless, it has always been (and is) a facilitator in the process of teaching and appropriation of knowledge at all levels. The new secondary school cycle, which began experimenting in 2007, has extended the teaching-learning of the language throughout the school cycle. However, the issue of teaching Creole as a mother tongue has not been addressed. This being the case, we are still navigating through routine actions that are not informed by elaborate methods built on the basis of a reflective approach that would reduce the chances of trial and error that are currently observed in the teaching/learning of Creole in Haitian schools. » (Renauld Govain: « L’état des lieux du créole dans les établissements scolaires en Haïti », Contextes et didactiques, 4, 2014.) It should be kept in mind that the Bernard reform of 1979 gave rise, thanks to the support of the IPN (National Pedagogical Institute), to the production of a few works taking into account the teaching of and in Creole, among others: – « Le créole en question » / Author: National Pedagogical Institute, 1979; — » Creole and Primary Education in Haiti: Proceedings » / Authors: Albert Valdman, Yves Joseph, Joseph C. Bernard, National Pedagogical Institute, Department of National Education and Indiana University, Bloomington, 1980. But to our knowledge, the Bernard reform of 1979 and the dynamics created by the adoption of the 1987 Constitution did not result in the production of a range of Creole lexicons and dictionaries for the general public and for teaching. From 1987 to the present day, the teaching of science and technology in Creole has not given rise to the development of specific didactic tools designed by specialists in language didactics as well as in science didactics.
The lexicographical and dictionary corpus on Haitian Creole includes several titles, written in Creole or in bilingual editions, or dealing with the terminology of a specific field. Here are some examples: « Dictionnaire français-créole » by Jules Faine (Éditions Leméac, 1974); « Diksyonnè kréyòl-franse » by Lodewijik Peleman, Éditions Bon nouvèl, 1976; « Éléments de lexicographie bilingue: lexique créole-français » by Ernst Mirville (Biltin Institi lingistik apliké, Pòtoprins, no. 11: 198-273, 1979); « Leksik elektwomekanik kreyòl, franse, angle, espayòl » by Pierre Vernet and H. Tourneux (eds.), Port-au-Prince, Fakilte lengwistik aplike, Inivèsite Leta Ayiti; Albert Valdman’s « Haitian Creole-English Bilingual Dictionary » (Creole Institute, Indiana University, 2007); Suzanne Allman’s « L’inventaire des ressources lexicales en créole haïtien : présentation d’extraits du lexique de la maternité et de l’accouchement » (Inventory of lexical resources in Haitian Creole: presentation of excerpts from the lexicon of maternity and childbirth), which appeared in 1984 in the journal Conjonction no. 161-162 In addition to the lexicographical and dictionnary corpus on Haitian Creole, it is important to note the publication of several grammars written in Creole, notably: « Premye pa nan gramè kreyòl », by Sè Alodi, Bon nouvèl, Cap haïtien, 1976; « Gramè kreyòl, 3zièm ane, liv elèv », by the National Pedagogical Institute, n.d. n.d; « Gramè kreyòl 4èm ane », Éditions Henri Deschamps; the authors and date of publication are not mentioned; « Gramè kreyòl », by linguist Joseph-Sauveur Joseph, Éditions du Cidihca, Montréal, 2008; « Gramè kreyòl Vedrine », by E.W. Védrine, Éditions E.W. Védrine Creole Project, 1996; « Gramè kreyòl fasil » by Volvick Derose, Éditions CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015; « Gramè deskriptif kreyòl ayisyen an » by linguist Jockey Berde Fedexy, JEBCA Éditions, 2015. A forthcoming study of these grammars written in Creole will make it possible to evaluate their contribution to the « didactization » of Haitian Creole, including the development of the metalanguage at work in these productions. It is important to note that in 2020 there are no field studies available to determine whether these Creole grammars and the few dictionaries and lexicons that include Creole are actually used in Haitian schools, nor is it known how many schools offer Creole classes or teaching of different subjects in Creole at the primary and secondary levels. The Haitian Ministry of Education, which funds and manages only about 20% of the country’s schools, is still unable to provide analytical data on this subject.
The scarcity of Creole language teaching tools (ministerial directives, learning manuals, specialized lexicons and vocabularies, teacher’s guides, student’s guides, etc.) in the Haitian education system since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, which established the co-officiality of Creole and French, can be explained by the convergence of several factors. On the one hand, the Haitian State, which is dependent on a stunted if not archaic vision of the country’s linguistic situation, still does not have a State linguistic policy, nor a law for the development of our two official languages throughout the country, nor a law for the linguistic orientation of the educational system. (On this subject, see our article « De la nécessité d’une loi d’orientation linguistique de l’éducation en Haïti », Le National, March 10, 2020). The designers of textbooks, lexicons and dictionaries in Creole are therefore deprived of a jurilinguistic reference framework from which they could elaborate quality pedagogical tools in Creole. The non-existence of this jurilinguistic frame of reference also explains the inability of the Ministry of Education to methodically evaluate and standardize the Creole-language textbooks currently used in the educational system, even though there are only a limited number of these books. In this way, anyone, without training in didactics and lexicology but believing himself to be a didactician or lexicologist, can produce -in Haiti or for Haiti-, a lexicon or a dictionary outside the norms of professional lexicography and ensure its free circulation without a competent evaluation by the State The blatant, tolerated and commonplace amateurism that prevails in this regard, coupled with the State’s inability to evaluate and standardize educational material in Creole, is also related to the scarcity of real translation skills in Creole: this explains to a large extent the fact that the translation market in Haiti, since the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, is still a generalist market in which very few skills in technical, scientific and legal translation from specialized university training are evolving. According to our information, only the Faculty of Applied Linguistics (FLA) of the Université d’État d’Haïti offers undergraduate translation courses. A few years ago, the FLA, in conjunction with the LEVE Association, set up a six-month « Translation Techniques Training Program (TTTP) ». This program could evolve into a specialized four-year degree devoted exclusively to the training of professional translators in the technical, scientific and legal fields.
Among the teachers and administrators of the Haitian school, there is a growing consensus that Creole should be used alongside French in the process of learning knowledge and skills. This growing consensus should not, however, mask certain facts that empirical observation reveals: the illusion that Creole has now reached an advanced stage of its « didactization » and its development because of its conquest of media spaces on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the illusion that the Creole language, provided with a sufficient lexical stock, would already be amply equipped to denote new realities and thus adequately ensure the teaching of mathematics, sciences and technologies. The major difficulties and challenges that we point out in this way must not be trivialized or denied or, worse, masked by the unrealistic sermons of « fundamentalist creolists » when they confuse language sciences with ideological drifts. The major difficulties and challenges in question are taken into account in the assessment we are making today of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » put online by the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » as part of an educational project currently being carried out at the Matènwa school on the island of La Gonâve. This assessment is made according to three criteria: (1) the editorial project/program in lexicology; (2) the choice and representativeness of the nomenclature; and (3) the methodological conformity and content of the translational headings. An objective examination of this « glossary » using these criteria will allow us to determine whether the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » meets the standards of professional lexicography and can be recommended by linguists as a tool for learning mathematics, science and technology in Creole.
The Lexicology Project/Program
The « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » is installed on the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » but its date of release is not specified. Posted in the « Resources » section of this platform, it is presented as a « glossary » but in reality it is a lexicon of 859 entries: a list of English terms followed by their Creole equivalents. (Unlike a lexicon, which does not include definitions, a glossary is an alphabetical list of words in a specialty language with definitions, explanations and references). On this platform, the « Glossary » is the only lexicographic document that supports the mission of the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » to promote technology-enhanced learning of math, science, engineering and technology in the language most of them speak at home (« Our mission is to promote technology-enhanced active learning and the use of Kreyòl in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, to help Haitians learn in the language most of them speak at home. « One of the first observations made by the user upon opening the lexicon of the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » is the absence of a « Preface » or a « Foreword » or a « User’s Guide » intended to present the editorial project/program of this educational program in lexicology. This serious departure from the basic rules of professional lexicology makes it impossible to know what the editorial project/programme of the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti » is in terms of scientific and technical lexicology in Creole. Thus, the user is not informed about the specific objectives of the lexicon designed and used by the « Platfòm MIT-Ayiti »; neither is he informed about the methodology of elaboration of this lexicon nor about its authors (are they professional translators, linguists, didacticians?). By way of comparison, the excellent work of linguist Albert Valdman, the « Haitian Creole-English Bilingual Dictionnary » (Creole Institute, Indiana University, 2007, 781 pages), records upstream the rigorous methodological framework of its elaboration through the statement of its editorial program and the mode of consignment of the dictionnary’s headings. These introductory chapters are entitled « A User’s Guide to the Dictionnary »/ »Explanatory Charts » (pp. XIX to XXI) and « Detailed Discussion of the Content of Entries » (pp. XXIII to XXVIII). It should be noted that the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » does not position itself in relation to known lexicographic traditions and/or previous works of linguists and lexicographers related to Creole.
Without a « Preface » or a « Foreword » or a « User’s Guide », the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » does not define its targets either: is it a lexicological tool reserved for English-speaking teachers working in Haiti, or for Haitian Creole-speaking teachers, or for Creole-speaking primary and secondary school students, or for writers of scientific and technical works in Creole? The lack of definition of the target audience for the « Glossary » is therefore directly linked to the absence of an explicit editorial project and a methodology that can guarantee the scientific nature of this lexicon.
The choice and representativeness of the nomenclature
The absence of a « Preface » or a « Foreword » or a « User’s Guide » makes it impossible to know what lexicographic criteria were used to choose and represent the nomenclature of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative ». The nomenclature of this « Glossary » includes 859 entries: why not 2,500 or 7,130? How is the nomenclature of this document representative of the real and identified language needs of unilingual Creole-speaking learners in science and technology learning in the Haiti of 2020? Where did the original English terms and their Creole translations come from, by whom and in what source documents were they identified, and according to what criteria of relevance? What lexicographic rules were used to develop the Creole equivalents? Do these Creole equivalents already exist in reliable and searchable reference documents or were they created from scratch by the editors of the « Glossary »? The « Glossary » does not provide any answers to these fundamental questions related to the methodological basis for the design of the « Glossary ». Moreover, are its editors professional translators competent in Creole translation and were they assisted by Creole-speaking pedagogues familiar with scientific and technical fields? Whether it is a dictionary or a specialized lexicon, the lexicographic criteria for the choice of the nomenclature are of primary importance: they make it possible to establish the scientificity of a lexicographic production and to legitimize it on the pedagogical level. The representativeness of the nomenclature of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » is not recorded in a « Preface » or a « Foreword » or a « User’s Guide »: in no case is it certified that this « Glossary » is representative of the real and identified language needs of unilingual Creole-speaking learners in the learning of science and technology.
Methodological conformity and content of the translation sections
In order to know if the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » is a scientific work elaborated according to the methodology and basic principles of professional lexicology, we have carefully studied this lexicographic production. Here is a sample, with the English terms followed by their completely false Creole equivalents :
|air resistance||rezistans lè|
|air track||pis kout lè|
|and replica plate on||epi plak pou replik sou|
|at rest||nan eta repo|
|bulk modulus||modil elastisite, modil konpresiblite|
|circularly polarized light||limyè ki polarize an sèk|
|conjugate base||konpayèl bazik|
|deprotonated form||fòm depwotonasyon|
|dihybrid sex-linked Punnett square table||echikye Punnett di-ibrid ki asosye ak sèks|
|for mating & replica plating experiments not involving tetrads||pou esperimantasyon sou kwazman ak plak replik ki pa sèvi ak tetrad|
|escape velocity||vitès chape poul|
|F1 ATPase||F1 ATPase|
|generate field vizualization||pwodui vizyalizasyon chan yo|
|ideal gas law||lwa gaz ideyal|
|line integral||entegral sou liy|
|mate & sporulate||fè kwazman & devlope espò|
|multiple regression analysis||analiz pou yon makonnay regresyon|
|non-polar/hydrophobic||ki pa polè / idwofòb|
|prior (conjugate)||konpayèl o pa|
|single-slit experiment||esperimantasyon sou limyè nan yon fant|
The first general analytical observation that emerges from our evaluation is that the set of original English terms translated into Creole seem to belong to unspecified scientific and technical fields. Insofar as the editorial project/program in terms of lexicology as well as the choice and representativeness of the nomenclature are not specified anywhere in this « Glossary », we are not informed about the specific fields of use of the translated terms (mathematics or chemistry?, physics or mechanics?, computing or telephony?, etc.). As for the documentary sources that may have been selected and consulted, it is not known either whether the English terms translated into Creole come from school textbooks written in English or from technical catalogs, specialized magazines, commercials or, in the case of the unitermes, from general reference dictionaries of the English language. More importantly, this « Glossary » does not provide information on the methodology and lexicographic criteria that led to the choice of simple and complex terms to be translated into Creole, and the Creole equivalents are not « motivated » in the sense that the semantic field they cover has no explicit and reliable notional justification. For example, the term « air track » is awkwardly translated as « pis kout lè », the term « and replica plate on » is rendered as the obscure « epi plak pou replik sou »: the agrammaticality of these Creole terms makes it impossible for the Creole-speaking speaker to understand. This type of Creole equivalents appearing in large numbers in this « Glossary » is in no way consistent with two basic methodological principles in scientific and technical translation: notional conformity and respect for the system of the language, these two principles being closely linked in the theory and practice of lexicography (see Christine Bagge: « Equivalence lexicale et traduction, » META magazine, volume 35, no. 1, March 1990, Presses de l’Université de Montréal; see also Jean-Claude Boulanger: « L’aménagement du lexique spécialisé dans le dictionnaire de langue. Du prélexicographique au microstructurel », in Pierre Martel and Jacques Maurais (eds.), Tübingen, M. Niemeyer, coll. « Canadiana Romanica », 1994, no. 8, p. 253-268.)
In the absence of a methodology justifying the choice or the neological elaboration of the Creole equivalents, the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haïti Initiative » does not succeed in being faithful to the principle of notional conformity nor to that of respect for the language system, particularly in its grammatical and semantic components. The user, whether a young student or an adult, does not understand at all the meaning of many Creole equivalents which, from English, have been « dressed up » with a « Creole sound envelope » but which remain deprived of semantic, contextual and cultural references, as can be seen from the following examples « generate field vizualization » = « pwodui vizyalizasyon chan yo »; « multiple regression analysis » = « analiz pou yon makonnay regresyon »; « single-slit experiment » = « esperimantasyon sou limyè nan yon fant »; « think-pair-share » = « panse-fòme pè-pataje ». Moreover, with very few exceptions, the grammatical category of the Creole equivalents (verb, adjective, noun, etc.) is not specified as it is in the French version. ) is not specified as is usually the case in professional lexicography, which explains why translational periphrases can be confused, in input, with lexical units; examples: « for mating & replica plating experiments not involving tetrads » = « pou esperimantasyon sou kwazman ak plak replik ki pa sèvi ak tetrad ». This same type of confusion is also at work in semantically null pseudo-lexical entries such as « F1 ATPase », an English entry, translated by… » F1 ATPase » in Creole. The Creole equivalent « ki pa sèvi ak tetrad » falsely given for the English entry « involving tetrads », which carries a defining seme of a utilitarian nature, is more akin to a definition and a contextual statement than a lexical unit. And since the « Glossary » does not include a notional cross-referencing system as is customary in professional lexicography, the user will not have access to the term « tetrad » to obtain a semantic clarification of « ki pa sèvi ak tetrad ».
Let’s be clear: it is risky and perilous, if not abusive, to develop a lexicon for teaching mathematics, science and technology in Creole in the assumed ignorance of the methodology and basic principles of lexicology, as is the case with the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative ». This results in translational aberrations that severely handicap the transmission of knowledge and know-how in Creole. On the theoretical and methodological aspects of lexicology, see, among others, Gérard Petit (Université de Paris Ouest, LDI (UMR 7187, U. de Paris 13): « Décrire le lexique en diachronie : problèmes théoriques et méthodologiques », n.d.é., in Academia.edu; see also Sophie Comeau: « Partager le savoir du lexicographe : extraction et modélisation ontologique des savoirs lexicographiques ». Master’s thesis, Department of Linguistics and Translation, Université de Montréal, 2009. For a broader analysis and an additional, albeit dated, perspective on the mode of constitution of dictionaries and lexicons, see Jean-Baptiste Marcellesi and Christiane Marcellesi: « Les études du lexique : points de vue et perspectives », revue Langue française, 1969 / 2.
Furthermore, and this should be emphasized, the authors of the Creole equivalents of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » have not been identified: are they scientific and technical translators, professional lexicologists, pedagogues and Creole-speaking teachers trained in scientific and technical translation? Have they ever published bilingual lexicons and/or dictionaries that include Creole? Are the Creole terms in the « Glossary » mostly borrowings, calques, neologisms (of form or meaning) and if they are neologisms how were they created and validated? In the unproven hypothesis that this « Glossary » includes an indeterminate number of neologisms, their authors should have recorded the methodological foundations of such neological production. This is not the case for the production of the possibly neological Creole terms given as entries. Conversely, as we have seen, a very large number of Creole equivalents – including obscure acronyms and translational periphrases – do not even constitute Creole lexical units that should be included as « headings » (entries) in a lexicon or dictionary written according to the methodology for the elaboration of such documents.
A careful and objective examination of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative », using the lexicographic criteria we have presented, attests to the fact that this production is really a pre-lexicographic work rather than a scientific one. Because of its serious conceptual, methodological and lexicological shortcomings, it does not meet the standards of professional lexicography and cannot be recommended by linguists as a tool for learning mathematics, science and technology in Creole. This « Glossary » is essentially a fanciful cobbling together of equivalents given for Creole terms but which on analysis are words « dressed up » in a dubious « Creole sound envelope » and which are devoid of rigorous notional equivalence. Most of the time the Creole equivalents are false, inadequate, erratic, haphazard, disabling and non-operational. The examination of this « Glossary » is also a timely reminder that translation, like lexicography, is a professional activity that requires a solid specialized university education in order to be carried out credibly and scientifically. Furthermore, we must take into account that the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » weakens and discredits the necessary advocacy for the right to the Creole mother tongue in the Haitian educational system (see the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights of 1996; see also our book « Plaidoyer pour les droits linguistiques en Haïti / Pledwaye pou dwa lengwistik ann Ayiti », Cidihca and Éditions Zémès, 2018, as well as our article « Le droit à la langue maternelle créole dans le système éducatif haïtien », Le National, December 11, 2018″).
The highly fanciful and pre-scientific nature of the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative » authorizes critical questioning of all of the educational interventions of the « MIT – Haiti Initiative » in Haiti: can we truly teach math, science, and technology with a lexicographic tool that lacks scientific rigor? Can we generalize the Creole teaching model advocated by the MIT Haiti Initiative in Haiti? Even though teaching in Creole as a mother tongue is now a consensus among a growing number of teachers in Haiti, does the pedagogical model advocated and implemented by the « MIT – Haiti Initiative » project have the same characteristics as the lexicographical model recorded in the « Glossary of STEM terms from the MIT – Haiti Initiative »? Linguists, pedagogues, didacticians, teachers and school administrators must objectively question the aims and consequences of a pedagogical model that is based on and expressed in the process of transmitting knowledge and skills in Creole, using a lexicographical model that lacks scientific rigor.
While the « MIT – Haiti Initiative » claims, on its website, the support of prestigious institutions – the State University of Haiti/Campus of Limonade, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States, Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Fondasyon konesans ak libète (FOKAL)–, To which one must add the support of the Haitian Ministry of Education, one must also wonder about the meaning and scope of these institutional and/or financial supports in the elaboration or in the dissemination of a « Glossary » of such poor lexicological quality.