Patterns of Language Use of Haitian Immigrants
Abitid se vis (A habit is a vice. Haitian proverb). Habit is a second nature.
Studies of ethnic groups have persuasively shown the relationship between language and culture. For example, Fishman ( 1985) identified three major ways in which language is related to culture: First, language itself is a part of culture; second, language provides an index of the culture; and third, language becomes symbolic of the culture. Therefore, given the importance of language in the definition of culture and ethnicity, a portrait of an ethnic community cannot be complete without a description of its patterns of language use. As Fishman ( 1985: xi) points out, most human behaviors are language embedded, and ceremonies, rituals, songs, stories, prayers, and conversations are "all speech acts or speech events that constitute the very warp and woof of ethnic life."
Among the populations labeled "minorities" by the U.S. system of classification, native Blacks and Spanish-speaking groups have undoubtedly been the main objects of sociolinguistic studies. Researchers -- for example, Labov et al. ( 1968), Wolfram ( 1969), Wolfram and Clarke ( 1971), Labov ( 1972), Dillard ( 1972), Smitherman ( 1977), Baugh ( 1983), and more recently, Bailey, Maynor, and Cukor-Avila ( 1991) and Smithennan ( 1994) -- have focused their attention on the description of the English variety spoken by African Americans and its relationship with the variety spoken by the White majority. In addition, these scholars have demonstrated that Black English, like any other language, is governed by rules, with a unique and logical syntax, a well-defined grammar, and a rich semantic and lexical system. The language of native Black Americans has been referred to in the literature as Non-Standard Negro English (NNE), Negro English, Black English Vernacular (BEV), Black Street Speech, Black English, Black Talk, Ebonics, African American Vernacular English (AAVE), and African