Revitalization of the Patois Language in Trinidad – An Examination of the Effectiveness of Songs in the Process



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The motivation for conducting a research project investigating the effectiveness of the use of songs in a community-based approach to revitalize Patois, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s heritage languages, arose because it is an endangered language that is still part of life of the elders in various communities including Paramin, Talparo, Morne Cabrite and Blanchisseuse. All languages are important; they are a part of the culture of the people. Language death in the Caribbean is an unfortunate reality as the Caribbean “has been a graveyard for languages” (Alleyne 2004), leaving only a few of the original languages still in use today (Ferreira 2001). Happily, there is a beacon of hope in language documentation which can lead to revitalization. Language endangerment and death is a worldwide issue that sees UNESCO’s involvement and acknowledgment that most of the world’s languages will soon be extinct and the expectation remains that revitalization efforts, including songs, will continue to retain and even recover the Patois voice and that pride will be enkindled in nationals and the negative stigma associated with Patois will be finally removed.


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