A bill seeks for the Limonense Creole language, known as Patois (or Patuá) to be classified as a Costa Rican regional language and obtain constitutional rank.The above, based on the reform of the Political Constitution carried out in 2015, which contemplates Costa Rica as a Multiethnic and Pluricultural country.The proposal, led by liberationist Rosaura Méndez, aims to give protection and promotion to Patuá because it is a minority language.
Revitalizing minority languages
“Costa Rica has been making efforts to revitalize the minority languages that survive in the country, placing emphasis on the native languages Bribri, Cabécar, Guaymí, Buglere and Guatuso, seeking policies to promote status in formal education and facilitating the existence of resources humans and teaching materials for their development,” the plan indicates.
“Evidently, Limonense Creole cannot be considered an indigenous language; However, it is the minority language with the largest number of speakers, which remains excluded from the efforts and obligations of the State to guarantee its permanence,” he continued.This constitutional reform would force public administration and those programs related to native languages to seek their preservation and strengthening.
Thus, if the reform is approved, article 76 of the Magna Carta would be read as follows:
“Article 76- Spanish is the official language of the Nation. However, the State will ensure the maintenance and cultivation of the national indigenous languages and the Limonense Creole.”
Could it become extinct?
Méndez justified the presentation of this text because he considers that it is an endangered language. “As a defense mechanism, speakers of the Limón Creole language further relegate its use, with the consequent danger of extinction,” he noted.
“Another defense mechanism against stigmatization that some speakers of the Limón Creole language have adopted is to deny their Creole linguistic identity and maintain that it is a variant of English,” indicated the liberationist in the project.
The proposal also states that in countries such as Belize, Nicaragua and Jamaica there are creole languages that are part of the school curriculum, which does not happen in Costa Rica.The initiative is supported by 16 other congressmen from all factions that make up the Legislative Assembly.