Dominican Republic nationals Brayomi and Brayhan Cassy are now adding English and Patois to the list of languages they now speak.
The boys, who are students at the Rio Bueno Primary School in Trelawny, speak Spanish and French. They are in Jamaica because their father, Michelet Cassy, is employed as a translator for a company that works from several hotels.
“They had no knowledge of the English language, but since arriving here at school, they have become multilingual,” said Audrey Barrett, principal of the 184-year-old Rio Bueno Primary School. “Fluent Spanish, mid-range English, and almost fluent Patois,” she added.
Delano Pinnock, the school’s administrative assistant, has been teaching the boys and he says the experience has helped him to improve his Spanish.
“When I did Spanish in school it was just because I loved it, but the fun I am having now is giving me thoughts of qualifying myself to become a Spanish teacher,” he said.
The boys’ father, who was born in Haiti but grew up in the Dominican Republic, told WESTERN STAR said that being able to speak several languages exposes persons to the world.
“I speak six different languages, and this ability has opened many doors for me. That ability has been one of the reasons I am in Jamaica,” he said. “Growing up in the Dominican Republic, you learn different languages. It is one way to get your family into a state where you can take care of opportunities in the global world.
“The boys are learning English and Patois at school, and we speak French and Spanish at home. My only problem is, they learn the curse words and sometimes repeat them without knowing the meanings,” he said.