Why don’t we write in English?

Much of our rich history and what’s happening on our island remains unknown, mainly because we’ve failed to record any of them in English. Most of what’s written about us are in Papiamentu and Dutch. There are about 24 million people for whom Dutch is the first or second language. As for Papiamentu, there are about 400,000 people who read and understand it. 1.5 billion people speak English, even though most aren’t native English speakers. You do the math. It just makes more sense. Many more people can be reached.

Our history and stories remain more or less unknown, not because they are unworthy, but because we choose to tell them to a minuscule fraction of the people. When I was Minister and Member of Parliament, I translated relevant press releases into English, often picked up by the English-speaking countries around us. This blog receives views from 170+ countries in the world. So I have this friendly advice. Let’s stop limiting ourselves. Let’s open up to the world and let our stories be heard.

Willemstad, Curaçao


Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

2 thoughts on “Why don’t we write in English?”

  1. ALEX, I totally agree with you and have expressed my opinion on the language issue quite often. As a small island nation with our own language (Papiamentu, from our original African roots, based on the Dutch import of African slaves on our island in the 18th century), we are obliged to give our local Papiamentu, which is a relic of our slavery past, more attention.

    Although we learn English, Dutch and Spanish at school, and nowadays also our local ‘Papiamentu’, we should make an extra effort to make English THE language for our schooling and business, while also give our local Papiamentu more attention in order to maintain that unique historic language, in which quite a few local writers have expressed themselves, and in doing so, have contributed to the further development of our local Papiamentu. Think of Pierre Lauffer and other writers who have written in Papiamentu and have contributed to the literary and historic development of our island nation. We are a unique nation and are quite capable of participating in a world-wide cultural and economic development due to our historical and linguistic development. BUT …. let our students also be made aware of the beauty of our own language and in this way create a feeling of pride, of belonging to a cultural tradition that is our own. I leave it to you to further develop this suggestion, while you think of Pierre Lauffer, Frank Martinus and quite a few others *who have not been discussed in our scholastic programmes, with the consequence that we are losing that pride in our own development.* Ku kordial saludo i drop in pa mi mustra bo kiko nos mes por!


    On Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 6:00 PM Alex David Rosaria Blog wrote:

    > alexdavidrosaria posted: ” Much of our rich history and what’s currently > happening on our island remains largely unknown in the world because we’ve > failed to record any of them in English. Most of what’s written about us is > in Papiamentu and Dutch. There are about 24 milli” >


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