Dr. Marta B. Dijkhoff, Direktor Instituto Nashonal di Idioma Curaçao

Our institute’s task is to implement the governmental language policy in all its aspects and in a comprehensive way, taking into account the four main languages spoken and considered important on our island, namely Papiamentu, Dutch, English, and Spanish. Because today’s world is a world in which assimilation is a key aspect and where language education can no longer be approached as before, with separate lessons for different languages and separate lessons for different subjects. Thus, mathematics also has its language component, and a child who cannot read and understand a text at a certain level cannot do his homework.

The main goal is to strengthen the multilingual character of our speakers. The reputation we have in the Caribbean and the kingdom as a people who master four languages must continue to exist and be brought to its maximum potential. So that our grandparents do not long for a past where they mastered the four languages at a high level but appreciate what schools offer to our children today. The labor market, whoever the employer may be, will need our professionals since they are able to communicate with a large international market in Dutch, English, and Spanish.

Our institute aims to help and support the government, school boards, teachers, educational institutions, and commercial organizations to achieve this. English, as a global language, must become our catalyst into the increasingly emerging technological, modern, and digital everyday world.

We strive to be innovative and use everything within our reach in the modern world to achieve this goal, such as digitalization, modern didactics, and new methods for language learning.

Dutch, in which we traditionally received high quality education, must now coexist alongside Papiamentu and English to balance and strengthen language proficiency in our children so that they can continue to develop.

Spanish, a language that is dear to our hearts, which is geographically and lexically strongly connected to Papiamentu, must not lose its important position in our community. It is an international language, and with the arrival of immigrants and their settlement in Curaçao, even into the third and fourth generations, we have shown that we have integrated with the Spanish-speaking world as family. These three languages have left their mark on our language. Words like djònikek, dòmplin, ayaka, aros moro, chicharon, aguinaldo, snèrt en olibòl are now part of our daily culture.

Our language needed protection, but today, it needs your contribution to develop and become a mature language that testifies to our resilience and perseverance. It is our cultural heritage, and it needs all of you to be a catalyst in reaching great heights and, as such, become the language that others look to in leading and carrying us all.

As a linguist, I am proud of what we have here. Let’s move forward together. This is your National Language Institute.