Jacobs supports recognition of local ‘S’maatin’ English

PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports ECYS Silveria Jacobs on Wednesday expressed her support for the recognition of St. Maarten English – which she spelled as “S’maatin” English.

“I believe that recognising S’maatin English as our local language and not necessarily establishing it as our official language is a point of focus which because it already exists is just a matter of recognising it and safeguarding it culturally.” She said this would be a key cornerstone to the country building a resilient nation.

Activities to realise this would include encouraging researchers to delve deeper into the subject matter; teaching of phrases and traditional sayings; creating special awareness programmes on the value of the language and encouraging the language to be spoken on national holidays such as Emancipation Day and St. Maarten Day.

She said the latter should be done without persons who speak the local English from being laughed, frowned at or ridiculed by others such as by family members or strangers who may think the person is just speaking “bad English… St. Maarten’s English definitely needs to be recognised.”

She alluded to Curaçao, where she says every businessperson, irrespective of where they come from, speak Papiamentu.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/62300-jacobs-supports-recognition-of-local-s-maatin-english


  1. Another attempt of a country which is in desperate search to find and define its culture.

    St. Maarten English is a local dialect of a few thousand people which honestly is of no significance. Full stop.


    Sometimes I am wondering if these politicians have nothing more serious to tackle. Small island mentality of a minister which tends to forget that this place is generating its major income through tourism.

  2. What is it to gain in recognizing this “local” English variation? It will be better if proper English be taught and practiced in schools, at home and in the professional setting, with emphasis on correct grammar and spelling. A lot of youngsters go to English speaking countries overseas to continue their studies in the university level and you don’t want your children to be laughed at and ridiculed because of this “local” English flavor that foreign (i.e. not from St. Maarten) English speaking people barely understand.

  3. I am sorry but this is a ridiculous as the movement of EBONICS in the US about 15 years ago. What about concentrating an teaching proper English so our youth can compete in a professional manner.