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Video: Vanderbilt Haitian Basketball Player Djery Baptiste Learns English Listening to Country Music Songs

Djery Baptiste (Credit: Screenshot/USA Today Video)
Djery Baptiste (Credit: Screenshot/USA Today Video)

Yes! Haitians listen to country music too, well at least that’s what I learned after reading this story.

Vanderbilt basketball freshman Djery Baptiste learned to speak English by constantly listening to the songs of country star George Strait.  Baptiste, who came to America from Haiti at the age of 15 not knowing a word of English said  George Strait  songs were easier to learn because he told stories in his songs.

According to The Tennessean,

Vanderbilt basketball player Djery Baptiste already spoke three languages when he arrived in the United States from Haiti, but George Strait taught him English.

“I was in America and didn’t know how to say anything in the language, but I thought I could learn it through music,” Baptiste said. “Country music was the best for me, and George Strait is my favorite. So I learned how to speak English by listening to him tell stories in his songs.”

“Finding out that Nashville is the country music city was just the cherry on top for me,” said Baptiste. Baptiste, a freshman center, came to the United States at age 15 on a student visa to attend a boarding school in Massachusetts. He needed a quick way to pick up the language of his new temporary home, so he sought out the best story-telling genre of music he could find that had words he could use in everyday life.

“Rap and hip-hop and stuff like that didn’t tell stories, and they had a lot of bad language, and I didn’t want to learn many of those words,” Baptiste said. “I also had books to learn English, but none of them could teach me like country music did.”

During his first year in the U.S., Baptiste would sit in his room with headphones on, reading through the lyrics as a country artist sang with references and a twang unrecognizable in his native Gonaives, Haiti. – Continue Reading on The Tennesean.

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