A Harvard senior is adding a new dialect to Widener's collection. Ronald Gerstl '57 has announced his donation of books in Papiamento to the library.
The sole work which Widener possesses about Papiamento is a small Italian pamphlet printed in 1863, entitled "I1 dialetto curassese." Papiamento is mainly spoken on two islands in the West Indies, Curacao and Aruba.
Gerstl, who has lived in Curacao, emphasized that Papiamento is "very much a living language." He believes his collection of 12 books and pamphlets represents everything ever printed in the dialect, which is just now beginning to be written. There are no dictionaries in Papiamento, only word lists.
Papiamento interests linguists because of its simplicity.