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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: Negotiating Creole English Prestige: A Transatlantic View
Author: Nancy Fraser
Email: click here TO access email
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: For the most part Creole English speaking communities continue to struggle with a certain prejudice which goes as far back to contact, pidgins, and the birth of Creole. From the very beginning Creole was regarded as degenerate forms of lexifiers which corresponded with the Creole. The so-called masters viewed it as language that was bad or broken and which lacked a grammatically coherent structure. Whilst linguists like Holm 1988, Muhulhausler 1997 and Sebba 1997 have discarded this assumption, there are still others who think that Creole is a language to be ashamed of and that it should be forgotten especially if there has been a journey from a Creole community to a community that aspires toward the standard, and as such prestige. /L/ While for me it is worthwhile that I understand that with Diaspora comes change, which means a change of language to accommodate the self as well as others, my main aim is not to grapple with this notion, but instead to try to understand how Creole becomes negotiated when a transatlantic journey has been made. I will suggest that a very close study may reveal that a very large percent of native Creole speakers who have relocated to Toronto have chosen to disassociate themselves with Creole, for as to do so is also to disassociate themselves with "backwardness", "bad language", "poverty" and crime. Whilst I have a sense that popular culture is now responsible for many youths, especially Jamaicans, gyrating towards romanticizing the use of Creole, quite a different thing can be said about young, second generation adults and youths from other Caribbean countries like Guyana.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress


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