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Title:Religious language: Its role in nativizing Caribbean English
Author(s):Thomas-Judson, Jacinth Patricia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pandharipande, Rajeshwari
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Religion, General
Abstract:Early studies of New World Englishes, including Caribbean English (CE), were primarily concerned with their genesis. With the emergence in the 1950's of generative linguistics, the focus of language study gradually shifted to more formal, rule-based descriptions. Subsequently, pidginization/creolization became the framework from which CE would be studied.
Out of the prevailing pidginization/creolization framework emerged the continuum model which posits for non-native polylectal speakers a gradient slope from least native-like to most native-like. The asaumption is that the goal of polylectal speakers is to achieve near native-like performance. That is, it views nonnative linguistic performance as flawed attempts in the direction of the native model.
This study reveals the inadequacies of the pidginization/creolization framework and the strict continuum model that follows from it by taking into account (a) the bidirectionality of speech available to, and employed by, polylectal speakers, (b) the uniqueness of CE as a nonnative variety of English in that its speakers' ancestral languages were systematically eradicated and the dominator's language imposed, and (c) the factors of identity that come into play in the choice of lects. With this approach, I argue that greater descriptive adequacy can be achieved for CE. That is, the features that together constitute nativized CE can be more clearly identified and analyzed.
Specifically, the study looks at the role of Religious Language (RL), including that used by Rastafarian speakers of CE, as a differentia of CE, showing how factors of identity force the use of RL as a means of maintaining ancestral (African) linguistic identity. It also shows how the use of RL is correlated to the theme of the discourse, thereby necessitating a reformulated theoretical framework (Thematic Diglossia or Thematic Mixing) through which to analyze CE.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Thomas-Judson, Jacinth Patricia
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624513
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624513

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