Standards of English in the Caribbean

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This paper presents a report of the state of research into standards of English in the anglophone Caribbean. It first outlines the history of educated English in the region and then turns to current language attitudes and functions. While Caribbean English-lexifier creoles are no longer overtly stigmatized, standardness in the Caribbean context is still mostly defined negatively, that is, in terms of distance from the creoles. Nevertheless, distinctly local norms of educated speech have arisen and are beginning to be recognized and appreciated. Descriptions of the features of educated Caribbean English have focused on Jamaica and Trinidad and the question of creole influence, but along with the growth of the International Corpus of English, smaller varieties such as Bahamian have recently come into focus as well, and other issues, such as Americanization, have begun to be investigated.


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