Jamaican Creole Goes Web
Sociolinguistic styling and authenticity in a digital 'Yaad'
Large-scale migration after WWII and the prominence of Jamaican Creole in the media have promoted its use all around the globe. Deterritorialisation has entailed the contact-induced transformation of Jamaican Creole in diaspora communities and its adoption by ‘crossers’. Taking sociolinguistic globalisation yet a step further, this monograph investigates the use of Jamaican Creole in a web discussion forum by combining quantitative and qualitative methodology in a sociolinguistic ‘third wave’ approach. In the absence of standardised orthography, one of the central aims of this study is to document the sociolinguistic styling and grassroots (anti-) standardisation of spelling norms for Jamaican Creole in the web forum as a virtual community of practice. An analysis of individual repertoire portraits demonstrates that conventionalised spelling variants co-occur with basilectal Jamaican Creole morphosyntax in ‘Cyber-Jamaican’ as the digital ethnolinguistic repertoire of the discussion forum. The enregisterment of this ethnolinguistic repertoire is closely tied to staged performance, which establishes the link between ‘Cyber-Jamaican’ and the negotiation of sociolinguistic identity and authenticity via stance-taking.