The varilingual repertoire of Tobagonian speakers

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This paper challenges the creole continuum model as the most accurate descriptor of language development in Caribbean sociolinguistic complexes for the present. The model was constrained by its time and by quantitative generalization which lost sight of the individual as the locus of change. Much has changed internally since the late 1960’s to render models which predict continuous change towards the acrolect inapplicable. If we now focus on the balancing of language varieties in the individual, we can extend our focus to relevant community groups, taking into consideration both socio-economic factors and social-psychological factors for the society as a whole as well as for the individuals concerned. What emerges is a mixed but structured varilingual competence representative of a social-psychological reality which demands balancing codes rather than shifting in time from one to another. Further, language use cannot be effectively described without considering individual attitudes and community ideologies.


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