Standard English in the secondary school in Trinidad

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Based on recordings of classroom speech and conversational interviews with teachers, this paper analyses language use and attitudes in Trinidadian secondary schools. Whereas students often speak Trinidadian Creole in class, teachers generally differentiate, with English being used for formal explanations and Creole for comments or personal remarks to students; they consider Creole as complementary and ancillary to English. Their English, however, is characterized not only by a local accent but also by a few grammatical properties that can be ascribed to Creole influence. The prospect seems to be that a local Standard English will continue to be the predominant medium of instruction in secondary schools. More emphasis on the teaching of spoken English is necessary, some teachers suggest.


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