1887
Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
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Abstract

Abstract

In spite of the centrality of the vernacular in sociolinguistics, we find, it is constantly pitched against the standard, failing to make meaning on its own. It is common practice in western sociolinguistics to identify variants as standard or non-standard, thus marking a distinction between the two and their social meanings. However, when researching English in non-western contexts, such a distinction may not always be tenable. This study reports on variation in the use of a pre-verbal auxiliary – derived from English periphrastic Do – in the speech of Indo-Guyanese speakers, a community of Indian descent in Guyana. A series of matched guise tests were conducted which suggest confusion in the minds of speakers in unambiguously labeling the variants as English, creole or mixed. Further, auxiliary variants are evaluated neutrally without attaching greater or lesser value or prestige in spite of an on-going change at an advanced stage. This has consequences for the very notions of standard and standard-ness, which continue to dominate sociolinguistic modelling of variation in western contexts.

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2022-12-01
2023-02-06
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