Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



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.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bakker, Peter
    (2003) Mixed languages as autonomous systems. InY. Matras & P. Bakker (Eds.), The mixed language debate: Theoretical and empirical advances (pp. 107–150). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Baranowski, Maciej
    (2017) Class matters: The sociolinguistics of goose and goat in Manchester English. Language Variation and Change, 29(03), 301–339. 10.1017/S0954394517000217
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394517000217 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bhattacharya, Pratibha
    (2017) Variation and change: A case study of Calcutta Bengali. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Delhi, Delhi.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bickerton, Derek
    (1973) On the nature of a creole continuum. Language, 491, 640–69. 10.2307/412355
    https://doi.org/10.2307/412355 [Google Scholar]
  5. (1975) Dynamics o f a Creole System. London: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Despres, Leo A.
    (1967) Cultural pluralism and national politics in British Guyana. Chicago: Rand McNally.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Dey, Kakoli
    (2010) Silchar Bengali: A sociolinguistic study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Delhi, Delhi.
  8. Drummond, Lee
    (1980) The cultural continuum: A theory of intersystems. Man, 15(2), 352–74. 10.2307/2801676
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2801676 [Google Scholar]
  9. Eckert, Penelope, & Labov, William
    (2017) Phonetics, phonology and social meaning. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 21(4), 467–496. 10.1111/josl.12244
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12244 [Google Scholar]
  10. Edwards, Walter
    (1975) Sociolinguistic behavior in rural and urban circumstances in Guyana. Unpublished D.Phil. dissertation, University of York.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Fishman, Joshua. A.
    (1964) Language maintenance and Language Shift as a field of inquiry: A Linguistics, 2 (9).
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Foley, William A.
    (1997) Standard Languages and linguistic engineering. InWilliam Foley, Anthropological linguistics: An introduction (pp. 398–416). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Heller, Monica, & McElhinny, Bonnie
    (2017) Toward a critical history. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Holliday, Nicole R.
    (2019) Multiracial identity and complexity in sociolinguistic variation. Language and Linguistics Compass, 13(8), 10.1111/lnc3.12345
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12345 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hutton, Christopher M.
    (2021) Linguistics and the intellectual challenge of diversity. InFranck Hofmann, & Markus Messling (Eds.), The epoch of universalism, 1769–1989 (pp. 105–124). De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110691504‑201
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110691504-201 [Google Scholar]
  16. JMLU
    JMLU (2005) The language attitude survey of Jamaica. The Jamaican Language Unit. University of the West Indies, Mona.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. King, Sharese
    (2021) Rethinking race and place: The role of persona in sound change reversal. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 251, 159–178. 10.1111/josl.12454
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12454 [Google Scholar]
  18. King, Jeanette, Maclagan, Margaret, Harlow, Ray, Keegan, Peter, & Watson, Catherine
    (2020) Prestige norms and sound change in Māori. Language Ecology, 4(1), 95–114. 10.1075/le.00011.kin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/le.00011.kin [Google Scholar]
  19. Koopman, Nikolas
    (2016) Labov, vernacularity and sociolinguistic change. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(4), 409–430. 10.1111/josl.12191
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12191 [Google Scholar]
  20. Kumar, Ranjan
    (2021) Linguistic Variation and Change in a Caste-Based Speech Community. NWAV-AP6, Singapore National University (February 17–20, 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Labov, William
    (2018) The role of the Avant Garde in linguistic diffusion. Language Variation and Change, 301, 1–21. 10.1017/S0954394518000042
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394518000042 [Google Scholar]
  22. (2016) Afterward: Where are we now?Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(4), 581–602. 10.1111/josl.12200
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12200 [Google Scholar]
  23. (2001a) The anatomy of style-shifting. InPenelope Eckert, & John R. Rickford (Eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation (pp. 85–108). Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511613258.006
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511613258.006 [Google Scholar]
  24. (2001b) Principles of linguistic change. Volume II: Social factors. Cambridge: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. (1994) Principles of linguistic change. Volume I: Internal factors. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. (1984) Field methods of the project on linguistic change and variation. InJohn Baugh, & Joel Sherzer (Eds.), Language in use: Readings in sociolinguistics (pp. 28–53). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (1972) Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (1966) The social stratification of English in New York City. Washington, DC: Centre for Applied Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Labov, Williams
    (1963) The social motivation of a sound change. Word, 191, 273–309. 10.1080/00437956.1963.11659799
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1963.11659799 [Google Scholar]
  30. Labov, William, Rosenfelder, Ingrid, & Fruehwald, Josef
    (2013) One hundred years of sound change in Philadelphia: Linear incrementation, reversal, and reanalysis. Language, 89(1), 30–65. 10.1353/lan.2013.0015
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2013.0015 [Google Scholar]
  31. Labov, William, Ash, Sharon, Ravindranath, Maya, Weldon, Tracey, Baranowski, Maciej, & Nagy, Naomi
    (2011) Properties of the sociolinguistic monitor. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 15(4), 431–463. 10.1111/j.1467‑9841.2011.00504.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2011.00504.x [Google Scholar]
  32. Lambert, Wallace. E., Hodgson, Richard C., Gardner, Robert C., & Fillenbaum, Samuel
    (1960) Evaluational reactions to spoken languages. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 60(1), 44–51. 10.1037/h0044430
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0044430 [Google Scholar]
  33. Lepage, Robert B. and Decamp, David
    (1960) Jamaican creole. London: Macmillan & Co Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Lindsey, Kate
    (2021) Ende oration and final /n/-realisation. APLV, 7(1), 30–61. 10.1075/aplv.19013.lin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aplv.19013.lin [Google Scholar]
  35. Milroy, James
    (2001) Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 5(4), 530–555. 10.1111/1467‑9481.00163
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00163 [Google Scholar]
  36. Nagy, Naomi, & Meyerhoff, Miriam
    (2008) Introduction. InMiriam Meyerhoff and Naomi Nagy (Eds.), Social lives in language: The Sociolinguistics of multilingual speech communities, celebrating the work of Gillian Sankoff (pp. 1–16). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/impact.24.02nag
    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.24.02nag [Google Scholar]
  37. Nevalainen, Terttu, & Rissanen, Matti
    (1985) Do you support the Do-support? Emphatic and non-emphatic Do in affirmative statements. InSven Jacobson, Stockholm (Ed.), Papers from the third symposium on syntactic variation (pp. 35–50).
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Preston, Dennis
    (1996) Where the worst English is spoken. InEdgar Schneider (Ed.), Focus on the USA (pp. 297–360). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/veaw.g16.16pre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g16.16pre [Google Scholar]
  39. Rickford, John
    (1987) Decreolization paths for Guyanese singular pronouns. InGlenn G. Gilbert, 991 (Ed.), Pidgin and creole languages: Essays in memory of John E. Reinecke (pp. 130–38). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. (1985) Standard and nonstandard language attitudes in a creole continuum. InNessa Wolfson & Joan Manes (Eds.), Language of inequality (pp. 145–159). 10.1515/9783110857320.145
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110857320.145 [Google Scholar]
  41. (1980) How does Doz disappear?InDay Richard (Ed.), Issues in English creoles: Papers from the Hawaii Conference (pp.77–96). Heildelberg: Julius Gross Verlag. 10.1075/veaw.g2.07ric
    https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g2.07ric [Google Scholar]
  42. (1979) Variation in a creole continuum: Quantitative and implicational approaches. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.
  43. Roopnarine, Jaipaul L., & Brown, Janet
    (1997) Caribbean families: Diversity among ethnic groups. Greenwich, Connecticut: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Sankoff, David, Sali A. Tagliamonte, & Smith, Eric
    (2005) Goldvarb X: A variable rule application for Macintosh and Windows. Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto. Goldvarb 0.0b3. Available fromindividual.utoronto.ca/tagliamonte/goldvarb.html
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Satyanath, Shobha
    (2021) Genealogies of Sociolinguistics in India. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 25(5), 762–784. 10.1111/josl.12496 (Theme Series: Decentering the Anglosphere).
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12496 [Google Scholar]
  46. (2018) Kohima: Language variation and change in a small but diverse city in India. InDick Smakman & Patrick Heinrich (Eds.), Urban sociolinguistics: The city as a linguistic process and experience. Heinrich (Eds.). Globalizing Sociolinguistics (pp. 95–112). London and New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. (2015) Language variation and change: The Indian experience. InDick Smakman & Patrick Heinrich (Eds.), Globalizing Sociolinguistics (pp.107–122). New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. (2006) English in the new world: continuity and change, the case of personal pronouns in Guyanese English. InParth Bhatt, & Ingo Plag (Eds.). The structure of creole words: Segmental, syllabic and morphological aspects (pp. 179–200). Tubingen: Max Verlag Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783110891683.179
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110891683.179 [Google Scholar]
  49. (2001) Language change and transmission of knowledge across generation. Indian Linguistics (621), 73–88.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. (1991) Variation and change: (Daz) in Guyanese. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Pennsylvania.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. (1990) The use of pronouns and its implications for the implicational model of decreolozation in Guyanese. The Penn Review of Linguistics, 141, 129–142.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Satyanath, Shobha, & Sharma, Richa
    (2016) The growth of English in Delhi: New perspectives in a multilingual setting. InJaspal Singh, Argyro Kantara, & Dorotty Cserző (Eds.), Downscaling culture: Revisiting intercultural communication (pp. 192–227). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Satyanath, T. S.
    (2018) Mapping Multilinguality in Medieval Indian literary culture. InK. Alfons Knauth, & Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta (Eds.), Figures of transcontinental Multilingualism (pp.115–135). Zurich: Verlag GmbH & Co.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Schlesinger, B.
    (1968) Family Patterns in the English-speaking Caribbean. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 301, 149–154. 10.2307/350235
    https://doi.org/10.2307/350235 [Google Scholar]
  55. Sharma, Devyani, Levon, Erez, & Ye, Yang
    (2022) 50 years of British accent bias: Stability and lifespan change in attitudes to accents. English World-Wide. 10.1075/eww.20010.sha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.20010.sha [Google Scholar]
  56. Sharma, K. N.
    (1986) Changing forms of East Indian marriage and family in the Caribbean. The Journal of Sociological Studies, 51, 20–58.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Smakman, Dick
    (2015) The Westernising mechanisms in sociolinguistics. InDick Smakman & Patrick Heinrich (Eds.), Globalizing Sociolinguistics (pp. 16–). New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315697826
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315697826 [Google Scholar]
  58. (2012) The definition of the standard language: A survey of seven countries. International Journal of Sociology of Language, 211, 127–140. 10.1515/ijsl‑2012‑0058
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0058 [Google Scholar]
  59. Sunny, Neethu
    (2013) A sociolinguistic study of Malayalam in Cherukunnam. M.Phil. Dissertation. University of Delhi, Delhi.
  60. Suokhrie, Kelhouvinuo
    (2016) Clans and clanlectal contact: Variation and change in Angami. Asia-Pacific Language variation, 2(2), 188–214. 10.1075/aplv.2.2.04suo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aplv.2.2.04suo [Google Scholar]
  61. Tieken-Boon vann Ostade Ingrid
    Tieken-Boon vann Ostade Ingrid (1987) The auxiliary Do in eighteenth-century English: A sociolinguistic approach. The Netherlands: Floris.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Trudgill, Peter
    (1974) The Social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Wassink, Alicia Beckford
    (1999) Historic low prestige and seeds of change: Attitudes toward Jamaican Creole. Language in Society, 281, 57–92. 10.1017/S0047404599001037
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404599001037 [Google Scholar]
  64. Westphal, Michael
    (2015) Attitudes toward Accents of Standard English in Jamaican Radio Newscasting. Journal of English Linguistics, 43(4), 313–333. 10.1177/0075424215607327
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424215607327 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error