Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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Among French-based creoles, Haitian Creole has the highest degree of standardization, with a written norm, Standard Haitian Creole (SHC), based on Port-au-Prince monolinguals’ speech. To evaluate the influence of SHC on regional varieties, we conducted, in and around Cap Haïtien, a sociolinguistic study of Northern Haitian Creole (Capois). In addition to stereotypical features such as the possessive kin a + pronoun (vs. SHC pa + pronoun), we uncovered several Capois features still in widespread use in Northern Haiti. In this article, we focus on the most frequently occurring variable, the third person singular pronoun (3sg), which alternates between SHC li/l, and Capois i/y. We show that SHC li has yet to replace Capois i, which is preferred by a large proportion of community members. For both the rural and urban populations, this variable is conditioned by syntactic and phonological factors. Despite shared tendencies, urban speakers’ lower rate of Capois variant use and stronger phonological conditioning may be due to their greater exposure to speakers from other areas of Haiti, and to closer contact with the standard. Although most speakers, especially older ones, recognized SHC’s higher prestige, they evidenced more positive attitudes toward their own speech.


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