Volume 31, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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In the literature on Caribbean creoles two descriptive models have dominated to explain the structures of linguistic codes, the relationships between them, and their distribution: diglossia and the creole continuum. Most Anglophone linguists have argued that it is most accurate to describe the linguistic contexts of Martinique and Guadeloupe as stable diglossic situations in which two recognizable linguistic varieties with specific functional assignments are spoken. They contrast the French Antilles with the Caribbean islands where an English-lexifer creole is spoken, described as examples of creole continua. This paper reconsiders the applicability of the diglossia model for describing the linguistic varieties in Guadeloupe and the patterns of their use. I explain why most Antillean scholars describe the French Antilles as examples of diglossia, yet also acknowledge a creole continuum with intermediate varieties of both French and Kréyòl. As a further point, I consider whether or not Guadeloupe’s linguistic situation is best described as a stable one. In doing so, I counter the argument of Meyjes (1995) that language shift is occurring in favor of French monolingualism. My goal in this paper is to foster dialogue between Francophone and Anglophone creolists and to clarify some of our basic assumptions about Caribbean creoles.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): creole continuum; diglossia; Guadeloupean Kréyòl; language ideology
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