Euro-Caribbean English varieties

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Abstract

This chapter describes a continuum of lesser-known varieties of English spoken in small, relatively isolated enclave white communities in the West Indies that I refer to here as Euro-Caribbean English. The white minority that is in focus in this chapter is not the white elite that are so often thought of in any use of the cultural descriptor ‘white.’ Instead, this is a group that has not made any historical claims to social privilege. They have been traditionally referred to as ‘poor whites’ or more derogatorily as ‘Redlegs’, although most white West Indians refer to themselves as being ‘clear-skinned people’. The geography of whiteness and of the Euro-Caribbean English (ECE) varieties spans the circum-Caribbean region even including areas that are typically considered to be outside the region, such as the Bahamas (see Reaser, this volume) and Bermuda. The region where varieties of Euro-Caribbean English are spoken covers more than 2,754,000 square kilometres; however, the communities that speak these dialects are scattered widely and thinly throughout. In most cases, the communities where ECE is spoken are very small, typically numbering less than one hundred individuals. What makes the dialects of Euro-Caribbean English lesser-known varieties of English and why? Trudgill (2002: 30) first uses the term ‘lesser-known varieties of English’ to refer to a set of relatively ignored, native varieties of English in more obscure parts of the anglophone world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Lesser-Known Varieties of English
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages136-157
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780511676529
ISBN (Print)9780521883962
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

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    Williams, J. P. (2010). Euro-Caribbean English varieties. In The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: An Introduction (pp. 136-157). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511676529.008