LINGUIST List 15.2979

Wed Oct 20 2004

Diss: Anthropological Ling: Winkler: 'Limonese...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


        1.    Elizabeth Winkler, Limonese Creole: A Case of Contact-Induced Language Change

Message 1: Limonese Creole: A Case of Contact-Induced Language Change

Date: 19-Oct-2004
From: Elizabeth Winkler <>
Subject: Limonese Creole: A Case of Contact-Induced Language Change

Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1998

Author: Elizabeth G Winkler

Dissertation Title: Limonese Creole: A Case of Contact-Induced Language Change

Linguistic Field(s):
Anthropological Linguistics; Morphology; Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s):
Southwestern Caribbean Creole English Language Code: JAM

Dissertation Director:
Albert Valdman
Samuel G Obeng
Beverly Hartford
Clancy Clements

Dissertation Abstract:

Evidence indicates that the lexicon and morphosyntax of Limonese Creole
(LC) are being affected due to contact with both Costa Rican Spanish and
Standard English (SE). Spanish, the prestige language of the wider
community, has not altogether replaced LC resulting in a situation in which
LC speakers borrow from Spanish when speaking LC. Borrowing from Spanish
includes not only core lexicon, but also, morphosyntactic borrowing
including a shift in the word order of the noun phrase and the combination
of Spanish root morphemes with LC affixes. This study examines these
changes through the use of token analysis of a naturally occurring corpus
to determine which features have been borrowed into LC and which represent
examples of codeswitching. The study has 3 goals: 1) to describe the nature
and extent of borrowing, 2) to evaluate Thomason and Kaufman's 1988
framework for contact-induced language change, and 3) to offer criteria for
differentiating between codeswitching and borrowing. Borrowing in this
unusual community provides support for Thomason and Kaufman's framework;
nevertheless, it also presents some interesting challenges because LC
exhibits contact-induced change on two fronts: borrowing from Spanish and
strengthening from SE. Although Spanish is the numerically and socially
dominant language of the community, SE has recently begun to affect LC due
to a rise in the domains where it is available to the community. This
increase in the availability of SE combined with its worldwide prestige
seem to be having a stabilizing affect on the LC community stemming what
could have been a wholesale community shift to Spanish. LC makes a good
test case for the Thomason and Kaufman model because changes have been
documented from the beginning of contact between LC and Spanish, permitting
language change, maintenance, and shift to be studied and evaluated as they

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