Language Contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack His Jacket


Language Contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack His Jacket lays bare crucial roles played by community and resistance in the refashioning of heritage languages. Robin Sabino draws on her community relationships, her fieldwork with a last speaker, and research from a range of disciplines, to advance a revisionist history that elucidates the African linguistic resources used to create community in a land those who were transhipped did not choose and from which they could not return. In parallel fashion, the narrative locates the partial appropriation of creole features by the colony’s Euro-Caribbean community in the emergence of local identity. It also traces the replacement of Dutch and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole with their English counterparts.

Includes more than 300 unique sound records of the last native speaker.

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Robin Sabino (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania) is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Auburn University interested in language contact, variation and change. Ongoing projects include exploration of variationist models, multilingualism, and development self-instructional materials for Tsalagi.
"Sabino’s investigation makes a strong case against the common practice 'of treating corpora from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth
century as a chronologically continuous … data set'. Drawing on data from various disciplines, Sabino convincingly argues in favor of distinguishing the language of the written records from Africans’ speech. [...] This study of the history of VIDC is not only of interest to researchers interested in Dutch creoles. It is a fine demonstration of how careful cross-disciplinary research can provide invaluable insights into the conditions, processes, and outcomes of language-contact situations past and present." Bettina Migge, Language and Society 42: 5 (2013), 579-582.
Academic and public libraries in the Caribbean, Denmark, & the Netherlands; specialists in Creole Studies, Post Colonial Studies, Language Acquisition, Multilingualism, and Sociolinguistics; post graduate students in these fields, and educated laypersons in the Caribbean, Denmark, and the Netherlands.