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Researching language and society in contexts of change and transition
Author: Rada Tirvassen
Sociolinguistics and the Narrative Turn presents a fresh approach to sociolinguistics. Located within a qualitative paradigm, it proposes an alternative method for generating knowledge in the field. To start with, there is an argued critique of some of the guiding principles of traditional sociolinguistics which is driven by a trend of scholarship that draws on the meta-narrative of the researcher. In this traditional approach to sociolinguistics, the interpretation of the language phenomenon is not only decontextualised but also stripped of human experience. To illustrate his argument that a qualitative narrative approach to knowledge generation can offer different perspectives and can renew the theorisation of the relationship between language and society, the author has conducted a small-scale study consisting of seven participants.
This book deals with creolization and pidginization of language, culture and identity and makes use of interdisciplinary approaches developed in the study of the latter. Creolization and pidginization are conceptualized and investigated as specific social processes in the course of which new common languages, socio-cultural practices and identifications are developed under distinct social and political conditions and in different historical and local contexts of diversity. The contributions show that creolization and pidginization are important strategies to deal with identity and difference in a world in which diversity is closely linked with inequalities that relate to specific group memberships, colonial legacies and social norms and values.
Author: Julianne Maher
In The Survival of People and Languages: Schooners, Goats and Cassava in St. Barthelemy, French West Indies, Julianne Maher explains a rare linguistic anomaly, how a small homogeneous population of seventeenth century French settlers in the tiny island of St. Barth came to speak four separate languages. With a range of historical documents and eighteenth century eye-witness accounts, Maher reconstructs the island's social ecology that led to its fragmentation. The four speech varieties are closely examined and analyzed, using extensive native speaker interviews; with the impending demise of these languages such documentation is unique. Maher concludes that social factors such as poverty, economics, geography and small population size served to maintain linguistic barriers on the island for over two hundred fifty years.
Author: Robin Sabino
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.