In the Caribbean, English forms the upper segment of speech continua ranging from the Standard to the broadest Creole of each territory; social and stylistic factors correlate with the linguistic range. This paper explores the implications of this for the Caribbean components of the International Corpus of English (ICE). The first issue addressed is how the most informal category of texts that field-workers are required to record for the corpus, conversations, can be made to fit into the segment of the continuum that can be described as English. It is shown that a compromise between the demands of recording ‘English’ and recording ‘conversations’ can be reached. The paper then goes on to discuss analytical approaches to grammatical variation in the Caribbean ICE corpora, demonstrating that the data can be fruitfully examined by a combination of quantitative and discourse analytic methods where corpus linguistics is closely integrated with sociolinguistics.