Pluricentric languages in the Americas: the case of Dutch in the Dutch Caribbean
This paper focuses on the characteristics of Dutch in the Caribbean. It introduces the concept that a non-dominant Caribbean variety of Dutch has developed with clear and distinct characteristics, but that mostly these characteristics are described as deviations from the standard rather than as regional characteristics of a rather homogenic variety of Dutch. Speakers of Dutch in the Caribbean generally accept Netherlandic Dutch as their norm. We hypothesize that that homogeneity originates in the convergence of the Caribbean diaspora in several urban centres in the Netherlands. Extensive research into the process of circular migration and language development is necessary to develop a full comprehension of the origin of the characteristics of Caribbean Dutch. Such research may lead to a more generic understanding of the development of postcolonial development of language varieties of the former colonizer's language. This paper introduces the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a linguistic conundrum, after which the second section of the text introduces the geographic, political and linguistic context of the islands. Next a theoretical discussion on dominance and on multilinguality in pluricentric language areas follows in the third section and the fourth section is a reflection on current insights on the Caribbean Dutch variety in the Dutch Caribbean to finally conclude that a non-dominant Caribbean variety of Dutch has developed that is strongly influenced by the iterative migration of large groups of Dutch Caribbean citizens to the European Netherlands.
Source (book)
Pluricentric languages in the Americas / Muhr, R. [edit.]; et al. [edit.]
Graz : PCL-Press , 2022
p. 231-244
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Creation 07.01.2024
Last edited 10.01.2024
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