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Abstract : Research employing early quantitative sociolinguistic methods was instrumental in shedding light on the makeup of linguistic varieties in creole communities and the linguistic aspects of variable patterns. However, it did not provide a comprehensive analysis of the micro-social aspects of variation because it focused on macro-level relationships and inferred social meanings from statistical correlations of linguistic and macro-social categories. It was the greater use of qualitative methods, including ethnographic investigation of the social context and attention to language ideologies through discourse-based analysis of monolingual and multilingual variable practices across different types of social domains and interactional contexts that opened up more detailed insights into the linkages between language and micro-social practices. As in non-creole contexts, language and social ideologies and changes in both play a crucial role in motivating language variation and change, both its occurrence and directionality, but changes are rarely uni-directional and linguistic practices are seldom associated to just one social or interactional meaning. Variable linguistic practices and contact patterns are important indices of ideological processes, but an understanding of their indexical work requires close attention to both people’s practices and discourses. The papers in this special issue explore variation in a range of Creoles and represent different approaches to researching variation. Two of the papers follow a typical quantitative sociolinguistic approach. They focus on one linguistic feature, or variable, and correlate its distribution with independent linguistic factors (Riccelli’s paper) and with linguistic and social factors (Cardoso and Costa’s paper) to uncover the constraints that govern the distribution of that variable. Evans’ paper differs from these studies in that it investigates variation in legal translations from English to Kwéyòl. It attempts to establish the degree of pragmatic and legal equivalence in the interpretations of on sight translations of an important English legal phrase, the pre-trial right to silence or police caution, and the social factors that condition this variation. The other two papers in the special issue follow a linguistic anthropological approach to variation in that they investigate types of variable linguistic practices, rather than single variables, and speaker’s discourses about them, in order to understand how speakers conceptualize these practices (Schneider) and how these conceptualisations feed into identity formation (Jourdan & Angeli).
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Contributor : Nicolas Quint <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 11:26:02 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 10:25:59 AM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-03101135, version 1



Isabelle Leglise, Bettina Migge, Nicolas Quint. Introduction. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, John Benjamins Publishing, 2021, Approaches to variation in Creole studies, 36 (1), pp.1-11. ⟨halshs-03101135⟩



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