Language Ideology, Gender, and Varieties of Belizean Kriol

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Abstract

This article reports on a study of attitudes, gender, and prestige with respect to Kriol, the Afro-Belizean language of Belize. We ask a fundamental question of whether genders in two Belizean communities perceive prestige and prestigious linguistic objects in the same way. We used a verbal-guise test with 141 participants, collecting both quantitative and qualitative data in Belize City and Punta Gorda, and tested attitudes toward two varieties of Kriol. We found that the variety spoken in Belize City, which is closer to the traditional Kriol vernacular, is held in higher regard than that spoken in Punta Gorda, and that there is little difference between genders in this respect. This is interesting in terms of sociolinguistic thought, as stronger preference for the vernacular is generally associated with men. We attribute this to a rise of post-independence nationalism, globalization of the coastal economy, and the growing language rights movement in Belize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-625
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Black Studies
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 5 2015

Keywords

  • Belizean Kriol
  • Creole
  • language and gender
  • language attitudes

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