Uwiling 3: 1997
Dominica . A Sociolinguistic Profile
1 Introduction 1.1 Geographic information
Dominica lies between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the former situated 25 miles to its north, the latter 30 miles to its south. Marie Galante, a small dependency of Guadeloupe, is particularly close, lying within 10 miles of Dominica's north-east coast. Dominica is the largest member of the Lesser Antilles. It covers an area of roughly 305 square miles and is 29 miles at its greatest length, 16 miles at its greatest width. A high mountain range runs from north to south, its lateral spurs reaching close to the sea at many points, especially along the east coast which faces the Atlantic.
Bay (Berekua) in the south. All of these are considerably smaller than Roseau, but all, like Roseau, are situated on or near the coast. The vast majority of Dominicans are of African descent. In 1981, those listed as Negrol black comprised 91.2% of the total, another 6% were reported as Mixed (presumably of mainly African and European or other blood), whereas Amerindians (referred to locally as Caribs), accounted for a further 1.5%. There are also a few Lebanese families, members of which are mainly engaged in commercial activity. The number of resident Whites is negligible. Dominica is the only island in the Lesser Antilles where Caribs are still identified as a separate group of any significance. In fact, however, most of those so labelled are of mixed blood and are no longer always readily distinguishable either racially or culturally. Most of them still live in the Carib Reserve or close to it. As one observer (Layng, 1985: 217) has remarked, they are "a territorial minority with a vested interest in remaining a territorial minority", The Reserve, so designated officially in 1903 , is situated on the east coast, in that part. of the island to which their ancestors had retreated by the eighteenth century.
1.2 Demographic information
Dominica is relatively underpopulated for its size. Its mountainous interior remains little inhabited. At the time of the last census (1980/81), the total population was estimated at 74, 785. It must since then have passed 80,000. Roughly 27% of this number reside in the capital, Roseau and its suburbs. Other significant population centres are Portsmouth in the north-west, the second and only other town, and the villages of Marigot in the north-east, St. Joseph in the west, and Grand
1.3 Colonial and settlement history
When Europeans first saw Dominica in 1493 during Columbus' second voyage to the New World, the island was controlled by Caribs, who fought off all attempts to invade their territory. Later, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the island was a pawn in a power struggle between the English and the French. Both these nations claimed it, despite the continuing resistance of the Caribs. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, however, small groups of Europeans, mainly Frenchmen, were allowed to settle there to exploit the forests (Honychurch, 1984:34). The
although the French had captured the island in 1778. however. mainly those on Martinique and Guadeloupe which were founded in 1635.
. Even before this. Many of the Afiican newcomers. op. However. the slaves had surpassed the Whites in number (Honychurch. Dominica remained under British rule until its Independence in November 1978. Colonial 'Officers 71172. Despite subsequent attempts by the French to recapture it during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars around the tum of the nineteenth century. it was returned to Britain in the peace treaty of 1783. during the Seven Years War against the French. the ratio had risen to 4: 1. were established after the British take-over.52
Dominica: a sociolinguistic
British captured the island in 1759. The few sugar estates which have existed on Dominica. 1764-1799. however. so that by 1772. Still other Africans had come as slaves accompanying their French masters from already established colonies. Few slaves. introduced from Martinique early in the eighteenth century. cit :25). Coffee. soon became the most important crop. Dominica's only period of official French control came during the American War of Independence. Africans are reported to have been living among the Caribs even earlier (Honychurch. and were given possession of it at the end of the war in 1763. cit. These may have been captives seized in raids on nearby colonies. op. were specifically brought to the island from Africa before the British assumed control in 1763. as well as some of the French-owned
1 Original correspondence of the Executives of Dominica with the Secretary of State. The slaves of the French lived in fairly close proximity to their masters and were engaged with them in wood-cutting and also in growing tobacco and cotton. if any. It lasted just five years since.:39) and this trend continued. or victims of shipwrecks off the coasts of Dominica.'according to a Colonial Office Report 1.
is still relatively difficult. Many of them returned to Britain after only a short stay on the island. In addition. fanning Maroon settlements from which they constantly raided the estates. or by boat. Barbados and Trinidad in that order. can be heard in Dominica throughout the day on even the smallest transistor radios. The English estate owners. Its two small airstrips cannot operate at night and this. Travel between Dominica and the outside world. the latest in a series of disastrous hurricanes. during the 1980s. Several other radio stations based on nearby islands. are with Frenchspeaking islands. The island's agriculture was severely damaged in 1979 by Hurricane David. following a decline in the production of limes and spices for which the island had acquired a reputation earlier in this century. based on Montserrat. St Lucia. Much work still remains to be done. notably Radio Antilles. This service was established in 1971. the BWIA (British West Indian Airways) jets which call at all the larger 'anglophone' islands cannot land in Dominica. Many of their estates were taken over by mulattos from Martinique and Guadeloupe. The French planters. particularly by the ruggedness of the terrain and the frequent Maroon raids. therefore. The island is not on any of the routes served by the major international airlines.54
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
slaves. Soon there were roads running along most of the coastline. through the Dominica Broadcasting Service. as well as enabling residents of villages like Colihaut to get to Roseau directly by car or bus for the first time. by donkey or mule along bridle paths over the mountains. too. which was opened in 1973. along the west coast. nevertheless remained numerically and economically strong until the early nineteenth century at least. first to Guadeloupe and then on to Antigua and southwards to Martinique. until relatively recently. Bananas and coconuts constitute the_major crops. Only since the 1950s has it been possible to travel by road all the way between Roseau and Portsmouth. First. The introduction of cable television in the early 1980s has meant that many Dominicans who can afford to pay for the service are now being exposed to programmes being relayed round the clock from the United States of America and Britain. considerably shortened the journey between the two towns. when it was known as Radio Dominica. has the main responsibility for disseminating local news. ran away into the mountainous interior of the island. as well as the shortness of their runways. the main roads and anumber offeeder roads
have been improved with international assistance. Radio. leaving their estates in the hands of managers. seriously limits the services that can be provided. were soon defeated. The easiest way to travel from almost any part of Dominica to another was. The one between Roseau and Portsmouth. Dominica's economy remains primarily agricultural. a weekly. The direct links. For example. especially the former. however. After their coffee crops repeatedly failed during' the first half of that century. however. but
. too. internal communication has undergone marked improvement. to open up the interior of the island. The only direct air links are provided by the small Antiguan-based. their influence declined. though denied political power after 1763.' Dominica currently has one newspaper published locally.4 Social and economic development
The extremely mountainous nature of the island has remained an obstacle to development even into the twentieth century. and French stations in Martinique and Guadeloupe. This is the News Chronicle. During the last thirty years or so. CARICOM-owned company LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport) which flies northwards from Dominica.
1. roads were built over the mountains to link Roseau with Grand Bay on the south coast and with Castle Bruce on the east coast.
<. the first language acquired by most of the population is a lexically French Creole. 25% to speak only Patwa and 6% to speak only English. given the greater exposure islandwide to English not only through education but also through the electronic media and improved road networks linking town and country which allow for greater displacement of persons than was formerly possible. morethan two centuries after English became Dominica's official language can be tr~ced to a number of different factors: (1) the strong influ~nce exercised by the French planters and the consequent unofficial retention of t_heir language until well into the' nineteenth century. known locally as Patwa. (2) the relatively large proportion of Patwa-speaking slaves before and after the British take-over. most of those who claimed to speak English would have found it very difficult to carry on a conversation in it. Island Carib. (4) the close links between Dominicans and other speakers of ~ex1Cal1yFrench Creole in the neighbouring French islands. for example. at that time. (6) poor commurucation links with the 'anglophone' Caribbean. Facilities for education have been improving over the years. The Caribs gradually abandoned their own language for Patwa over the centuries. the last speaker of Island Carib having died about the year 1920.1 The language varieties and their distribution
Although English is Dominica's official language. English must be taken here as referring in nearly all cases to a more or less creolized variety. At the present time (1987). but to a lesser extent perhaps. This trend is likely to continue. According to the Report of that census. (5) poor Internal ~o~unication which restricted the spread of English. it is evident that the number of persons whose first language is DCE is increasing especially in urban areas. even.56
Dominica: a sociolinguistic prqfile
recovery has been reasonably good. 69% of Dominicans claimed to speak both Patwa and English. (7) the slow development of education. a growing number of Caribs. speak DCE alongside Patwa. was first brought to Dominica in the seventeenth or early eighteenth century by slaves who arrived on the island with French settlers from Martinique and Guadeloupe.2 Patwa
Patwa. Its lexicon.7% of all those over 15 years of age were reported as never having been to school. Its survival. At the same time.
2. various African languages and English. like other Dominicans. the lexically French Creole. some variety ofDCE. some of the alleged Patwa speakers would have limited competence in that variety. there must now be very few monolingual speakers of Patwa. Tourism is virtually non-existent. though mainly derived from French.
]f one assumes that most Dominicans who have had some schooling can speak. Patwa is usually spoken alongside a creolized variety of English (Dominican Creole English. but these are still relatively few. Even so.
2 Language in Dominica
2. (3) the adoption of Patois by the Caribs and their des~endants.
. DCE). Similarly. nevertheless includes a few words from other sources. Official statistics concerning the distribution of language varieties in Dominica have not been provided since the 1946 census. Nowadays. For example. attempts are being made to develop the small industries.to a limited extent. according to Taylor (1977: 24). in 1980 only 4. compared with 7% indicated following the 1970 census.
for example. It has been claimed. as in the case ofjwenn 'fiiend' vs. as Taylor pointed out (1977:202). shashe vs. for example. pitsh 'pitch' and bad) 'badge'. 1977: 159). a forty
Turmel-John (1983). Valdman. and fwenn (from English friend) 'friend'. as in kaz a nou 'our house'. to the phonological structure of Patois but. The relative stability of the grammatical structure ofPatwa. words referring to institutions associated with speakers of English. to others which. a in phrases denoting possession in Guadeloupean. These include titja 'teacher'. The syntactic structure of Patwa has remained relatively stable. kay' 'house' (used in Martinique) is more usual than its synonym kaz (used in Guadeloupe) and Martiniquan bagay 'thing' is more frequently heard than Guadeloupean biten. Other words might be temporarily borrowed from English on the spur of the moment by bilingual speakers content with any readily available means of ensuring comprehension. ashe 'look for'. Morphophonemic variation is. a student at a secondary school in Roseau. Most of the established loanwords were adopted in the first place to permit the expression of concepts for which there had been no word in Patwa. steshan '(policejstation' and taypraita 'typewriter'. that lexically French Creoles are inherently less susceptible to decreolization than are those. including words denoting recent scientific or technological inventions. In some other cases. however. 'that have English as the lexifier (see. poutji 'why'. is very infrequent in Dominica whereas its usual counterpart kay nou once again coincides with Martiniquan usage. Most loanwords have adapted.
. There is none of the variation which characterizes Jamaican. a semantic distinction has developed between the older word and the more recently adopted one. for example. the more widespread form in Dominica is always the one associated with Martinique. [tf] and [d are only found in word-final position in words of English origin. such as Jamaican. pouki vs. Again. co-exist with words of French origin which have the same meaning. where necessary. and [r] is present only in English loanwords. are still not widely accepted as part of the system. for example. were invariably borrowed from English. though the varieties used in the far north show clear Guadeloupean influence. despite its relative conservatism.58
Dominica: a sociolinguistic
Dominican Creole remains to this day structurally close to the vernaculars of its French neighbours. The first is part of a story told by a twelve year-old boy from the village of Grand Bay (Berekua). help is frequently heard as well as wede/ede 'help' and bikoz and so alongside pis 'because'. vle vs. Ie 'wish'. a striking feature of lexically French Creoles and Dominican Patwa is again no exception. of course. for example bra! (from English broth) 'a local fish stew'. though very frequently used. For example. as well as the kind of morphophonemic variation that occurs. In the second extract. For example. stov 'gas (or electric) stove'. In cases where differences exist between Martiniquan and Guadeloupean.
The orthography used to represent Patwa is the one described by Louisy &
Co-existence with English has most obviously affected the lexicon of Patwa. The similarities with Martiniquan Creole are particularly striking. Some of the variant forms of the same morpheme clearly illustrate different stages of phonological development. This can be partly explained by the fact that the official language in Dominica is not the one from which the bulk of the lexicon of Patwa is derived. Loanwords range from some which have ceased to be regarded as foreign. one of the variants is usually associated with more conservative usage. In these cases. however. can be illustrated by comparison between the following extracts. Other 'established loans. zanmi 'lady-friend' and wesho 'coal pot' vs. Thus.
as he ANTNONPUNCTrun he see one bridge 'As he was running he saw a bridge.. in water-DEF for other-DEF 'into the water for the other.' le i we yon lot moso vyann when he see one other piece meat 'when he saw another piece of meat' ki pli gwo ki pase sa' y-la. which more big which pass DEMPOSS-DEF 'which was bigger than his.1
Uwiling 3:1997 61
60 .3 Extracts from Dominican Patwa
(1) Yon fwa yon shyen vole yon moso vyann one time one dog steal one piece meat 'Once a dog stole a piece of meat' eve i te ka kouwi pou cry jwenn met-Ii.' Kabann-la fwe-mwen te ka domi anle'y-la Bed-DEF brother-ross ANTNONPUNCT sleep on it-DEF 'The bed my brother was going to sleep on. recalls an incident from her childhood.was DEMone old man who dead 'belonged to an old man who was dead.ofDEM'FOSS-DEF and he go 'So he let go of his and he went an glo-a pou lot-Ia . '
Papa-mwen mete yo adan yon kay la yo te k'ay domi. a few miles east of Roseau. and he ANTNONPUNCTrun for go meet master-POSS 'and he was running to meet his master.
for see papa-POSS 'to see my father.
Papa-ross put them inside one house there they ANTNONPUNCT go sleep 'My father put them in a house where they were going to sleep.'
2.jwe-mwen ale GwadZoup Mother-ross take little-brother-poss go Guadeloupe
'My mother took my little brother to Guadeloupe'
pou vwe papa-mwen.go..' Kon i te ka kouwi i we yon pon. '
(2) Manman-mwen menne ti.' So i pase an Ie pon-a' So he pass on top bridge-DEF 'So he passed over the bridge.
So i laje sa' y-la eve t ale so he let.
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
two-year old cook from the village of Point Michel. it.' Pandantan i te ka domi i ka tann while he ANT NONPUNCT sleep he NONPUNCT hear While he was sleeping he heard'
The variant a of the definite determiner is used here following a nasal
.' sete sa yon vye nonm lei mo.
but I see nothing in it so I leave that I was making coals to raise up
those children because the man leave me They did have a nice church but somebody put a candle to it during twelve o'clock Nobody didn' know an' it ketch. Not in my house. I wouldn't leave that house for my mother to have it at all. The use in the given extracts of te as anterior marker and lea as nonpunctual marker. e. exemplified here by mwen 'first person singular' and Ii 'third person singular' always follow the noun. or which denote personal feelings. for example. the possessive pronoun is a combination of the demonstrative sa plus a personal pronoun. Nevertheless. (4) The speaker is an 82 year-old woman. Among these features are
.. as well as the regular occurrence of the unmarked verb with punctual meaning.
2.4 Dominican Creolized English (neE) If one accepts that language varieties such as Patwa have basic
characteristics which put them in a special class of languages labelled Creole. Similarly. and the pronoun adjuncts. Again. living in the village of Colihaut about 10 miles from Roseau on the west coast. are characteristic of usage on the whole.
My name is T . and tags such as utterance-final wi. You would allow that? That would never
2. a person NONPUNCT say get up on bed-ross 'someone saying: Get off my bed. living in Roseau. Before I'd gone away she would have to send him to his father's home. Loanwords from Patwa into DCE tend to be well integrated at this stage. As was indicated earlier. 54 years old. used for emphasis. Others clearly represent calques based on Patwa. then. there is a high incidence of morphophonemic variation in Patwa. Jamaican and Antiguan.62
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
yon mounn lea di leve asi kabann-mwen. mwen 'first person singular'. farin 'cassava flour' (distinguished phonologically from Patwa users' fawin).
some which are also found in. as in the extracts.' The stability of the grammatical structure of Patwa can best be illustrated here by reference to tense/aspect and to the system of determiners. fa following a word ending in a consonant and a following one ending in a vowel. They generally denote concepts which reflect local culture. She's an angel. the justification for regarding most varieties of lexically English speech in Dominica as belonging to that class is arguable. .g. I have seven children with a man.. a retired shopkeeper. exclamations such as Bonndyei 'Good Heavens!' and ela! 'Alas!'. (3) The speaker is a former household helper. nearly all of them share with Creoles features which are foreign to generally accepted Standard English. I'm telling you. but they calling me s. the definite determiner. vwe in extract (2) for the verb 'see' and also by the more predictable variation in the shape of the definite determiner. This is illustrated in the given samples by we in extract (1) vs.5 Samples of Dominican Creolized English
Ordinary English orthography is used here to represent DeE. Typical examples are vep 'something received free of charge' (usually a ride in a motor vehicle). la or a.
mi anterior marker. the double negative. For example.'
2. whether Patwa or DCE. a large number of speakers make no clear distinction between the vowels of. as well as 'simplified' final consonant clusters in two cases. you know? J even had him to remember that. so that tin and thin.
2. Secondly. nevertheless.7 Samples of Kokoy4
The speaker is a 13 year old girl from the village ofMarigot.6 Kokoy
There is a restricted variety of lexically English speech which is generally distinguished within Dominica. unmarked verb forms expressing punctual meaning.
non punctual marker. for example.. workers were recruited from these islands to assist with the construction of the airport at Melville Hall near Marigot. This is because of the presence of other features such as pronominal im (subject) and om (object) third person singular pronouns. accompanied by the slaves they had owned there. from these other colonies. 'Brer Rabbit sent the little girl to fetch water. British planters who first settled in the area after 1763 had come. (5) Bra Rabbit sen i likl gyal fu waata. beat and bit or fool and full. the form ketch 'catch'. the speech of many speakers ofDCE regularly lack the interdental fiicatives. are homophones. Even this informant. These fricatives do not occur in Patwa either. No. man! When he made his First Communion. Features shared with Patwa are. than to that of other Dominican varieties. 'to'. In the first place. and fi or fu 'for'. The similarities between Kokoy and Antiguan are therefore not hard to explain. Most varieties ofDominican speech.64
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
happen with me. There are also strong ties with Antigua throught the Methodist Church which has traditionally been strong in the Leeward Islands. for the most part. These samples illustrate the relative closeness structurally of varieties ofDCE to each other and to standard English. there is a question without subject-auxiliary inversion. for example. Only a minority of them speak Patwa. Its grammar is closer to that of 'basilectal' Antiguan or Jamaican. This variety is known locally as Kokoy. as recently as the early 1960s. Dominica was later linked in a Federation with Antigua.
. St Kitts and Montserrat from 1871 to 1939. to remember 'remind' clearly represents a calque based on Patwafe shonje. especially Antigua. In addition. This area has had close ties with the Leeward Islands. Brer Rabbit send the little girl for water. Thirdly. In extract (4). Kokoy is specifically associated with the villages ofMarigot and Wesley in the north-east of the island. de or da or a
The orthography used to represent Kokoy is adapted from Cassidy & Le Page (1980 ). she sent him a nice suit. consistently uses I for the first person singular pronoun subject and my for the corresponding possessive. Again. for example. the phrase had . have certain phonological features in common. especially in the first speaker's usage. Speakers of Kokoy all control some variety (or varieties)ofDCE as well. however. These include did as anterior marker. sometimes evident here.
associated here with ad hoc usage.8 Code-switching
Code-switching is used in this paper to denote the "juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or sub-systems" (Gurnperz. in practice. when she ring the bucket. extempore usage is readily distinguishable from established usage. (8) Mashin-la ka koute jour hundred dollars. It is directly
. whatever variety is being used otherwise for the transaction. 'The little girl went the first time. The principle is
2. 'The machine cost four hundred dollars. Brer Lion ask her why they ANT carry so much water 'Brer Lion asked her why they had carried so much water. and forms like aks 'ask' and wemek 'why'. code-switching is almost the norm. she did not ring the bucket. is being used for usage which. It is illustrated in the following: (6) What happen to you? ou malad? 'What's happened to you? Are you ill?'
(7) Mwen pa ka we'y. This is most evident in the distinction between im third person singular pronoun subject and om third person singular object. It is nonetheless motivated.Brer Lion come 'When she rang the bucket. The two different labels really identify two aspects of what is after all the same general phenomenon.T am not seeing it. Brer Rabbit tell the little girl not ring the bucket 'Brer Rabbit told the little girl not to ring the bucket. This would explain the semantic identity of the two segments.' Wen im ring di bokit. although the reason for it on a specific occasion might not be readily identifiable. no negative marker. Bra Layon kom. 1982:59). 'went the third time she rang the bucket.' In the first of these examples.66
Dominica: a sociolinguistic
Bra Rabbit tel i likl gyal no ring di bokit. Brer Lion came. go di terd teym im ring di bokit. The justification for separating them is therefore open to question. based on past experience with Patwa. the switch to Patwa implies a move to a more intimate form of communication with a near neighbour whom the speaker had observed from her window to be at home at an hour when normally she would have been out at work. These features distinguish Kokoy from DeE. This use of different 'codes' in a single stretch of speech is usually unconscious. whereas borrowing. exemplified by loanwords.' Bra Layon aks am wemek de mi kari somoch waata. is seen as signalling potential system change. mi anterior marker. However. the little girl go the first time she NEG ring the bucket.' This extract illustrates the similarity between Kokoy and Antiguan. The speaker in the second example was searching for a missing item on a bus plying between Portsmouth and Roseau. In communication between bilinguals such as characterize the Dominican situation. She switched to Patwa on realizing that she was being overheard by strangers. go the third time she ring the bucket.' Di likl gyal go di fos teym im no ring di bokit. The final example illustrates the fact that prices are usually quoted in English. She did not want to be seen as an ignorant country woman.
code-switching is used as a conversation strategy between speakers who can communicate. This accounts for its inclusion in this section. buying and spelling of goods is associated with an urban and outgroup life-style.68
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
established. The achievement of political Independence and the new consciousness of a national identity have been mainly responsible for this development. Despite the reality of the situation. social class differentiation is generally more readily identifiable from the regularity with which a speaker uses DCE rather than Patwa or vice versa. is being officially fostered more and more. even in these relatively formal
settings. i. Nevertheless. programmes on radio or television. however. is related to frequency of use. but rather. to at least some extent. for the kont or folk-tales traditionally told at wakes for the dead. Prizes have for a long time been awarded to the best
. From one point of view. for folk-songs and proverbs.
2. Regular use ofDCE is associated with persons of relatively high status and/or urban residents.e. especially by passing school examinations and getting a 'good' job as a result. but the particular phrase will vary according to the cost of the individual item. it is certainly the case that the concept of separate codes is present in the minds of such speakers and is constantly reinforced by the traditional way of looking at language. In all the cases illustrated. The frequency offeatures shared with Patwa in the DCE-usage of an individual speaker is likely to be proportionate to his/her educational level. The utilitarian value of English as a means of improving one's social status. than from the structural features of the varieties which he/she uses. and the closer to standard English the greater the prestige attached. This applies not only to transactions involving manufactured articles such as the sewing machine concerned in this instance. The close links between Patwa and national culture. Fluency might also be a relevant factor but that. This is not surprising. with the exception of what is perceived as Kokoy. Besides. Patwa is the traditional vehicle for oral literature. in Parliament or the Law Courts. actual usage. it is standard English that is normally expected in Dominica wherever written language is required for speeches at official ceremonies. for sermons in church. an intermediate variety which belongs to no clearly defined code. given the structural cohesiveness ofPatwa and the relative closeness of most varieties of DCE to each other. AIl usage so labelled is prestigious. traditionally recognized by at least some Dominicans. but even to the buying and selling of fruit and _vegetables in the markets and on the streets of Roseau and Portsmouth. The stereotypes are not necessarily valid. too. and for all classroom activities. the gap between principle and practice being particularly evident where spoken language is concerned. parents regularly deliberately address their young children in DCE while using Patwa to each other and to other adults within the hearing of these same children. such as the one indicated by Le Page & Tabouret-Keller (1985). in either variety.9 Social functions of the language varieties and attitudes to each
As in all the Caribbean territories which were ruled by the British until Independence or which are still under British rule. In an effort to help youngsters achieve proficiency in English. is clearly recognized throughout the island. All English-related usage. often faIls short of the target. is labelled 'English' by Dominicans. As is also the case in the other territories referred to earlier. whereas regular use of Patwa implies the opposite. it is reasonable to conclude that what bilingual Dominicans normally use in informal communication with each other is neither Patwa or DeE.
. on which all Dominicans are encouraged to speak only Patwa. Poems and plays in Patwa have been produced from tune to ~e. Although it is true that monolingual speakers ofPatwa most probably belong to remote rural areas and that they are necessarily illiterate. with backwardness seen as a characteristic of country people. For example. in addition. Nowadays. it has never been seriously suggested. Rather. the number of which is growing. a specific day. Kweyol-la. supported by UNESCO. In fact. through the efforts of interested groups in Dominica and St LUCia. Joune Kwe!~l Domnik 'Dominican Creole Day' is identified. despite its Gallicized spelling.
. have had little or no previous experience of using Patwa for sustained discourse. information on health and agriculture. A booklet. It is illustrated in the official version of Dominica's national motto. in tum. Ad hoc borrowings from English are quite frequent on these programmes. in Patwa. official policy has for some time stressed infant education as a means of encouraging fluency in English from early childhood. even some who are relatively fluent in brief informal exchanges. Even some of those who realize that Patwa has independent linguistic status as 'well as cultural significance. Nearly all Dominicans of all social classes use Patwa from time to time. represents what may well be the earliest official recognition ofPatwa. The first of these. durin~ the annual Independence celebrations. rather than by the actual use made of it by Dominicans. negative attitudes to Patwa still survive. .. Espeweans Kweyol. might share the view that English is the main language spoken in their country. many of those speakers who have the necessary expertise. The major obstacle to such activities has been the absence of an rndependent orthography for Patwa. Of course. Connexion Samedi Soir. has been prepared under the aegis of the 'Creole Desk' which forms part of the Cultural Division of the Ministry of Coommunity Development. is lighter in content An occasional Patwa advertisement or a folk-tale in Patwa may also be heard from time to time at different hours of the day. Patwa is regarded by many Dominicans as automatically constituting a barrier to success in the classroom. In addition. as the high incidence of code-switching attests. howev~r. In any case. more and more Dominicans. influenced no doubt by its official status and its acceptance internationally. This is especially the case where technical subjects are discussed. which. The one traditionally used is partIy based on ~e French system and is partly ad hoc. Despite the developments mentioned. the stereotypes are unjustified. Any official attempt to use Patwa in educational circles would still be strongly resisted in many circles. The second. since they regard Patwa as broken French and as having no grammar. While it is not the government's intention to eradicate Patwa.70
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
tellers of folk-tales at national festivals. because they lack proficiency in Patwa. It is associated with illiteracy and. Apres Bondie C'est La Ter 'After God is the Land'. for most people English is the only language spoken in Dominica. it could well be the long-term effect of this policy. Along with the efforts to promote local culture via Patwa. . It sometimes occurs even where there is an existing Patwa word to express the relevant . broadcasts.concept. Programmes on serious
subjects which are designed to make exclusive use ofPatwa face the problem of having to deal with concepts for which Patwa does not have a word. Housing and Social Affairs (Louisy & Turmel-Jo~ 1983). described by its autho. which may be heard on Saturday evenings. Considerable progress regarding the use of an orthography has been made in recent years. find it impossible to comply fully. the perceived need to communicate practical information to those Dominicans who have little or no facility with English led to the introduction of two one-hour radio programmes in Patwa. interviews and songs. especially the younger ones in the towns. aired on weekday afternoons.rs as "A basic guide to Dominican Creole". This introduces an orthography which was agreed on in 1982 and IS generally used in publications in Patwa.
the use ofPatwa in circumstances where it appears to distance the speaker from hislher hearers can also be observed. 1983. R. This happens. 1985. when a clerk in a store in Roseau addresses a would-be purchaser in Patwa on the assumption that helshe is from the country. Kokoy is very rarely heard outside the home nowadays. but at the same time consider it to be inferior to English. for example. it lacks the strong cultural associations of Patwa which. R. 1985. is a vehicle of folk-lore. The Dominica Story. The Caribs of Dominica: Prospects for structural assimilation of a territorial minority. St Lucia: Research St Lucia Publications. D. and Le Page. Castnes. Louisy. 200-221. Taylor. and Tabourer-Keller. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the speakers involved are relatively few in number and they are confined to a relatively restricted geographical area. for example. however. Le Page. the vernacular is obviously preferred for informal interchanges with relatives and close friends by many of those whose level of proficiency affords them a choice. [1967. Gumperz. For a similar reason. Roseau: The Dominica Institute. A Handbookfor Writing Creole. has profited from a feeling of nostalgia about the French connection. politicians have come to realize the advantage of using Patwa in their public speeches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1977. In this case. Ethnic Groups.
Honychurch. The use ofPatwa with relatives and friends by such persons and others is a way of expressing solidarity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins. A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Discourse Strategies. L. and Tunnel-John. however.72
Dominica: a sociolinguistic profile
Regardless of the opinions about Patwa and its speakers that might be expressed. The ambivalent attitude also affects Kokoy. Languages of the West Indies. apart from being the vernacular of the majority. too. 1984. At the same time. Village ties remain strong even for those Dominicans who have achieved success in town. Acts of Identity.~. P.] Dictionary of Jamaican English. A. 1982. F.
. Although it. Layng. 1980.
Cassidy. those who use Kokoy prefer it for making jokes and for arguing with friends. As is the case with Patwa speakers.