The Caribbean Language Situation

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Topic: The Caribbean language situation.

The Caribbean language situation is rather multifaceted thus there is a lot of controversy surrounding it. This topic in the course is an interesting one because it has enriched my understanding of what the language situation is in Jamaica and other neighbouring islands as well as its impact on education. According to Kathryn Shields (1989), two ways in which Standard English in Jamaica is defined are through the traditional metropolitan norms and the educated Jamaicans. She identifies that the discrepancies found in defining Standard English in Jamaica often times go undocumented. However, this should not be as teachers would want to use it as they hope to monitor the factors to which their students are exposed by paralleling the discrepancy model with the acceptable model. As a result of this, I do agree with the idea of teachers using Creole to teach students different aspects of the target language. This is because many students in Jamaica enter the classroom speaking Creole or a mixture of Creole and English. Often times this reflects the social background of the students as a result the teacher becomes a facilitator and accommodate these language varieties, thus, introducing Standard English which seems foreign to them may make them feel uncomfortable. Therefore, it would be wise to immerse them into the target language by taking them from the known to the unknown. Shields uses the educated Jamaicans as she identifies features that comprise the de facto model of English for the learner in Jamaica, subsequently presenting evidence of a new form of English in Jamaica. Additionally, she compares the pre-independence and post-independence eras of Jamaican language history. In the pre-independence era she regards the language as ‘mish mash’ and the language was referred to by the blanket term Jamaican English, which hides the difference between standard and non-standard as well as Creole, thus, making the...
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