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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

The English of current Caribbean newspapers

American, British, in between or neither?

Dagmar Deuber and Eva Canan Hänsel

Abstract

The present paper analyses newspaper corpora from Jamaica and three small island nations in the Caribbean, namely St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, with the aim of shedding more light on the issue of American influence in written Standard English in the Caribbean. Spelling, lexis and selected grammatical features are analysed. This is complemented by investigating the perspectives of newspaper staff and readers. The results for spelling are mixed and can be interpreted to show that language use in the small Caribbean countries tends to be more susceptible to American influence. Concerning lexis, the findings are limited but suggest that several lexical items associated with American English are well established across the different Caribbean countries. In terms of grammatical forms and constructions, all the Caribbean corpora are characterised by a distinctive tendency towards formal variants. Finally, the study suggests that next to exonormative influences, endonormative attitudes need to be considered when assessing the current state of written Standard English in the Caribbean.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston