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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

CiteScore 2018: 1.10

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.062
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.933

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Volume 2013, Issue 221


Language maintenance and language loss in marginalized communities: the case of the bateyes in the Dominican Republic

Silke Jansen
Published Online: 2013-05-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0024


The so called bateyes, former company towns for sugar workers in the Dominican Republic, are today marginalized communities with a high concentration of Dominicans of Haitian descent and illegal immigrants from Haiti. In this article, a first approach is made to describe the language contact situation in the Dominican bateyes, focusing on the linguistic behavior of young female informants of the second migrant generation. It becomes clear that in spite of generally positive attitudes toward Haitian Creole, the bateyanos born in the Dominican Republic tend to give up Creole and shift to Spanish within a few generations. Their variety of Creole is heavily influenced by Spanish, showing numerous instances of interference and other phenomena that may be related to language attrition. It is true that Haitian Creole is still widely spoken in the bateyes, but mainly due to the constant influx of new immigrants, not to intergenerational transmission. With reference to the modeling of language contact, our case study supports the often-stated hypothesis that prestige is a powerful factor in language competition, especially when it combines with the stigmatization of the immigrant language. At the same time, it indicates that modeling attempts should more explicitly take into account a number of variables potentially important in migration contexts, e.g., population fluctuation and cross-ethnic networks.

Keywords: Dominican Republic; Haitian Creole; language shift; code-switching; migration context

About the article

University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Published Online: 2013-05-16

Published in Print: 2013-05-22

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2013, Issue 221, Pages 77–100, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0024.

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