Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Multilingual play: Children's code-switching, role play, and agency in Dominica, West Indies

  • AMY L. PAUGH (a1)
Abstract

In Dominica, rural adults forbid children from speaking Patwa (a French-lexicon creole) in favor of acquiring English (the official language), contributing to a rapid language shift in most villages. However, adults value Patwa for a range of expressive functions and frequently code-switch around and to children. Children increasingly use English but employ Patwa for some functions during peer play when away from adults. This study examines how, despite possible sanctions, children use Patwa to enact particular adult roles during peer play, and what this signifies about their knowledge of role- and place-appropriate language use. Critically, they draw on their verbal resources and physically embodied social action to create imaginary play spaces both organized by and appropriate for Patwa. The examination of children's social worlds provides a more nuanced picture of language shift – and potential maintenance – than observing only adult-adult or adult-child interaction.An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2002 AAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans in a session organized by Marjorie Goodwin and Lourdes de León, “Children socializing children through language: New perspectives on agency, play, and identities.” I thank them for organizing this exciting and timely panel, and for their comments on my paper. I also thank Bambi Schieffelin, Ana Celia Zentella, Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, Carolina Izquierdo, Jane Hill, and two anonymous reviewers for Language in Society for their insightful comments. I am grateful to several organizations which funded the research: the U.S. Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. My deepest thanks go to the Dominican children and their families who generously opened their lives to me. I alone take responsibility for any shortcomings here.

Copyright
References
Hide All

REFERENCES

Ahearn, Laura M. (2001). Language and agency. Annual Review of Anthropology 30:10937.
Allsopp, Richard (1996) (ed.). Dictionary of Caribbean English usage. New York: Oxford University Press.
Amastae, Jon (1979a). Dominican Creole phonology, I and II. Georgetown University Papers on Languages and Linguistics 15 (Spring):83122 and 16 (Fall):132.
Amastae, Jon (1979b). Dominican English Creole phonology: An initial sketch. Anthropological Linguistics 21:182204.
Amastae, Jon (1983). Agentless constructions in Dominican Creole. Lingua 59:4775.
Andersen, Elaine S. (1990). Speaking with style: The sociolinguistic skills of children. New York: Routledge.
Andersen, Elaine S. (1996). A cross-cultural study of children's register knowledge. In Dan Isaac Slobin et al. (eds.), Social interaction, social context, and language: Essays in honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp, 12542. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Aronsson, Karin, & Thorell, Mia (1999). Family politics in children's play directives. Journal of Pragmatics 31:2548.
Auer, J. C. Peter (1984). Bilingual conversation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Auer, J. C. Peter (1998). Bilingual conversation revisited. In Peter Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity. 124. New York: Routledge.
Bretherton, Inge (1984). Representing the social world in symbolic play: Reality and fantasy. In Inge Bretherton (ed.), Symbolic play: The development of social understanding, 341. Orlando: Academic Press.
Carrington, Lawrence D. (1969). Deviations from standard English in the speech of primary school children in St. Lucia and Dominica: A preliminary survey, part I and II. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 7:165–84, 259–81.
Cassidy, F. G., & LePage, R. B., eds. (1967). Dictionary of Jamaican English. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Christie, Pauline G. (1982). Language maintenance and language shift in Dominica. Caribbean Quarterly 28(4):4151.
Christie, Pauline G. (1983). In search of the boundaries of Caribbean Creoles. In Lawrence D. Carrington (ed.), Studies in Caribbean language, 1322. St. Augustine: Society for Caribbean Linguistics.
Christie, Pauline G. (1990). Language as expression of identity in Dominica. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 85:6169.
Christie, Pauline G. (1994). Language preference in two communities in Dominica, West Indies. La Linguistique 30:716.
Corsaro, William (1985). Friendship and peer culture in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Corsaro, William (1997). The sociology of childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.
Cromdal, Jakob (2004). Building bilingual oppositions: Notes on code-switching in children's disputes. Language in Society 33:3358.
Cromdal, Jakob, & Aronsson, Karin (2000). Footing in bilingual play. Journal of Sociolinguistics 4:43557.
de León, Lourdes (2002). Soldiers and curers: Mayan children's play in contemporary Chiapas. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New Orleans, November 22.
Duranti, Alessandro (2004). Agency in language. In Alessandro Duranti (ed.), A companion to linguistic anthropology, 45173. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Fader, Ayala (2000). Gender, morality and language: Socialization practices in a Hasidic community. Dissertation, New York University.
Fader, Ayala (2001). Literacy, bilingualism and gender in a Hasidic community. Linguistics and Education 12:26183.
Fontaine, Marcel, & Roberts, Peter A. (1992). Dominica's English-Creole dictionary. Cave Hill, Barbados: Learning Resource Center, University of the West Indies.
Garrett, Paul B. (1999). Language socialization, convergence, and shift in St. Lucia, West Indies. Dissertation, New York University.
Garrett, Paul B. (2000). “High” Kwéyòl: The emergence of a formal creole register in St. Lucia. In John McWhorter (ed.), Language change and language contact in pidgins and creoles, 63101. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Garrett, Paul B. (2003). An “English Creole” that isn't: On the sociohistorical origins and linguistic classification of the vernacular English of St. Lucia. In Michael Aceto & Jeffrey P. Williams (eds.), Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean, 155210. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Garrett, Paul B., & Baquedano-López, Patricia (2002). Language socialization: Reproduction and continuity, transformation and change. Annual Review of Anthropology 31:33961.
Goffman, Erving (1981). Footing. In his Forms of Talk, 12459. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Goldman, L. R. (1998). Child's play: Myth, mimesis and make-believe. New York: Berg.
Göncü, Artin; Tuermer, Ute; Jain, Jyoti; & Johnson, Danielle (1999). Children's play as cultural activity. In Artin Göncü (ed.), Children's engagement in the world, 14872. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goodwin, Charles, & Duranti, Alessandro (1992). Rethinking context: Introduction. In Charles Goodwin & Alessandro Duranti (eds.), Rethinking context: Language as an interactive phenomenon, 142. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Goodwin, Marjorie Harness (1990). He-said-she-said: Talk as social organization among Black children. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Goodwin, Marjorie Harness (1993). Accomplishing social organization in girls' play: Patterns of competition and cooperation in an African American working-class girls' group. In Susan Tower Hollis et al. (eds.), Feminist theory and the study of folklore, 14963. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Goodwin, Marjorie Harness (2002). Constructing “distinction” and marginality during play in an American multi-ethnic girls' peer group. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New Orleans, November 22.
Goodz, Naomi (1989). Parental language mixing in bilingual families. Infant Mental Health Journal 10:2544.
Guldal, Tale M. (1997). Three children, two languages: The role of code-selection in organizing conversation. Dissertation, Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim.
Gumperz, John J. (1982). Discourse strategies. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Halmari, Helena, & Smith, Wendy (1994). Code-switching and register shift: Evidence from Finnish-English child bilingual conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 21:42745.
Hewitt, Roger (1986). White talk Black talk: Inter-racial friendship and communication amongst adolescents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hirschfeld, Lawrence A. (2002). Why don't anthropologists like children? American Anthropologist 104:61127.
Holm, John (1989). Pidgins and creoles: Reference survey, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Howard, Kathryn (2003). Language socialization in a Northern Thai bilingual community. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
Hoyle, Susan M. (1998). Register and footing in role play. In Susan M. Hoyle & Carolyn Temple Adger (eds.), Kids talk: Strategic language use in later childhood, 4767. New York: Oxford University Press.
Irvine, Judith T., & Gal, Susan (2000). Language ideology and linguistic differentiation. In Kroskrity, 3583.
Jørgensen, J. N. (1998). Children's acquisition of code-switching for power wielding. In Peter Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity, 23758. New York: Routledge.
Kroskrity, Paul V. (2000) (ed.). Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities, and identities. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series.
Kulick, Don (1992). Language shift and cultural reproduction: Socialization, self, and syncretism in a Papua New Guinean village. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kulick, Don, & Schieffelin, Bambi B. (2004). Language socialization. In Alessandro Duranti (ed.), A companion to linguistic anthropology, 34968. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Kwan-Terry, Anna (1992). Code-switching and code-mixing: The case of a child learning English and Chinese simultaneously. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 13:24359.
Kyratzis, Amy (2000). Tactical uses of narratives in nursery school same-sex friendship groups. Discourse Processes 29:26999.
Kyratzis, Amy; Marx, T.; & Wade, Evelyn Reder (2001). Preschoolers' communicative competence: Register shift in the marking of power in different contexts of friendship group talk. In H. Marcos (ed.), Special issue, “Early Pragmatic Development,” First Language 21:387431.
Kyratzis, Amy, & Wade, Evelyn Reder (2002). American and Austrian preschool girls' play practices for enacting power in friendships. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New Orleans, November 22.
Lanza, Elizabeth (1997). Language mixing in infant bilingualism: A sociolinguistic perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lave, Jean, & Wenger, Etienne (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ochs, Elinor (1988). Culture and language development: Language acquisition and language socialization in a Samoan village. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ochs, Elinor (1996). Linguistic resources for socializing humanity. In John J. Gumperz & Stephen C. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking linguistic relativity, 40737. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ochs, Elinor (2001). Socialization. In Alessandro Duranti (ed.), Key terms in language and culture, 22730. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Ochs, Elinor, & Schieffelin, Bambi B. (1984). Language acquisition and socialization: Three developmental stories and their implications. In Richard A. Shweder & Robert A. LeVine (eds.), Culture theory: Essays on mind, self, and emotion, 276320. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Paugh, Amy L. (2001). “Creole Day is every day”: Language socialization, shift, and ideologies in Dominica, West Indies. Dissertation, New York University.
Paugh, Amy L. (in press). Acting adult: Language socialization, shift, and ideologies in Dominica, West Indies. In Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Piaget, Jean (1962). Play, dreams and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton.
Rampton, Ben (1995). Crossing: Language and ethnicity among adolescents. London: Longman.
Rampton, Ben (1998). Language crossing and the redefinition of reality. In Peter Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity, 290317. New York: Routledge.
Reynolds, Jennifer F. (2002). Maya children's practices of the imagination: (Dis)playing childhood and politics in Guatemala. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
Rickford, John A., & Rickford, Angela E. (1979). Cut-eye and suck-teeth: African words and gestures in New World guise. In Jan Harold Brunvand (ed.), Readings in American folklore, 35573. New York: W. W. Norton.
Riley, Kathleen C. (2001). The emergence of dialogic identities: Transforming heteroglossia in the Marquesas, F. P. Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center.
Rindstedt, Camilla, & Aronsson, Karin (2002). Growing up monolingual in a bilingual community: The Quichua revitalization paradox. Language in Society 31:72142.
Sacks, Harvey (1984). On doing “being ordinary.” In J. Maxwell Atkinson & John Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis, 41329. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schieffelin, Bambi B. (1990). The give and take of everyday life: Language socialization of Kaluli children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schieffelin, Bambi B. (1994). Codeswitching and language socialization: Some probable relationships. In Judith Felson Duchan et al. (eds.), Pragmatics: From theory to practice, 2042. New York: Prentice Hall.
Schieffelin, Bambi B. (2003). Language and place in children's worlds. Proceedings of SALSA X. Texas Linguistic Forum 45:15266.
Schieffelin, Bambi B., & Ochs, Elinor (1986a). Language socialization. Annual Review of Anthropology 15:16391.
Schieffelin, Bambi B., & Ochs, Elinor (1986b) (eds.). Language socialization across cultures. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Schieffelin, Bambi B.; Woolard, Kathryn A.; & Kroskrity, Paul V. (1998) (eds.). Language ideologies: Practice and theory. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schwartzman, Helen B. (1976). The anthropological study of children's play. Annual Review of Anthropology 5:289328.
Schwartzman, Helen B. (1978). Transformations: The anthropology of children's play. New York: Plenum.
Schwartzman, Helen B. (1983). Child-structured play. In Frank Manning (ed.), The world of play: Proceedings of the 7th Annual Meeting of the Association of the Anthropological Study of Play, 20014. New York: Berg.
Stuart, Stephanie (1993). Dominican Patwa – Mother tongue or cultural relic? International Journal of the Sociology of Language 102:5772.
Taylor, Douglas (1977). Languages of the West Indies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Thorne, Barrie (1993). Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1966). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Soviet Psychology 5:618.
Woolard, Kathryn A. (1995). Gendered peer groups and the bilingual repertoire in Catalonia. SALSA 2:20020.
Woolard, Kathryn A., & Schieffelin, Bambi B. (1994). Language ideology. Annual Review of Anthropology 23:5582.
Wylie, Jonathan (1995). The origins of Lesser Antillean French Creole: Some literary and lexical evidence. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 10:77126.
Zentella, Ana Celia (1997). Growing up bilingual: Puerto Rican children in New York City. Oxford: Blackwell.
Zentella, Ana Celia (1998). Multiple codes, multiple identities: Puerto Rican children in New York City. In Susan M. Hoyle & Carolyn Temple Adger (eds.), Kid's talk: Strategic language use in later childhood, 95112. New York: Oxford University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed