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Picture of The Trinidad Dougla

The Trinidad Dougla

Identity, Ethnicity and Lexical Choice

Author(s): Ferne Louanne Regis

Book Description

In their search for personal identity, Trinidad’s Douglas, the offspring of Indo-African unions, find themselves in a complex social, cultural and linguistic situation. This is reflected as much in their unclear and uncertain social positioning in a society of competing ethnic groups as in the linguistic possibilities open to them in their quotidian social interactions as they negotiate between their parent communities.

Trinidadian English Creole (TEC), the mother tongue or lingua franca of the majority of the population, exhibits a lexical amalgam of donor varieties brought to the island during the period of its colonization. The extent to which Trinidadians employ these lexical items is linked to their affinity to a particular donor group. As a consequence of this, Dougla ethnicity and identity are hypothesized as being expressed chiefly through the use of lexical items available to them via their upbringing in specific communities.

This book describes and analyses specific lexical items in use by Douglas, who reside in mixed-race communities, as well as communities stereotypically marked Indic and Afric by Trinidadians, to determine the extent to which Douglas project a distinct identity, a subsumed identity linked to an ancestral ethnic group or a shifting identity based on accommodative strategies employed during interaction within their social networks.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9079-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9079-0
Date of Publication: 01/07/2016
Pages / Size: 245 / A5
Price: £47.99


Ferne Louanne Regis is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the UWI School of Business and Applied Studies (ROYTEC). She holds a PhD in Linguistics from UWI, St Augustine. Her primary work focuses on the biracial minority group of Douglas in Trinidad and their expressions of ethnic identity via language, but her interests extend to other Caribbean areas and groups where language and ethnicity are at play. She has published a number of articles and book chapters on Trinidad’s Douglas.