Caribbean Englishes

Caribbean creoles in the diaspora

I am studying the use of Caribbean creoles in North America. Studies carried out in Great Britain by David Sutcliffe, Mark Sebba and others showed that the diaspora is a fascinating site to explore the changes in form and function of creole languages as compared to their domestic settings. When Caribbean speakers of an English-based creole move to another country, their children often grow up only speaking the local variety of English, but not their parents' creole. In adolescence, however, processes of second-dialect acquisition are frequent in which creoles are added to the linguistic repertoires of these members of the 'second generation.' My study explores this process of second-dialect acquisition and its outcome in an ethnographically based, quantitative study of variation between local and Caribbean language resources.

In February 2022, I gave an invited lecture for the Linguistics section and the Quality Assurance Unit of the University of the West Indies Mona (Jamaica). Its title was "Why We Need Diaspora Sociolinguistics." More information, including lecture slides, is available here.

For the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Amelia Tseng and I organized a workshop entitled "Diasporic Language, Mobility and Diversity: The Importance of Social Context in Understanding Contact and its Outcomes." Details about the session are available here. A special issue has grown from the topic and was published as issue 25:5 (November 2021) of Journal of Sociolinguistics.

Hinrichs, Lars. 2014. Diasporic mixing of World Englishes: The case of Jamaican Creole in Toronto. In E. Green & C. Meyer (eds.), The variability of current World Englishes (Topics in English Linguistics 87.1), 169–194. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Hinrichs, Lars. 2011. The Sociolinguistics of Diaspora: Language in the Jamaican Canadian Community. Keynote address, Symposium about Language and Society - Austin (SALSA XIX), 15-17 April, 2011. (paper in proceedings, clip 1, clip 2)

Hinrichs, Lars. 2010. "Retention" of Jamaican phonetic features among Caribbean Canadians in Toronto. Paper given at the Symposium on Dialect and Social Change in Urban Diasporic Communities. Queen Mary, University of London, 02 July, 2010.

Variation in the Caribbean

Together with Joseph T. Farquharson, a creolist at the University of the West Indies Mona, I organized a workshop on language variation in the Caribbean at the 2006 Sociolinguistics Symposium in Limerick, Ireland. This workshop updated a conversation that has been held at the crossing between an intellectual, methodological paradigm within linguistics and this specific geographic location since the very early days of modern creole linguistics, beginning with the 1968 conference in Mona, Jamaica, from which Dell Hymes's volume Pidginization and Creolization of Languages (1971) emerged. Our workshop drew enough interest for a printed collection of papers to grow out of it. It is available from Benjamins (2011).

Hinrichs, Lars and Joseph T. Farquharson. 2011. Introduction. In L. Hinrichs and J.T. Farquharson (eds.), Variation in the Caribbean: From Creole Continua to Individual Agency, 1-9. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (Creole Language Library 37).

(.pdf, TOC + introduction; flyer)