A (Meta)Linguistic Investigation of Pragmatic Markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik


ACLS Fellowship Program


English and Linguistics


This project examines the pragmatic markers of the understudied, endangered language variety Kwéyòl Donmnik (Dominica Creole). Pragmatic markers are words or phrases that organize discourse, express attitudes, and signal social identities. Most Kwéyòl words, including many of the Creole’s pragmatic markers, are French-derived, but Kwéyòl has been in contact with English for over 200 years, and most speakers are English bilinguals. Across three studies, fieldwork, corpus analyses, and interviews with speakers are used to investigate how Kwéyòl’s pragmatic markers developed, how their functions compare with those of their French and English counterparts, and how speakers today use and approach them. This work highlights the linguistic and cultural meaningfulness of pragmatic markers and reaffirms that Creoles are natural, complex, and creative.