About the Society for Caribbean Linguistics (SCL)

History and Goals


The Society for Caribbean Linguistics (SCL) is a scholarly linguistics society dedicated to the study of language in the Caribbean, and to the dissemination of both the theoretical and applied research of its members. The Society had its beginnings in the 1968 Creole Linguistics Conference at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies in Jamaica, and was formally established in July 1972 at the St. Augustine campus of The U.W.I. in Trinidad & Tobago.

The Society was founded with the goals of promoting the study of language with special reference to the Caribbean, and of involving interested persons from all parts of the world. The late Frederic Gomes Cassidy was elected the first SCL president, and the first official SCL Conference was held in 1976 at the University of Guyana. The research, interests and publications of SCL members have always addressed both theoretical and applied linguistics, with increasing attention being given to the role and development of language in Caribbean education.

The research concerns of SCL members include Caribbean languages of all origins and eras, including Amerindian languages from the pre-Columbian era, and languages of the colonial era including European, African, and Asian, and above all, Caribbean Creole languages, of which SCL members have been pioneers in their recognition and study. The SCL focuses on the languages and language situations of the territories of both the insular and continental Caribbean. These include, for example:

The Islands: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, and the SSS islands), Puerto Rico, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.The Coastlands: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname, USA, and Venezuela, and other territories with historical and current Caribbean connections. [Visit our Caribbean Country Profiles page]

Language communities studied also include populations of Caribbean origin around the world.

Did you Know
Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is one the most common vernacular in Dominica. It is highly mutually intelligible with its much more widely spoken immediate neighbor, Antillean Creole, of which it might be considered a distinct variety. View more Caribbean country profiles.
Did you Know
There are at least 59 living languages spoken in the Caribbean today, including 4 endangered or nearly extinct languages. Visit our FAQS page to find out what they are.

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