Copula Variability in Antiguan Creole

Teresa Galarza Ballester (OP No.37, July 2012)

Abstract: This article examines variation in the use of copula forms in Antiguan Creole (AC). The research is based on sociolinguistic interviews conducted with twelve AC speakers. The analysis reveals the social and linguistic factors governing variation in present affirmative contexts. Variation has been found among full, contracted and zero forms in first person singular, plural/second person singular, and third person singular environments. Overall, AC shows very similar patterns to those found in African American Vernacular English and other creole languages. Social conditioning in copula variability suggests that education, social class and (rural/urban) orientation are the factors playing the most significant role. Finally, this study aims to show that variation across speakers is very detailed, thus suggesting the validity of a continuum in AC.

About the Author: Teresa Galarza received her Bachelor's Degree in English Philology in 2003 at the Universitat de València, Spain. In 2003, she began her postgraduate studies at the Universitat de València and accomplished her Master of Arts in Anglo-Germanic Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, in 2005. In 2006, she began her doctorate studies in Linguistics and began working for the AECID, The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Government Organisation). Then she was sent to Antigua and Barbuda where she carried out extensive fieldwork on Antiguan Creole and worked at Antigua State College and at The University of the West Indies. In 2009, she moved back to Spain to complete her thesis, Antiguan Creole: Genesis and Variation, and received her PhD, in 2011. Presently, she is working as an assistant instructor in the Department of English, Official School of Languages, Generalitat de Catalunya, in Spain. Her primary research interests are linguistics and literature, creole languages, Antiguan Creole, teaching English as a second language, education, and translation studies.

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