The local, the global, and the authentic: Language change and the construction of authenticity in Bequia

Agata Daleszynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines processes of authentication in Paget Farm, one of the communities in creole-speaking Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines). The study is based on sociolinguistic interviews with two generations of Bequia speakers, adolescents and their grandparents, recorded in the course of semi-ethnographic fieldwork. Several variants of past temporal reference were analysed: bare verbs (I go yesterday) vs. inflected verbs (I went yesterday), and preverbal been (I been go yesterday) - a stigmatised, "old-fashioned", basilectal form (Patrick 1999). This paper not only shows that authenticity, rather than being a constant quality of a speech community, is linguistically and socially constructed, but also considers speakers' motivations behind this process. Crucial to authentication are the social meanings of linguistic variables, local ideologies, as well as the larger socio-economic context. Moreover, I demonstrate that creole speaking communities, where the relationship between the global and the local is particularly strong, provide an especially fruitful area for research on authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
JournalZeitschrift fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik: A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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