Language maintenance in the Caribbean
Examining perceptions of threat in Aruba and Puerto Rico
This paper uses a case study approach to understand how perceptions of language threat have worked to maintain local language practices on the islands of Aruba and Puerto Rico. Through document analysis, interviews with key players in language policy and planning efforts as well as participant observation, this paper explains the historical build-up of the perception that Papiamento and Spanish, respectively, are in some way threatened. In addition to documenting the language maintenance efforts, the author argues that differing colonization practices impacted islanders’ orientation toward language, such that in Aruba a language-as-a-resource orientation has resulted in societal multilingualism whereas a language-as-a-problem orientation has resulted in monolingualism on the island of Puerto Rico.
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