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‘Global’ and ‘local’ identities in the discourses of British born Caribbeans

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Bilingualism
Issue number1
Volume6
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)75-89
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

British Caribbeans manifest both a ''global'' and a ''local'' identity through complex language behavior including codeswitching. It is the Creole which most connects ''globally'' - to other speakers of Creole, to the British youth culture which now accepts Creole/patois as an element, and to the world-wide Black music culture. Meanwhile ''English'' for black speakers is more likely to mean a local variety of English, for example, London, Birmingham, or Manchester, which identifies the speaker as a member of the local community. In this paper we start from the viewpoint that ''identities'' are texts of social practice based on the identifications made in interactions between individuals (in this case, conversations). Looking both at the content of discourse (what is said) and the medium used (the language or language variety used in an utterance) we attempt to illustrate how global diasporic discourses of identity are reproduced at the local level. We argue that the ''global'' and ''local'' identities of British Caribbeans manifest and reproduce themselves through everyday discourse, and are constructed through identifications in which the choice of language and the choice of words interact and are both significant.