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Political, religious, and economic factors affecting language choice in St. Lucia

Introduction In St. Lucia there are two languages spoken widely: English and a French Creole. While English is the official language, Creole could be considered the national language. Although St. Lucian French Creole has no official status or even recognition by the St. Lucian government, it can be considered the language of the people. Nothing else identifies a person as being St. Lucian as clearly as the ability to speak St. Lucian French Creole. Whereas the more common pattern among the Caribbean islands is for an English Creole to coexist with one or more dialects of English, as in Jamaica and Trinidad, or for a French Creole to coexist with French, as in Martinique and Guadeloupe, the situation in St. Lucia as well as in Dominica differs in that the Creole language derives most of its vocabulary from a source other than the official language.2 French is essentially a foreign language in St. Lucia, spoken and understood by few. So although there are varieties of both French Creole and English spoken in St. Lucia, and the two languages do influence each other, there is not the same sort of Creole continuum that might be found elsewhere, and the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of the Sociology of Language de Gruyter
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