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Open Access Indic Lexicon in the English/Creole of Trinidad

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Indic Lexicon in the English/Creole of Trinidad

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

Examines the contemporary lexical component of the English/Creole of Trinidad (TEC) that is derived from languages of India. Author focuses on the TEC as spoken among Indo-Trinidadians, but also pays attention to Indic words used in the TEC of Afro-Trinidadians and other groups. Author sketches the history of Indian immigration into Trinidad, explaining how most came from the Bihar province in northern India and spoke Bhojpuri, rather than (closely related) Hindi, and how in the 20th c. Indian languages were replaced by English with education. She further focuses on retained Indic words incorporated in current-day TEC, and found 1844 of such words in usage. She discusses words misassigned locally as Indian-derived, but actually from other (European or African) languages. Then, she describes most of the Indo-TEC lexicon, categorizing items by their semantic-cultural domain, with major domains for Indian-derived words: religious practice, music, dance and stickfighting, food preparation, agriculture, kinship, and behaviour or appearance. Further, the author discusses to what degree Indic words have been mainstreamed within the non-Indian population of Trinidad, sometimes via standard English, sometimes directly assimilated into TEC, and made salient through the press or street food selling.

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