Pragmatic Markers

in Kwéyòl Donmnik

Pragmatic markers help us navigate discourse and express our attitudes and cognitive states. Although Creoles contain an abundance of these highly multifunctional items, there is little work focusing on their usage in contact and minority languages. In my dissertation, I conducted an investigation of pragmatic markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik, an understudied French-lexifier and English-influenced Creole spoken by members of my family, in comparison with their French and English counterparts. I am now developing this work into three manuscripts for journal publication and preparing to build upon it by conducting further studies. This dimension of my research program merges pragmatics with creolistics, and my goal is to both expand our knowledge of multifunctional items cross-linguistically and deepen our understanding of language contact at the pragmatic level.

Talking Faculty : The Linguistic and Professional Choices of Black Faculty in Higher Education

Through the development of this coauthored book, I am working alongside Kendra Calhoun, Aris Clemons, Anne Charity Hudley, and Christine Mallinson to create a resource that combines the linguistic experiences of Black faculty in linguistics and the language sciences with much-needed information that Black faculty across SBE (Social, Behavioral, and Economic) fields can draw upon as they navigate a career in higher education. This project is funded through the NSF Build and Broaden 2.0 Program, and we're using mixed methods to examine how linguistic, ideological, and identity-related factors shape Black faculty members' lives.

Revitalizing Attitudes

towards Creole Languages

Alongside Ariana Bancu, I am excited to be co-leading the U of M Cognition, Convergence, and Language Emergence Research Group's project "Revitalizing Attitudes towards Creole Languages". Through interviews with speakers of Creoles around the world and a survey for linguists, we are taking a critical and community-focused look at how colonial history and language ideology have shaped language naming and labeling practices in Creole-speaking communities, as well as at how linguists approach and teach about Creole languages in the classroom. A book chapter outlining our methods and findings is under review.

Pragmatic Markers as Cultural Artifacts and Expressions of Identity

Inspired by the interview and survey responses I collected while conducting my dissertation research, I am embarking on a new branch of my research program focused on how pragmatic markers are used as expressions of identity and of cultural knowledge, particularly within minoritized communities. Of particular interest to me are instances where pragmatic markers are drawn from minority language varieties and inserted into multi-variety interactions in order to highlight speakers' shared membership in particular minority speech communities (e.g., Creole languages, African American English, etc.).

Past projects...

Environmental Activism and Minoritized Languages on Social Media

I was thrilled to be part of a research team funded by the U of M Humanities Collaboratory Proposal Development Grant and headed by PI Dr. Marlyse Baptista. The project was centered on Environmental Activism and Minoritized Languages on Social Media and examined the online intersections between environmental activism and minoritized languages in three locations: the Cabo Verde Islands, Nigeria, and Japan.

The Kwéyòl Donmnik Noun Phrase

My qualifying research project for Candidacy examined the KD noun phrase from a pragmatic perspective, incorporating corpus-based observations and a co-speech gesture task. The project was based on data contributed by KD speakers residing in London, UK that I collected during fieldwork in 2018 with the help of the Dominica Overseas Nationals Association. My manuscript detailing this research is under review.

The French Pragmatic Marker Bon

My fascination with pragmatic markers began during my MA/BA coursework in Romance Languages at the University of Georgia (UGA). Building on my corpus pragmatics MA thesis comparing the functions of French bon 'well' and Spanish bueno 'well', Dr. Diana Ranson (Professor of French and Spanish at UGA) and I have since carried out a deeper analysis of the textual and attitudinal functions of French bon. This work has been published as a 2020 peer-reviewed conference paper (see my CV for details).