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. Much of my work centers on pragmatic markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik, an understudied French lexifier and English-influenced Creole spoken by members of my family, in comparison with their colonial source language counterparts in English and French. Two of these studies have recently been published Open Access: "Metalinguistic Knowledge of Pragmatic Markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik and English" in Journal of Pragmatics and "Pragmatic Markers in Kwéyòl Donmnik, French, & English: Language Contact & Creole Emergence through the Lens of Powerful Little Words" in Études créoles (Creole 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 and variation at the discourse-pragmatic level.

The Linguistic and Professional Choices of Black Faculty in Higher Ed

Through the development of the coauthored book, Talking Faculty: The Linguistic and Professional Choices of Black Faculty in US Higher Education, I'm working alongside Kendra Calhoun, Aris Clemons, Anne Charity Hudley, and Kahdeidra Martin to create a resource that combines the linguistic experiences of Black faculty in linguistics and the language sciences with critical information that Black faculty across SBE (Social, Behavioral, and Economic) fields can draw upon as they navigate a career in higher educattion. This project is funded through the National Science Foundation's Build and Broaden 2.0 (B2) Program, and my work has also been suppored by USC's Excel Grant Program. We're using mixed methods to examine how linguistic, ideological, and identity-related factors shape Black faculty members' lives. Several B2 team members also came together to develop our chapter "Solidarity and Collectivity in Decolonizing ‘Theoretical’ and ‘Applied’ Linguistics: A Black Diasporic Perspective" in Anne Charity Hudley, Christine Mallinson, and Mary Bucholtz's Oxford volume Decolonizing Linguistics (2024).

How We Teach about Creole Languages

I am excited to be leading Marlyse Baptista's Cognition, Convergence, and Language Emergence Lab's (CCLE) in crafting the third of a trilogy of manuscripts. Each of the manuscripts examines different facets of a multi-stage project centered on Creole languages and linguistics pedagogy...

The first, co-led by myself and by Ariana Bancu, is the chapter "Revitalizing Attitudes toward Creole Languages" in the Oxford volume Decolonizing Linguistics (2024). In it, we provide an overview of our project, in which we used interviews with speakers of three Creoles languages and a survey for linguists to take a preliminary look at both groups' language naming and labeling practices, as well as at whether linguists thought Creoles should be part of a general linguistics education.

Next, in "The MULTI Project: Resources for enhancing multi-faceted Creole language expertise in the linguistics classroom", led by Danielle Burgess and soon to be published in American Speech, we describe how we created The MULTI Project, an online bank of teaching resources that center mis-/underrepresented languages. 

Now, in "How We Teach about Creole Languages", we are taking a deep dive into the analysis of our interview and survey data to address two research questions:

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 looking ahead to 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.).

The Noun Phrase in Kwéyòl Donmnik & Other Creoles

In earlier work, I examined the Kwéyòl noun phrase, 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, "Noun Phrases in Kwéyòl Donmnik", was recently accepted for publication in Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Also accepted for publication is my chapter "The Noun Phrase", contributed to Stephanie Hackert's The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Englishes. This chapter provides a much-needed comprehensive overview of noun phrases in Englishes and English-lexifier Creoles across the Caribbean.

Environmental Activism and Minoritized Languages on Social Media

Im 2021, 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 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 Emerita 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 our 2020 peer-reviewed conference paper "Le marqueur discursif bon : ses fonctions et sa position dans le français parlé" ‘The discourse marker bon: its functions and position in Spoken French’.