• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Poetry
 Essays
 Juxtapositions
 Poetry
 Reviews
 List of contributors
 Back Matter
 Back Cover






Sargasso
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 Material Information
Title: Sargasso
Uniform Title: Sargasso (Río Piedras, San Juan, P.R.)
Added title page title: Sargazo
Sargasse
Abbreviated Title: Sargasso (Río Piedras San Juan P. R.)
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Puerto Rico (Ri´o Piedras Campus) -- Dept. of English
University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras Campus) -- Dept. of English
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Ri´o Piedras P.R
Río Piedras, P.R
Publication Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 1986
Frequency: twice a year[2002-]
two no. a year[ former 1984]
irregular[ former <1987>-2001]
semiannual
regular
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean literature -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Caribbean literature -- History and criticism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Puerto Rican literature -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Puerto Rican literature -- History and criticism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: review   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Puerto Rico
 Notes
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Language: Chiefly English, with some French and Spanish.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1-no. 10 (2000) ; 2001-
Numbering Peculiarities: Volume designation dropped with no. 3; issue for 2001 lacks numbering; issues for 2002- called 2002, 1-
Issuing Body: Edited by the faculty and graduate students of the English Dept., University of Puerto Rico.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Some issues have also distinctive titles.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: 2004-05,2.
General Note: Has occasional special issues.
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Source Institution: University of Puerto Rico
Holding Location: University of Puerto Rico
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 12797847
lccn - 85643628
issn - 1060-5533
alephbibnum - 002422411
System ID: UF00096005:00032

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Introduction
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Poetry
        Page 1
        Page 2
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    Essays
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    Juxtapositions
        Page 133
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    Poetry
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    Reviews
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    List of contributors
        Page 205
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    Back Matter
        Page 208
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text







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SARGASSO
mm 2008-09, I






















SARGASSO
2008-09, I
LINGUISTIC EXPLORATIONS
OF
GENDER & SEXUALITY










SARGASSO 2008-09, I
Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality

Sargasso, a peer-reviewed journal of literature, language, and culture edited at the University of
Puerto Rico, publishes critical essays, interviews, book reviews, and some creative works. Sargasso
particularly welcomes material written by/about the people of the Caribbean region and its
multiple diasporas. Unless otherwise specified, essays and critical studies should conform to the
style of the MLA Handbook. Book reviews should be kept to no more than 1,500 words in length.
Snail mail correspondence should include one S.A.S.E. For electronic submission, write to:
sargasso@uprrp.edu.

Postal Address:

SARGASSO
P.O. Box 22831, UPR Station
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-2831

Don E. Walicek & Susanne Muihleisen, Issue Editors
Lowell Fiet, Founding Editor
Don E. Walicek, Managing Editor
Sally Everson, Contributing Editor
Maria Cristina Rodriguez, Book Review Editor
Carmen Haydee Rivera, Book Reviews
Katherine Miranda, Editorial and Administrative Assistant


Editorial Board
Jessica Adams, Independent Scholar
Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilin, Florida Atlantic University
Peter Roberts, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill
Ivette Romero, Marist College
Felipe Smith, Tulane University

Antonio Garcia Padilla, President of the University of Puerto Rico
Gladys Escalona de Motta, Chancellor, Rio Piedras Campus
Jose L. Ramos Escobar, Dean of Humanities
Layout: Marcos Pastrana
Visit: http://humanidades.uprrp.edu/ingles/pubs/sargasso.htm
Front cover art: Magaly Perez Ohika (painted image),Jesus Rivera Arguinzoni (design)
Back cover art: Public mural, Rio Piedras, PR



Opinions and views expressed in Sargasso are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily
shared by Sargasso editors and Editorial Board members. All rights return to authors. This journal is
indexed by HAPI, Latindex, MLA, and the Periodicals Contents Index. Copies of Sargasso
2008-09, I, as well as previous issues, are on deposit in the Library of Congress. Filed December
2009. ISSN 1060-5533.






Table of Contents






INTRODUCTION
Don E. Walicek and Susanne Miihleisen ix

POETRY
Rosanna Raymond
"Dreaming of Cannibals or A Well Exercised
Consumption in the Name of Science" 3

Mbala
"wud boom!" 5
"dj lovesong" 6

Philip Rademaker
"Mi Lenga Papiamentu" 8
"Mi Lengua Papiamentu" translated by Lucille Berry Haseth 10

ESSAYS
Susanne Mihleisen and Don E. Walicek
Language and Gender in the Caribbean: An Overview 15

Bettina Migge
Language, Ideology, and Women's Identities 31
in the Eastern Maroon Community

Elizabeth Grace Winkler
A Gender-based Analysis of Discourse Markers 53
in Limonese Creole


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




TABLE OF CONTENTS


Peter Snow
Indexing Desire: Men's Talk and the Construction of Sexual 73
Subjectivities in a Panamian Creole Community

Nickesha T. Dawkins
Gender-based Vowel Use in Jamaican Dancehall Lyrics 95

Miriam Meyerhoff
Men Argue, but the Women duz Trace: Gender and Language 115
Variation in Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

JUXTAPOSITIONS
Mervyn Alleyne
Gender Structures and Gender Bias in Caribbean Language 133
and Society

Susanne Miihleisen
Language, Gender, and Sexuality: Different Voices, Different 153
Views (short interviews with Gabrielle Jamela Hosein, Thomas
Glave, Lise Winer, Andr6 Ch6 Sherriah and Lawrence
La Fountain-Stokes)

POETRY
Marcia Reid Chambers 169
"Imtioshan"
"Emotion"

"Bad to Wos" 170
"Bad to Worse"

"Mi and Mi" 170
"Me and Me"

Sharif El Gammal Ortiz 171
"El Morro and the Ka 'bah"

Zhuang Yisa 174
'The Scent of Love"


SARGASSO 2008-09, I




TABLE OF CONTENTS


REVIEWS
Katherine Miranda 177
Molly and the Muslim Stick by David Dabydeen

Margarita Castroman
The Latino/a Canon and the Emergence ofPost-Sixties Literature 179
by Raphael Dalleo and Elena Machado Siez

Eva Villal6n Soler
Bananeras, Women Transforming the Banana Unions ofLatin America 182
by Dana Frank

Rafael Ortiz Sanoguet
Our Caribbean, edited by Thomas Glave 187

Mae Teitelbaum
Daddy Sharpe: A Narrative of the Life andAdventures 192
ofSamuel Sharpe by Fred W. Kennedy

Umberto Ansaldo
The Handbook ofPidgin and Creole Studies, 194
edited by Silvia Kouwenberg and John Single

Elidio La Torre Lagares
Caribbean Blues & Love's Genealogy by Dannabang Kuwabong 201

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS 205


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality









Introduction


S ociolinguistic in focus, this issue of Sargasso is motivated by a series of
lingering questions about scholarly work on language and gender in
the Caribbean. During a 2003 Islands-in-Between conference in Antigua,
Mervyn Alleyne asked why only a relatively small number of publications on
the topic existed. He challenged the audience to consider what the completion
of such research might contribute to the societies in which Creole languages
are spoken today.
Five years later in a class on language and gender taught by one of the
editors, students examined related questions near the end of the semester.
These undergraduates described sociolinguistic approaches to language
and gender as highly relevant to their daily lives and academic interests and
expressed surprise that their assigned texts did not deal with Caribbean
languages or societies. Many explored the question "Why are we omitted?"
in their final projects on language ideologies and popular culture. They
identified ways in which the study of linguistic phenomena in Caribbean
contexts can usefully inform the description of language and gender across
parameters of time and space, suggesting that the diverse societies of the
region have much to offer students and researchers.
The editors of this volume revisited the aforementioned questions at the
2008 meeting of the Society for Caribbean Linguists in Cayenne, French
Guiana. A conversation that took place between us on the interior patio
of the Amazonia Best Western, the conference hotel, led to another set of
issues: How could new work seek to narrow specific gaps in the field? In what
ways might it integrate a perspective that is critical and interdisciplinary with
an optimistic look forward? And finally, what exactly might a publication
dedicated to language and gender in Caribbean contexts include? The result
is this issue of Sargasso, which consists of diverse genres, including poetry,
academic essays, a selection of short interviews, and book reviews.
The various sections of this work explore overlaps and distinctions
between the language-gender interface on the one hand, and biological sex


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality






and gender on the other. As a whole, they suggest that distinctions between
sexuality and gender deserve more attention in the study of Creole languages
and Caribbean societies. This opinion is supported by our review of recent
scholarship on language and gender as well as the selection and editing of
submissions. Thus this issue's original title, "language and gender," was
broadened to include "sexuality." The change allows for reference to the
significance of sexuality as relevant to the scope of our inquiry. This shift
resonates with the reformulation of established practices and paradigms that
have much to contribute to knowledge about Caribbean languages, societies,
and sociolinguistic phenomena in other parts of the world.
The poetry in this volume is presented in two selections and includes
pieces in European as well as Creole languages. The first selection begins
with a poem by Rosanna Raymond. Her work brings to mind the history of
colonialism and its relationship to thought within the science and humanities.
Next, poets Mbala and Philip Rademaker address relationships between
language, gender, and daily life, doing so in the Creole languages Jamaican
and Papiamentu, respectively. This section ends with a Spanish translation of
Rademaker's poem by Tita Lucille Berry-Haseth.
The next section features six essays. The first, by the editors, offers an
overview of previous scholarship on language and gender in the Caribbean.
The remaining authors use a variety of methodologies, including discourse
analysis, ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, and theoretical
linguistics, to better understand an array of linguistic phenomena in
specific locales in three zones (i.e., South America, Central America, and
the Caribbean basin). Their work underscores the region's geographic and
sociocultural diversity, but also identifies patterns across languages and
circumstances. The essays make comparisons between men and women,
expose sociolinguistic links between Creole languages and non-Creoles,
and encourage conversation between creolistics and other fields of inquiry,
including anthropology, history, and cultural studies.
Following the editors' essay come five articles on language and gender in
specific settings. In the first, Bettina Migge describes research among the
Eastern Maroon in French Guiana (Guyane) and Suriname. It documents
differences in men's and women's speech and ways in which these contrasts
limit female participation and contribute to the subordination of women.
The next essay, written by Elizabeth Winkler, is based on ongoing fieldwork
in Costa Rica. It examines the use of discourse markers in Limonese Creole,


SARGASSO 2008-09,1






giving special attention to affirmations, pause fillers, hedges, emphatic mark-
ers, and tag questions.
Next, Peter Snow writes about his research in Bastimentos, a Panama-
nian island in the Western Caribbean Sea. Discussing specific homosocial
practices and "problematic subjectivities," Snow examines men's talk about
sex from a longitudinal perspective that takes into consideration sexuality
and desire. The phonological study that follows, by Nickesha Dawkins, also
discusses sexuality alongside gender. Dawkins describes the use ofmesolec-
tal Jamaican Creole in the musical genre dancehall and addresses how pri-
mary target audience influences linguistic variation in word-final vowels. In
the final essay, Miriam Meyerhoff analyzes sociolinguistic interviews that
were conducted in Bequia between 2003 and 2005. Meyerhoff examines the
rather salient marking of village of origin in the language of speakers, sug-
gesting that biological sex remains pertinent to linguists' theories about the
language-gender interface.
The volume's third section, called Juxtapositions, contextualizes some of
the arguments presented in the preceding essays from a broader perspective
that takes into consideration different points of view. The section begins with
a special column in which Mervyn Alleyne identifies and comments on nu-
merous myths and stereotypes about gendered patterns of communication.
The column includes sections on grammatical gender and language reform
and numerous examples from Creole languages. The section's second contri-
bution, organized and completed by Susanne Mtihleisen, resembles a conver-
sation in which the voices and views of five "interview partners" (Gabrielle
Jamela Hosein, Thomas Glave, Lise Winer, and Andr6 Ch6 Sherriah) are
juxtaposed. The specific issues discussed are pertinent to contemporary dis-
cussions of language, gender, and sexuality within Creole Studies.
In the second selection of poetry, two Caribbean poets, Marcia Reid
Chambers and Sharif El Gammal Ortiz are featured, as well as Zhuang Yisa
of Singapore. The work by Reid Chambers includes three poems that are
written in Lim6nese Creole. These are presented with Standard English
translations. Next is a poem in which Sharif El Gammal Ortiz tells a story
about El Morro, a Spanish fortress in Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico. Zhuang
Yisa's verse, offering comments on language, speaking, and love, brings the
section to a close.
The final section of the volume features seven book reviews. As readers
will note, several of these engage themes relevant to the study of language,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality






gender, and sexuality. The reviews attest to the vibrancy of contemporary
scholarship, both creative and investigative, and confirm the ongoing
importance of the Caribbean as an area of academic interest in the early
twenty-first century.
We close this introduction by recognizing several individuals. This
publication would have been impossible without the help and support of
Lowell Fiet, Maria Cristina Rodriguez, Sally Everson, and the members of
the Sargasso Editorial Board. We also thank Katherine Miranda. She has
played an important role in the daily operations of this journal for more than
a year and directly assisted in the production and editing of this volume.
Thank you to Alicia Pousada for her ongoing support and assistance in further
developing the journal's website. Additional thanks to Sandra Echevarria
for her willingness to enthusiastically tackle the numerous administrative
tasks that must be completed before this journal goes to press. We thank
all of the authors, poets, translators, interview partners, and reviewers who
contributed their time and energy. Finally, we note that this work has been
positively shaped by the insights offered in earlier publications by creolists
and the congeniality and good feelings surrounding meetings like SCL 2008
in Cayenne and SPCL 2009 in San Francisco.

Don E. Walicek and Susanne Miihleisen
Issue Editors


SARGASSO 2008-09, 1
















POETRY







POETRY


Rosanna Raymond






Dreaming of Cannibals or
A Well-Exercised Consumption
in the Name of Science


The French dream of cannibals-the untainted kind
Those aligned with the gods, children of nature,
Innocent in their wanting,
Displaying unsuckled breasts, still firm from youth
Half clothed; yet with the posture of the high born

Decorated with flora and fauna

The English like them with a knife and a fork
Well mannered, resplendent with dignity
Well made, with all the fancy and finery
A keen mind for business
Fluent in gentlemanliness and usually escorted home

Decorated with arms and armoury

The Americans like them, with a deep harbour
Looking like movie stars, handsome and full of savage beauty,
Adorned, apocolypto style, running for their lives,
With a crack of the whip and some special effects
An all singing all dancing yankee doodle dandy

Decorated in stars and stripes


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ROSANNA RAYMOND


Me I like my mine on the dance floor
Drums and bass with a hint old skool reggae,
Some old soul and a bit of boogie down productions
Tusks on show, fully grown, kept sharp,
By all those years of rooting around the forest floor
A warrior... walking tall
Not a soldier boy- fighting someone else's wars

Eat me- maybe you'll need it for survival, use my blood to taint the dawn
Ingest me- in the name of science; let my flesh melt inside you
Excrete me- the very pores of your skin with smell of me

We can consume the night

Decorated in flora and fauna, arms and armoury, stars and stripes

Yes we cannibals are thriving, alive and kicking, 21st century style


SARGASSO 2008-09,1




POETRY


Mbala







wud boom!


mi wud dem
nuh fall too far from mi mout
mi mout parch an desert
so mi mussle up an spit
mussle up an spit dem
but mi wud dem
heavy an jagged
an nuh fall too far from mi
an wen mi bigboomball dem up
fi roll dem dung di hill pan unnu
dem nuh go too far before dem
explode a mi toe
an wen mi shaap'n dem
an spear dem thru di air
dem wobble an boomerang
an lan a mi foot
an now
dem staat blood up mi tung
an mi teet dem crooked
from premature
exploding
wud


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




MBALA


Mbala







dj lovesong

a ooman im love
a jus ooman im love
im nuh bade
wid im babymadda rag
sometime im punish har
wid di staff an di rod
an a ooman im love
a jus ooman im love
if a ooman is a
body jus a body any body
an not somebody
im a di worl's
wickedest lova
di way im drop it
yu tek time out fi
vomit
an im love yu so tuff
yu affi run lefyu slippas
an yu en up inna
hospital
condition critical
cause im nuh pet gal
an a ooman im love
a jus ooman im love
if a man is a
sexmachine killmachine
program-fi-tuff machine
an not somebody


SARGASSO 2008-09,1





POETRY


an im love yu so much
im tempted to touch
an im haffi get yu
haffi get yu haffi get yu
body gal
even at gun point
an a ooman im love
a jus ooman im love
ifwi talk bout sex
inna di language a war
ifwi talk bout love
using words of hate
den a ooman wi love
a jus ooman
wi love


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PHILIP RADEMAKER


Philip Rademaker







Mi Lenga Papiamentu

Mi lenga t'e kabuya largu
ku ta mara bark'i mi spiriru
n'e waf pisd di realidat
i dun'6 t6g basta brasa
p'e balia na su antoho
riba ol'i fantasia.

Mi lenga t'e kantika nobo
ku tur anochi mi ta drumi sofia
pa su mainta mi por lanta kanta
su frasenan di anhelo i di pena,
di rabia hundu i di goso hanchu,
di desepshon i fe.

Mi lenga ta esensia di mi tera.
Mes duru k'e baranka di su kosta,
mes fini k'e spat'i awa ku ta mu'd,
kontentu manera kanto'i su chuchubi
i tristu maner'e solo ku ta baha
laga hende ku stim'6 leu fo'i nan kas.

Mi lenga ta kol6 di flor di anglo
i kayente meskos k'e tera k6rn
den kua lagadishi, nakdo man6' mi lenga,
ta skirbi paskin ku su rabu
pa kaba, kore skonde den trank6 di datu
ku si nan por a papia, l'a reda na mi lenga.


SARGASSO 2008-09,1




POETRY


N'e leng'aki mi mama a 'nami lechi,
i ta n'e leng'aki mes m'a der'6.
T'e mesun leng'aki a siia mi yunan
para riba nan pia, distingui.
E leng'aki a sifiami habri alma.
Tin kos mas riku pa mi laga nan kun6?


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PHILIP RADEMAKER


Translation by Lucille Berry Haseth







Mi Lengua Papiamento


Mi lengua es el largo cordaje
que amarra el barco de mi espiritu
en ese muelle donde pesa la realidad
pero ddndole suficiente brazas para que
pueda pedir de boca para seguir bailando
sobre las olas de la fantasia.

Mi lengua es la nueva canci6n
que noche tras noche acaricia mis suefios
para que al amanecer, inspirado cante
sus frases de anhelo y de pena,
de profunda rabia y de ancho gozo
de decepci6n y de fe.

Mi lengua es la esencia de mi tierra.
Tan dura como sus rocas costefias,
tan fina como las gotas que las salpican
alegre como el canto del chuchube zumb6n
y triste como el sol en ocaso, que
la gente que lo ama deja lejos de su hogar.

Mi lengua es amarilla como la flor del anglo
y es caliente como la roja tierra
donde el lagarto, chismoso como mi lengua,
describe pasquines con su cola, para luego
ocultarse en la tranquera de cactus que
si hablar pudieran, hubieran chismeado en mi lengua.


SARGASSO 2008-09,1




POETRY


En esta lengua mi mama me amamant6,
y en esta mismisima lengua hablamos en su sepelio.
Es esta misma lengua que ensefi6 a mis hijos
a independizarse y a distinguirse.
Esta lengua me ensefi6 a abrir el alma.
Habri mayor riqueza que dejarles de herencia?


(Translation to Spanish from Papiamento)


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ESSAYS



























14 SARGASSO 2008-09,1






Language and Gender in the Caribbean:

An Overview
Susanne Muhleisen, University of Bayreuth
Don E. Walicek, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras


Gender in the Caribbean: History and Research Issues


While Caribbean Creole languages have figured rather prominently
in linguistic research since the landmark Mona Conference in
1968, "gender" has generally been regarded as little more than a biological
attribute roughly equivalent to the possibly extra-linguistic variable "sex of
informants" that is often recorded in sociolinguistic studies. Likewise, in
the more than three decades of the development of the now vibrant field
of language and gender, the Caribbean region has not received substantial
attention. In both cases, there are good explanations for this noticeable
neglect but, as we contend, there are not very compelling reasons for it.
For much of its history, research on language and gender concentrated
on groups that were largely represented as homogeneous in terms of
socioeconomic class, ethnic group, and shared cultural values in general,
these were North American middle-class women. Nevertheless, linguists
who established the field as a legitimate and productive site of inquiry
during the second half of the twentieth century should be commended
for two important accomplishments: they successfully challenged standard
assumptions about how speakers use language in social situations, and they
established an area of sociolinguistic research that effectively combines
academic investigation and the desire for social change.
The Caribbean can probably be described as "off the map" for the
majority of scholars who worked early on in this area of study. An inherently
heterogeneous socio-cultural space, much of the geographical region shares
historical commonalities but it differs widely across linguistic, ethnic, and
racial lines, and may have seemed too complex a setting to focus on questions
of gender directly. Some recent work (e.g., Escure, 2001; Migge, 2001;


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SUSANNE MOHLEISEN / DON E. WALICEK


Sidnell, 2005) on Creole languages has shown, however, that community-
based approaches to language, gender, and gender roles can provide interesting
and compelling insights about the particular without losing sight of more
general, shared characteristics of the Caribbean. As this body of scholarship
demonstrates, speakers and speaker identities articulate gender differentially
both within and across a strikingly heterogeneous set of Caribbean speech
communities and socio-historical circumstances.
A second explanation for the lack of attention to gender in linguistic
studies of Caribbean Creoles concerns the question of power relations -
always an implicit issue in gender studies. Due to the violence of colonization
and the Atlantic Slave Trade, the power relations within the region were
primarily researched in terms of hierarchies between European and African
or Amerindian population groups rather than between men and women.
Thus, in early sociological studies such as Patterson (1967), we find the
assertion that "slavery abolished any real social distribution between males
and females." Mintz and Price (1976, pp. 76-77), on the other hand, while
recognizing that "the ultimate power of the masters over the slaves -not
only over their lives, but also over their sexuality and its exercise- probably
conditioned every aspect of the relationships between men and women,"
suggest that the codes of the masters determined the confines, but not the
content, of the morality of slaves. However, inequality and domination have
not been squarely or thoroughly addressed by specialists who investigate the
socio-historical contexts in which speakers created Creoles. In their analysis
of the post-Emancipation male-female labor division of African American
cultural organization, Mintz and Price find "genuinely new" Caribbean
elements, such as the emergence of the independent market woman and the
notion that a man's masculinity or status is not tied to his wife's dependence
or lack of it. They hold that these phenomena cannot be explained by a
reversion to an African past or by the conditions of plantation work, a
proposal that has been questioned by some creolists.
From the 1990s onwards, work in sociology (e.g., Senior, 1991; Ramirez
et al., 2002; Lewis, 2003, Reddock, 2004), history (e.g., Shepherd, Brereton &
Bailey 1995, Moitt 2001), cultural studies (e.g., Cooper 1995, Barnes 2006),
literature and critical theory (e.g., Shelton 1993, Chancy 1997, Mohammed
2002) and anthropology (e.g., Safa 1995, Yelvington 1995, Freeman 2000,
Kempadoo 2004) turned towards perspectives that consider the configurations
and workings of sex and gender in Caribbean life. In general, these offer


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explanations of the ways in which configurations of gender are grounded
in matrices of social relations and socio-cultural practices. Many approach
gender as the performance of biological sex and investigate intersections
between gender and other sociolinguistically relevant factors, including race,
ethnicity, class, sexuality, and age. Thus, their perspectives problematize the
idea that gender can be accurately conceptualized as simply and/or solely
marking verbal practices.
Also significant for understanding power relations, Caribbean Creoles
were formed in the context of European colonialism. The recognition that
science was instrumental in colonialism illuminates historical connections
among beliefs about language, biological sex, and socioeconomic and racial
hierarchies. At the same time, this acknowledgement allows recognition
of the fuller range of mechanisms through which colonialism operates: the
performance of identities, the persistence of socioeconomic hierarchies,
beliefs about freedom, and the roles of discourse in establishing sustainable
markets, consuming publics, labor forces, and educational institutions. The
investigation of gender can challenge traditional definitions of linguistics as
a science structured around empiricism and objectivity. The discussion of it
as such exposes talk, ideologies, and broader symbolic systems as constitutive
of truths and human experience.
While seminal work on gender and gender hierarchy was completed
in the last decade of the twentieth century, it appears to be less frequently
approached in linguistics than in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology,
and literary studies. In addition, as Mcelhinny and Mills (2006) observe,
when the number of published studies focused on gender is compared with
research in other fields of linguistics it becomes clear that language and
gender is substantially under-represented in sociolinguistic scholarship.
In Creole Studies, works concerned with linguistic expressions of gender,
gendered verbal behavior, and women's roles in language change (e.g. Escure
1991, 2001, Schnepel 1992, 2003, Hellinger 1998, Sidnell 1998, Migge
2001, Neumann-Holzschuh 2006) also began to emerge around the turn
of the twenty-first century. However, the predominance of structural and
historical concerns in creolistics means that grammatical gender remained
a rather marginal issue after all, Creole languages are generally regarded
as "gender-less" regardless of whether the lexifier utilizes it (e.g., Dutch,
French, Portuguese) or not (English). Therefore, structural analyses have
focused only on pronominal person and anaphoric reference -and the


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




SUSANNE MiHLEISEN / DON E.WALICEK


possible absence of gender distinction here- nominal person reference and
kinship terms. An additional explanation for the rather subdued prominence
of gender issues in Caribbean linguistic studies can be attributed to yet
another gap in the field: the area of linguistics in which gendered linguistic
behavior is most abundantly researched, pragmatics, has also been glaringly
neglected in Creole language studies. Thus, with just a few exceptions (e.g.
Shields, 1992; Youssef, 1993; Shields-Brodber, 1998; Sidnell, 2004; Migge,
this volume) there exists a significantly small number of discourse-based
analyses of language, gender and power by linguists who specialize in Creole
languages.

Of'i(m)' and 'shii': Gendered Differentiation
in Caribbean Creole Structures

Another area of discussion of Caribbean Creole structures in the literature
concerns the question of gender differentiation in pronominal systems (e.g.,
Hellinger, 1985; Escure 1991,2001; Neumann-Holzschuh, 2006). Typically,
Caribbean Creoles have only a single third person singular pronoun in the
basilectal form that contrasts with the gendered patterns in their lexifiers,
for instance, English 'he/she/it'. Hellinger (1985, 1998), one of the first to
explore the interpretation ofbasilectal'i(m)' in English-lexifier Creoles, asks
how the change from basilectal (gender-less) systems to more elaborated
genderedd) mesolectal systems might be explained (1998, p. 89). She
investigates whether the basilectal single pronoun is used and understood
generically (1998, p. 90).
While grammatical gender is generally represented as absent in
Caribbean Creole languages, various forms of biological gender marking have
been mentioned in the literature. Neumann-Holzschuh (2006) for instance,
discusses the expression of gender by suffixation, which most French Creoles
have preserved more or less systematically and also productively, to mark
biological gender. Thus, we may find lexicalized forms (e.g., danser-dansez
'male dancer-female dancer', LouCr) and also newly derived forms (e.g.
kbmesez 'business woman,' HaiCr) in most varieties. Compounds consisting
of gender-neutral personal nouns and a gender-marked lexical item are also
a possibility for marking the sex of an animate referent in some Caribbean
Creoles. In cases of human reference, it is usually the feminine form that
is marked, as for instance in the Antillean French Creole example profese-


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LANGUAGE AND GENDER IN THE CARIBBEAN


fanm 'a woman professor' or in Caribbean English Creole uman/lady dakta
a woman doctor,' whereas the masculine form goes mostly unmarked (but:
man-child/boy-child and girl-child). In reference to the sex of an animal, both
masculine and feminine gender marked lexical items are used in some French
Creoles, for instance, mal bourik-femHl bourik, 'male donkey-female donkey'
(HaiCr, in Neumann-Holzschuh 2006, p. 257), whereas in English Creole
expressions masculine marking seems to be dominant, e.g. in man rat, with
lady rat as a merely jocular corresponding form. In her discussion of gender
in Eastern Maroon Creole, Migge (2001, p. 92) cites gendered personal
noun compounds formed by adding man or uman to a general noun, verb, or
adjective, e.g. koloku n.'luck' kolokuman-kolokuuman 'lucky person,' gongosa
v. 'to gossip' gongosaman, gongosauman 'person who likes to gossip,'faansi
adj.'French' faansiman,faansiuman 'French citizen.'
Kinship terms are usually specified for referential gender (bra 'brother'
-sis 'sister,' etc.). Migge (2001, p. 95) also cites some gender-neutral kinship
terms in Eastern Maroon Creole such as (avo)tototo '(great) grand parents' or
swagi 'spouse's sibling, sibling's spouse.' Kinship terms may be used as well
as terms of address (cf. Miihleisen, 2005), as are gendered titles of respect
and name (e.g. Miss Lucy, Auntie Jan). Further forms of address include
gal (gyal) 'girl' and bway 'boy' which are not necessarily restricted to young
addressees (cf. Escure 2001, p. 63 on Belizean Creole) and may also be used as
exclamatory terms along with man man, i hot today, 'man, it's hot today.' In
this discursive function, the gender reference is seen as largely bleached. Not
altogether, however: while man or bway can also be used by women, a use of
gal as exclamatory term, e.g. gal, i hot today, would not be uttered among men
ibidd). Concerning the use of abusive terms of address in Caribbean Creoles,
there is no question that socio-cultural values have led to the development
of gender-specific rules for lexical items and other elements of language. As
Farquharson (2005) argues in his study on homophobic dancehall lyrics in
Jamaica,"it is difficult to miss the glaring gender bias" (2005, p. 105). In his list
of lexical terms denoting homosexuality in Jamaican based on lexicographic
sources about twenty-five terms, among them bati-bwai, botomologist, chi-chi
man or mod-pusha, are concerned with male homosexuality, whereas only one
lexical item, lezi, denotes female homosexuality. The links between sexual
identity and language in Caribbean Spanish have been addressed by La
Fountain-Stokes, both in terms of bilingualism/code switching, and lexicon
(2006, 2007, respectively).


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




SUSANNE MUHLEISEN / DON E. WALICEK


Variation, Change, and Language Ideology

Gender-specific language use is one area that is intrinsically tied to questions
of language socialization, access to certain language domains of language
usage, as well as to questions of language attitudes and language ideology. In
discussions of whether women and men use different codes, an interesting
early Caribbean case of an alleged clear distinction between "male speech"
and "female speech" among Carib Indians is often cited (cf. Schnepel 2003,
p. 217).1
In studies on Caribbean Creole usage, gender-specific features are almost
always linked to questions ofbasilectal versus mesolectal/acrolectal variation
and consequent developments of language change. In many sociolinguistic
studies, women are seen as the more status conscious speakers who tend to
make up for their lack of social power by using low prestige forms of language
less frequently than men do (cf. Trudgill, 1998). Applied to Caribbean
situations, female speakers of Caribbean Creoles would consequently
function as promoters of language change in the direction towards the
standard/acrolectal forms. One of the problems with such a uni-directional
expectation of change is, however, that the question of language prestige in
Caribbean Creoles is also more complex than a simple High/Low dichotomy
can capture. Language attitude studies toward English-lexicon Caribbean
Creoles have shown not only that distinctions have to be made between
overt and covert prestige (Rickford, 1983), but that the overt prestige itself
is also subject to change (Miihleisen, 2001). In Schnepel's (2003) account
of the interplay between language attitudes and gendered language usage
in the francophone Caribbean, the connection between gendered language
socialization and code-choice is described as rather clear-cut. Based on a
survey conducted in the early 1980s in Guadeloupe, she observes that "among
young children in creolophone households, it is not uncommon to find little
boys who know no French; and in francophone households, little girls who


1 This notion was based on observation and reports by early missionaries and chroniclers in
the 17th and 18th centuries. The cause of the linguistic differentiation is attributed to a Carib
conquest of Arawak men and women, in which Arawak men were killed and Arawak women
married Carib men. It is subject of debate, however, to what extent both linguistic groups
retained their language and passed it on to their sons and daughters respectively, or whether
this is merely a case of"variation due to social and economic stratification in a culture where
men and women live separately with little overlap in tasks" (Schnepel 2003, p. 217).


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LANGUAGE AND GENDER IN THE CARIBBEAN


are unfamiliar with Creole" (Schnepel 2003, p. 210). She concludes that in
order "to understand this solidarity of language-and-gender, one must grasp
the particular complicity which ties Creole to the sexual [...]. In a general
way, Creole is connoted with being "common" (vulgaire), "dirty" (malpropre),
or "badly brought up" (male/ive)."
Some detailed studies on the use of particular basilectal or mesolectal/
acrolectal features also focus on the sex of speakers. Sidnell (1998) shows that
the distribution of the gender-less third person basilectal pronoun 'am' and
the gendered mesolectal/acrolectal forms 'hii/shii/it' in Guyana is not equal
between male and female speakers, with men using the basilectal form more
frequently than women. Rather than attributing this discrepancy simply to
the often alleged tendency of female speakers to use more prestigious forms,
Sidnell demonstrates that context also matters here, as Guyanese women
seem to prefer mesolectal marking for feminine referents and basilectal
marking for neuter/inanimate referents.
For Belizean Creole, Escure (2001) examines the choice of copular
variants (basilectal de, intermediate zero and acrolectal be) and of past tense
realizations (basilectal me, intermediate zero, acrolectal standard past). She
comes to the conclusion that there is no clear movement toward the standard
on the female speaker's part, even though women used less basilectal features
and more neutral zero markers. Rather, Escure (2001, pp. 78-79) holds that
"both copular and past cases of unmarking suggest a diplomatic attempt at
bridging the gap between two (or more) linguistic codes, two cultures, and
two identities. [...] What clearly emerges is the picture of women defining
their gender roles in the community as mediators."

Agency, Power, and Respect: a
Gendered Perspective on Politeness Strategies

Caribbean notions of "respect" and "respectability" are concepts that have
raised anthropological interest for a number of decades now (cf. Wilson
1969, 1973; Abrahams & Baumann, 1971; Price & Price, 1972). Wilson's
(1969) focus on respect and masculinity versus femininity also includes some
aspects ofverbal strategies associated with assertions of and/or threats to one's
manhood, such as boasts of a man's promiscuous behavior on the one hand
and stylized insults focusing on a man's wife's infidelity on the other. Wilson
(1973) argues that reputation is largely specific to men, while respectability


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SUSANNE MUHLEISEN / DON E. WALICEK


qualifies as particular to women and concerns only certain males at specific
times in their lives. Williams (1996) provides a persuasive critique of these
ideas and a more praxis-based perspective, asserting that both concepts are
simultaneously relevant throughout the lives of both males and females.
In another recent study, Yelvington (1996) looks at the construction of
gendered roles in flirting in a Trinidad factory. Here, hierarchies of ethnicity,
class, and gender play an important role in the (public) organization of
flirting and the various goals that are achieved with it. The significance to
gendered strategies and gendered evaluation of behavior is rather obvious in
speech acts such as (ritual) insults (e.g. also Edwards 1979 on 'tantalizing'
in Guyana, Farquharson 2005 on homophobic insults/threats in Jamaica)
and heterosexual flirting (Yelvington, 1996). In Edwards (1979) a number of
speech acts in Guyanese social life are described, most of which seem to be
performed predominantly by men.'Suuring,' for example, a type of flattering
talk which is performed "to impress the female sufficiently to start up an
amorous relationship, or, in some cases, to immediately gain intimate favors"
(Edwards 1979, p. 84) is described to depend on the dyadic interaction
between the sexes and the appreciation of a (male) audience: "a male who
can suur well has a skill which is envied by his peers. Women do not usually
suur" ibidd). It would be interesting to see whether any changes in this type
of gendered interaction have taken place in the course of the last thirty years.
But also acts of verbal performance which are not as overtly gendered, e.g.
apologies or requests, would also deserve attention with regard to language
and gender patterns in the Caribbean. Escure (2001, p. 54) summarizes the
connection between gender and pragmatics as follows:

Since gender is solidly anchored in behavior, it seems to be best observed
from a pragmatic perspective that will take into account the discourse patterns
representing how men and women use language, through the medium
of potentially genderized strategies used to accomplish goals (directives,
mitigators, disclaimers, interruptions, repetitions, minimal responses, apologies,
insults, inter alia, which project paralinguistic phenomena such as solidarity,
competitiveness, emotion, hesitation, subservience, insecurity, or dominance.

As noted above, the gap in language and gender studies in the Caribbean
may well be connected with the striking neglect of pragmatic and discourse-
oriented research since "the study of language and gender has increasingly
become the study of discourse and gender" (Bucholtz 2004, p. 43).


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Discourse-based gender research in the Caribbean has so far concentrated
on topics such as agency, power, and gender in Jamaican phone-in radio
shows (Shields, 1992; Shields-Brodber, 1998), the use of discourse markers
to indicate solidarity in medical discourse in Trinidad (Youssef, 1993), as
well as on the construction of male exclusivity (or male gossip) in Guyanese
rum shops (Sidnell 2004). Shields-Brodber's (1998) analysis of female
participation in phone-ins in Jamaica, for example, examines how women
establish and maintain a "voice of authority" on air by trying to hold the
performance floor. In Jamaican public discourse, interruptions can serve as
a means to hold the floor for both men and women and are not evaluated
negatively (1998, p. 197). Shields-Brodber's study also establishes female
speakers' role as innovators in their pragmatic switches between standard
Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole. She concludes that

As far as the sound of public/formal discussion in Jamaica is concerned, there
can be no doubt that many female participants display language choices and
conversational attributes regarded as typically male in much of the literature,
and therefore contributing to my characterization of them as 'crowing hens.'
Many explanations for the manifest capacity of women such as these to 'crow'
suggest themselves not least the possibility that, in perceiving and asserting
the power and authority which they wield in their community, such women
have indeed mastered what may well constitute an abomination for females in
other cultures: the art of crowing. (1998, p. 203)

Performing Gender in the Caribbean

Abraham's (1983) study on the man-of-words in the West Indies has
contributed significantly to our understanding of public verbal performances
in the Caribbean. As seen above, in ritualized forms of talk in the areas of
'sweet talking' (e.g. boasting) or 'broad talking' (e.g. cursing, 'tantalizing,' etc.)
the relevance of the participants' gender is seen as important by speakers and
scholars alike. Public speech, as well as public places, have been frequently
marked as a male domain. However, as, for example, Shields-Brober (1998)
has demonstrated in her research, this is a notion which must be reviewed
very carefully in the Caribbean context.
Furthermore, it seems that the dichotomy between public places as "any
regions in a community freely accessible to members of that community" and
private places as "soundproof regions where only members or invitees gather"


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




SUSANNE MiHLEISEN / DON E. WALICEK


(Goffman 1963, pp. 8-9) is not as clear-cut as it appears at first sight. In her
analysis of the Caribbean oral gesture 'kiss-teeth' (also known as 'suck-teeth,'
'chups,' see Figueroa 2005, p. 75), Esther Figueroa reflects on its functions
in the light of Erving Goffman's notion of the public sphere and concludes
that "Kiss Teeth's ambiguity in regards to the public sphere and moral social
order (being both monologic and dialogic, performed both in talking to
oneself and in talking to others, and performed both for social control and
resistance) [...] makes problematic the public-private [...] divides" (Figueroa
2005, p. 74). While there is no structured investigation of kiss-teeth as a
gendered activity, it may be interesting to note that, like 'dropping remarks'
(Fisher 1976) it provides the speaker with an indirect means of signaling his
or her ideological opinion and moral positioning. It would be interesting to
see whether indirectness, in other cultural environments often found to be
associated with female norms of behavior, also has a gendered significance
in the Caribbean.
Sidnell (2004) also problematizes researchers' preconceived ideas of a
setting or context as being gendered. He focuses on the construction of the
rum shop as a gendered space in Guyana and shows how members themselves
actively manage this space as a male-exclusive zone. Even though women
are often present within the space of the rumshop, they are excluded from
interaction:

The rule and the perceived respectability of the women involved are preserved,
in such cases, through various secondary accounting practices. In particular,
members work to maintain the sense in which women in such situations, while
physically present, can be seen to be excluded from the framework of ongoing,
exclusively male, activity. So, for example, if a woman works in the rumshop,
serving rum over the counter or perhaps cooking fried fish a short distance
away, she is routinely disattended by the men except in the course of those
activities where she must be engaged for example, in order to request the
rum, to pay for it, etc. (Sidnell 2004, p. 335)

The disattention strategy is then actively used for the preservation of the
exclusively male zone. Sidnell's analyses of practices of talk-in-interaction
demonstrate that the all-male domain rum shop is not "simply a physical
space but rather a social setting which is the product of concerted and
collaborative interactional work by both men and women" (Sidnell 2004, p.
345).


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The one space in Caribbean culture that has been explored most
extensively as a site of performances of gender and sexual identity is the
Jamaican Dancehall. Carolyn Cooper's (1989, 1990, 1993) study on "erotic
play in the Dance Hall" as well as on "metaphor and role play in Jamaican
Dance Hall culture" (1994) spearheads a wealth of investigations of this
setting as a stage for acting out gender roles (see, for example, Hope 2006) and
for displaying heterosexual identities as an affirmation of what is perceived
as part of "Jamaican cultural norms." That this goes along with ostentatious
homophobia was already established in Cooper's early analysis of the lyrics
of Dancehall performers and continues to be a topos of investigation (see
Farquharson, 2005). More recently, studies which address gender, sexuality,
and music have examined the popularity of the related genre reggaeton in
Puerto Rico (see Rivera et al., 2009).

Outook

In response to the question what issues related to the topic of language
and gender in the Caribbean they would like to see investigated by future
scholars, writers, or researchers, our interview partners (see Juxtapositions
this volume) came up with rather diverse ideas: while one would like to see
more work on "language and gender in music, in relation to contemporary
discourses on sexuality, and in relation to work" (GH), the second interviewee
sees a gap in research on the discourse of ordinary narrative (LW), and the
third interview partner (AS) is interested in the phonetics of sexual identity
display. This wide range of perceived (and real) research lacuna shows that a
lot of work remains to be done, in those areas mentioned and in many others.
To date, there is not a single book-length volume that focuses exclusively on
language and gender in the Caribbean. It is hoped that the present issue of
Sargasso can provide a glimpse of stimulating current research in this area
and encourage further investigations on discourse and gender, language and
style in music, the linguistic construction of gendered domains, and many
other themes in the exciting cultural spaces of the Caribbean region and its
diasporas.


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SUSANNE MUHLEISEN / DON E. WALICEK


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Language, Ideology and Women's Identities in the

Eastern Maroon Community*
Bettina Migge
University College Dublin



Introduction

Research on language and gender provides evidence that women and
men engage in different linguistic practices. For instance, Labov (1990)
and Trudgill (1972) argue that women make greater use of prestige forms
than men and lead linguistic change. The literature on linguistic politeness
theory shows that women are more attentive to their interlocutors' face
wants than men. Women are represented as concerned with constructing
a common ground with their interlocutor, giving attention to interlocutors'
views, phrasing their own views in an indirect, non-assertive manner to avoid
offence. In contrast, images of men represent them as making little effort to
approximate norms of politeness, being direct, assertive, and showing little
concern for the feelings of others (Mills 2003). These diverging patterns are
argued to result from differences in dominant conceptions of womanhood
and manhood. While a positive image of womanhood for dominant societal
norms is closely associated with stances ofrefinedness, being accommodating,
and having verbal skill, positive conceptions of manhood are strongly linked
to notions of roughness, toughness, being relaxed and independent (Ochs
1992; Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 2003).
Most findings on language and gender have so far been obtained from
research on European-descent populations in Western, English-speaking
societies. The few studies on communities in other parts of the world and
among so-called minority communities, however, suggest that the former
do not reflect universal patterns. Keenan (1974), for example, shows that in
Madagascar, it is men who are associated with polite and 'stylized' linguistic

*An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Joint conference of the
SCL/SPCL/ACBLPE for Caribbean and Creole languages held in Willemstad Curacao,
The Netherlands Antilles in August 2004.


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BETTINA MIGGE


practices while women's practices are said to be common, rough, or even
impolite. Research on Arabic-speaking communities suggests that men rather
than women make greater use of prestige forms (Haeri, 1994). While there is
still very little known about gendered linguistic practices in Creole-speaking
communities (McWhorter, 1998), there seems to be some indication that
the linguistic practices in South American and Caribbean Anglophone
Creole communities are more similar to those of other non-western societies.
Discussions of women's practices in the Caribbean often give the impression
that women are closely associated with notions of commonness and verbal
practices such as disputing (Rickford, 1986; Edwards, 1978; Sidnell, 1998),
scolding (Sidnell, 1998), insulting (Garrett, 2005) and vernacular speech
(Sidnell, 1999). In contrast, men are associated with witty speech (Abrahams
1983), stylized, formal, indirect and/or polite language (Abrahams, 1983;
Wilson 1984; Rickford 1986; Migge, 2004).
In this paper I explore the linguistic practices of women in the Eastern
Maroon communities of Suriname and French Guiana. The data come
from participant observation in the community, discussions with community
members, and an examination of mainly three types of recordings, namely
interactions in formal settings, typical single-sex interactions (such as
subsistence work activities and spare time chats), and mixed-sex informal
interactions, recorded between 1996 and 2007 in the upriver Pamaka villages
and in urban western French Guiana. The investigation shows that women's
practices differ in several respects from men's and that they contribute to
limiting women's participation in social and political decision-making
processes and in assigning women subordinate social roles.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: The first section
to follow briefly introduces the Eastern Maroon (EM) Communities. The
second looks at local views about the linguistic practices of women. Section
three explores linguistic practices of women in a range of settings and
compares them with those typical of men in the same contexts. The final
part discusses the implications of this study.

The Eastern Maroon Community

The EM community is made up of three socio-politically autonomous
communities, the Aluku, the Ndyuka and the Pamaka, which were founded
between the early (Ndyuka, Aluku) and the middle (Pamaka) of the eighteenth


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


century by slaves that fled the plantations of Suriname (Hoogbergen, 1990).
Their traditional villages are located in the interior of the tropical rain forest
of Suriname and French Guiana along the Maroni River and its tributaries,
the Tapanahoni and the Lawa Rivers. Until about the 1950s contact with
costal populations was limited to a small group of people.
EMs are traditionally subsistence farmers. Women are responsible for
the domestic sphere and for planting and preparing the main food staples,
while men deal with the world beyond the village and carry out most of
work surrounding the preparation of fields and the building of houses and
boats. They engage in cash labor opportunities on the coast or in the local
small-scale gold mining industry. Men maintain strong ties with male
family members, but also frequently interact with members from other local
communities, both socially and in relation to their work. By contrast, women
tend to interact mostly with close relatives (e.g., sisters, cousins, sisters-in-
law) and children and maintain little intimate contact with members from
other local communities. A paramount chief (gaanman) and village or lineage
head (kabiten) lead the communities. (Male) elders of the community, usually
men above forty or fifty, support their work of managing the sociopolitical
affairs of the entire community and its subunits.
In the last fifty years and particularly since the civil war in Suriname
in the 1980s, Maroons have been permanently migrating to the coastal
urban centers in search of what they refer to as a "better life" (e.g., access
to education, cash labor, and western amenities). Most towns in Suriname
and in particular in Guyane now have significant EM populations that, in
some urban centers such as St. Laurent du Maroni and Mana (Guyane),
outnumber all other local ethnic groups (L6glise and Migge, 2006). This
has affected people's lifestyles. For instance, women now spend more
time outside of the home involved in cash labor. They also interact more
frequently with non-family members including men because they live
in ethnically mixed neighborhoods and have to forge new social networks
as well as leave family networks to secure social benefits and educational
opportunities for themselves and their children. Despite these changes,
women are still mostly judged on the basis of traditional norms. A woman's
status is essentially measured by the number of children that she has
and on her ability to properly manage her family and herself. Women
are expected to spend time away from their home only when necessary
and to be sexually chaste and cautious when interacting with outsiders,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


especially men. Women who do not comply with these rules are easily
charged with having a questionable sexual morality.
Women do not actively participate in the political decision-making
process because they lack knowledge about vital traditional knowledge and
practices such as local history and knowledge about how to carry out social
rituals.' However, they are not provided with opportunities to obtain these
specialized knowledge either; competence in these areas is acquired through
a lengthy apprenticeship with an elder (Price 1993), but women are generally
not eligible for this. Women can now be appointed to official leadership
positions called kabiten 'village/lignage head.' However, instead of allowing
women to hold any of the original kabiten positions, the community leaders
-the male elders and kabiten- created special female kabitenship that are less
prestigious and involve fewer rights and powers than the ones reserved for
men.
Traditionally, women are considered to be "dangerous" by the community
at large. For instance, their menstrual blood is believed to weaken men's powers
so that men have to keep a distance from them during that time. Women are
also often described as lacking in refinement and proper diplomacy and thus
are seen as easily causing problems.

Assessments of women' linguistic practices

The local dominant language ideology assigns negative associations to the
linguistic practices associated with women. In discussions among community
members they are typically compared to local respect speech practices also
called lesipekifasi. Lesipekifasi exhibits the four properties of formal language
use identified by Irvine (1979, pp. 776-779):

(i) Increased code-structuring "concerns the addition of extra rules or
conventions to the codes that organize behavior in a social setting"
(Irvine 1979, p. 776). Linguistically, it involves using special intonational,
lexical, morphosyntactic, and/or discursive features.
(ii) (Increased) code consistency concerns local rules that stipulate the extent to
which code choices have to be consistent. In formal settings "consistency


1 For a discussion of the social and political importance of knowledge on local history, see
Parris (2007).


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


of choices (in terms of their social significance) seems to be greater than
in ordinary conversations, where speakers may be able to recombine
variants to achieve special effects" (Irvine 1979, p. 777).
(iii) Invoking ofpositional identities. "Formal occasions invoke positional and
public, rather than personal, identities [...]. Public, positional identities
are part of a structured set likely to be labeled and widely recognized in
society [...]. Personal identities, on the other hand, are individualized
and depend more on the particular history of an individual's interactions"
(Irvine 1979, p. 778).
(iv) Emergence ofa centralfocus. "[...] a main focus of attention a dominant
mutual engagement that encompasses all persons present (see Goffman
1963, p. 164) is differentiated from side involvements" (Irvine 1979,
p. 79).

In Migge (2004) I show that lesipekifasi is linguistically distinguished from
other local styles of speaking by a set of negative politeness practices. Speakers
make extensive use of a special set of respect-invoking lexical items and
elaborate figures of speech to avoid offence. Moreover, special turn-taking
rules that create a monological style of speaking ensure that the current
speaker is at the centre of the event's attention. Finally, it is customary to
emphasize people's positional rather than personal identity by using official
local names in combination with age and gender-appropriate courtesy titles.
By comparison with respect speech, women's linguistic practices are often
described by both men and women as lacking in respect (nd a lesipeki) and as
being vulgar or rough (goofu). For example, it is often argued that women's talk
is aimed at discrediting people and at causing offense and disharmony (suku
toobi). It is also depicted as plain, basic, or simple (dn moi, kowonu) because
it lacks the extensive styling associated with respect speech. Essentially, there
is a sense that women's speech is too direct and unguarded. For instance, on
one occasion I observed a local council meeting (kuutu) with visiting French
government representatives where a woman was granted the right to talk
about how French border control practices were limiting women's chances
to sell their produce. However, after only a few minutes of speaking, she was
prevented from continuing because it was felt that her speech was too direct,
i.e. accusatory, and thus likely to cause offense. All members, including the
woman herself accepted the action. Subsequent discussion highlighted that
people generally agreed with her point of view, but felt that she should not


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


have been chosen to present the case because of her lack of public speaking
skills.
It is therefore felt that women, unlike men, tend to lack verbal skill
overall and that their speech is potentially very dangerous. They are therefore
mostly excluded from speaking in formal settings by others and themselves,
frequently choosing not to make use of their speaking rights on the pretence
that talk and decision-making is men's work. When they do speak in both
formal but also informal mixed-sex encounters, their contributions often
receive less importance or are felt to be less powerful. As in many societies, a
good or respectful woman (bunbun uman) is depicted as someone who does
not speak a lot.
In the following section, I investigate the nature of women's practices in
both informal and formal contexts.

Women's Linguistic Practices in Informal Interactions

In this section I examine women's verbal practices in informal all women's
interactions, activities such as the preparation of a baked cassava staple called
kwaka and chats at sun down. The investigation suggests that EM women's
linguistic practices diverge from respect speech in several ways and exhibit
all the features typical of women's in-group speech generally (cf. Coates,
1990). I discuss the main characteristics of women's linguistic practices in all
women's interactions. For each feature, I first briefly summarize the practices
governing formal speech since they function as the standard of reference for
the evaluation of speech behavior in the community. Next, I discuss how
the linguistic practices in all women's interactions differ from the formal
practices.

Topics in women's informal speech

EMs generally maintain that serious matters (e.g., problems due to haunting
spirits, socially deviant behavior, murders) and issues of a personal nature
(e.g., physical or mental inadequacies, interpersonal troubles) should not be
discussed openly because this gives rise to social disharmony. Belief holds
that they should be dealt with in a careful manner in a respectful atmosphere
such as formal meetings (kuuku). These take place at the family, village, or
societal level, depending on the seriousness of the issue.


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


Recordings and participant observation in all women's interactions
suggest that women do not abide by this rule. Women's discussions center
on "people and feelings" (Coates 1990, p. 97) rather than on local or national
politics and economic activities. In the recordings, EM women critically
evaluate people, their verbal and non-verbal activities, and their character and
physical properties. In one of the recordings, for instance, a major portion of
the interaction dealt with a dispute between two women. Essentially, one
of the women present accuses another of foul play because she had an affair
with her husband in her absence. A large part of the recording consisted of
her narrating the other woman's misdeeds and personal faults or problems,
other people's evaluations of her behavior, and suggestions for action, as seen
in Extract 1.

Extract 1: adultery talk [women talking about the adultery of another
woman]
1 S: A be teki di sani man tok. Ubeyee taki a teki M man, B. A teki B. te anga
M nd e go.
'She committed adultery with this woman's husband, right. We
heard that she committed adultery with M.'s husband, B. She
committed adultery with B. to the point that M. isn't together with
B any more.
2 D: Ya, i anga, i anga S., i anga en libi bun moo Ma?
'Yes, you and, you and S., you and her had good relations better than
Ma's?'
3 S: Noiti, M. taki, noiti enfutu e kisi en osu. Fa a e dongo ya,fa a be e Ma,
Ma, Ma! A taki "noiti" en futu e kisi en osu moo.
'Never, M. says, she won't go to her any more. The way she was
going on about Ma all the time when she was going down river. She
(Ma) says she won't go to her house anymore.
4 A: Anga B. be de ete?'She's still with B.?'
5 S: He? Weeno, a ne en osu no.
'What? Of course, it was happening in her house, right?'
6 A: Ho! (exclamation of indignation)
7 S:Ne en osu a teki B.
'It's in her house that she committed adultery with B.'
8 A: Mi taki a nd a soo ya wawan oo. Ala liba, ala goontapu. Ala a goontapu
nounouya.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


'I said, it's not just in this village! All along the river, the whole world,
the whole world [is being affected by this life-style].'
9 D: (unclear)
10 A: Ala konde, pai.
'All the villages, my friend.'
11 D: Noiti!
'Never'
12 S: A tekifa den kali en man tu.
'She committed adultery with how do they call her husband too.'
13 D: Anga Ma 'with Ma.'
14 A: Ala konde
All the villages'
15 S: Dufu Sa Mopikin, My, My.
'Sa Mo's child, My'
16 A: My ooo, My oo
'My, My'
17 S: AtekiMytu?Aso meki a tan.
'She committed adultery with My's husband too? In that case, just let
her be?' (unclear)
18 S: A dn be sabi taki a de anga yonkupotopotopikin, a be sa tya migofom en
kodo.
'She didn't know that that she [My] was just pregnant, this would
have made me beat her up.'

In Extract 1, S tells the women how the other woman is a notorious
adulterer who is responsible for the break down of many relationships. This
kind of 'story' depicts the other woman as morally questionable, socially
deviant, and dangerous, seriously damaging her reputation while the narrator
emerges as an innocent victim. Such stories function to justify the narrator's
fierce fights with the adulterous woman, i.e. they appear to be self-defence,
and to reassert good relations with the other women who felt somewhat
threatened by the social disharmony caused by this conflict.
Although discussions about interpersonal problems focusing on exposing
the wrong-doings of people are a popular subject of such interactions, they
are by no means the only things that women talk about. A lot of talk is also
dedicated to sharing stories from the past and news. For instance, in Extract


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


2, the same women share their joy about the birth of a child, marvel at the
child, and worry about the woman's financial well-being.

Extract 2: talk about the birth ofa child
1 A: A mekiye! Sowtupikin a meki?
'She gave birth, right! Did she give birth to a girl or a boy?'
2 S: A meki wan meisi. Efi i si en, mati!Apikin moi te!
'She gave birth to a girl. If you see him, my friend! The child is
nice!'
3 D: En anga a man paati kelle? 'Have she and the man completely
separated?
4 S: Gaduu! En paati gbolon gbolon anga ala a bee.
'God! They separated completely despite her pregnancy.
5 D: [Kee! (exclamation expressing sympathy)
6 S: Efiisi denpikinfi en, den moi tee, ye.
'If you see her children, they are very nice!'
7 (unclear)
8 A: Ma a e kisifaansi moni?'But does she receive support from the French
state?'
9 S: Efi isi di be e dedeya. A bigi te a de bedjee.
'If you saw the one who died here. She was very big.'
10 A: Ma a abipapira? 'But does she have French papers?'
11 S: Sama?A mati de? Mi in biibi. A dati o kii en.
'Who? That person? I don't think so. That will kill her.'
12 Ma mi denki a ofeni a pampila. Afu den pikin.
'But I think she will get the papers because of the children.'
13 A: Ai, efu afeni en, da a o boo. 'Yes, if she gets them, she'll be relieved.'

These examples, then, suggest that talk in interactions that take place among
women is geared towards exchanging information (Extract 2) about people,
events etc., but equally serves the functions of self-presentation (Extract 1) and
the maintenance of good relations (Extract 2) (Coates 1990, pp. 97-98).
Another aspect of language that is closely reminiscent of women's in-
group speech is the fact that topics of discussion in such interactions build
on each other and are also seamlessly connected to each other. For instance,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


in Extract 1 the discussion centers on the wrongdoings of one woman. The
mentioning of one of her 'victim's' names, My, and the fact that she was pregnant
at the time prompts them to move on to related issues, including that she recently
gave birth (Extract 2, lines 1-2), that the child is beautiful (Extract 2, lines 2, 6),
that she has separated from the husband (Extract 2, lines 3-4), and worries about
her financial well-being (Extract 2, lines 8-13).

Turn-taking

Another area that receives attention in EM language norms is the nature
of turns and turn-taking. In respect speech, it is considered rude to speak
or engage in cross-play while another person holds the floor. This allegedly
disturbs the current speaker's flow of thought and speech. The only
permissible contributions are supportive feedback from the ritual responder
(pikiman) that function to further the current speaker's speech and to create
a central event focus. All other responses to the current speaker's speech have
to be postponed to the end of the current speaker's turn (cf Migge 2004).
This makes for a relatively 'ordered' turn-taking and quite lengthy turns.
Turn-taking in women's other interactions does not follow this pattern.
A person rarely holds the floor by herself for a long time or for more than
one or two successive utterances. In the course of a person's narration the
other participants select their turns quite freely around possible turn-
relevant points. They either start their turns right at the turn relevant point
or somewhat before it. However, as discussed in the literature on gendered-
linguistic practices (Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 2003; Coates, 1990), these
overlaps and'interventions' do not seem to be competitive. They are perceived
as friendly, signalling interest in the current speaker's speech; the women
jointly construct the stories of their conversations. In Extract 1, for instance,
S is the narrator and the other participants (A & D) constructively support
the narration. Speakers either provide evaluative comments in the form of
short exclamations that do not really interrupt the flow of the talk such as in
(Extract 1, line 6) and (Extract 2, line 5) or they make longer interventions
that contribute to the overall development of the topic (Extract 1, lines 4, 8,
10, 11, 14, 17; Extract 2, lines 3, 8, 10). Speakers also support the current
speaker's point of view (Extract 1, line 2; Extract 2, line 13). Participants
also pose direct questions to one another and answer them directly (Extract
2, lines 1-2, 3-4). The joint effort character of such interactions emerges


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


most clearly when all three participants share in the search for someone's
name (Extract 1, lines 12-16). First, S invokes someone whose name she
does not remember. D then proposes a possible person, as people in the
EM community are often identified through their relatives, e.g. 'As child,'
'X living with Y.' Then S remembers it, stating her significant relative and
name. Finally, A repeats the name to confirm it. A and D also "interrupt"
S's narration to ask questions of clarifications (Excerpt 1, line 4; Excerpt 2,
lines 8, 10). Overall, the turn-taking patterns suggest that the participants
consider themselves, at least temporarily, social equals in a common endeavor
because they collaboratively negotiate these stories (Coates 1990).

Manner of expression

In respect speech, taboo and common or vulgar terms, such as those relating in
any way to sex and witchcraft (wisi) etc., are to be avoided and to be replaced
by a specific set of respect terms. Moreover, face-threatening actions such as
criticism and allegations, including the persons involved in them, have to be
referred to in a veiled manner and/or have to be alluded to by place holders
like 'that matter/person' etc. or by employing special metaphoric language
(Excerpt 3). Appropriate use of metaphoric language is a sign of verbal skill,
seniority, and knowledge.

Extract 3: formal arbitration meeting [TM introduces the topic of discussion.
It deals with the competition between two men over the leadership of a local
gold-mining area.]
1 TM: Amoiso.
'It is nice like that.'2
2 TM: Amoisoyee.
'It is nice like that!'
3 TM: Fa a de, wan boto nd abi tu (si)tiiman.
As it is, a boat does not have two drivers.'
4 TM: A wan boto, a nd afa a bigi.
A boat, it's not about its size.'
5 TM: Lukufa a masini e daai de.
'Look how the motor turns/runs.'

2 For reasons of space I omitted the responses of the ritual resonder that followed each turn
of the speaker (TM).


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


6 TM: Fa a biyaya e lei a boto te mi wani taki, biya S.fa i e lei a boto so biya.
'The way the guy here drives the boat I'd like to say, S. how are you
driving the boat like that, my friend?'
7 TM: A wan kodo man e tii en,
'There's only one person who steers/drives.'
8 TM: A wan kodo man e tii en.
'There's only one person who steers/drives.'
9 TM: Ma a omen man e de na a boto ede.
'But many people are in the front part of the boat.'
10 TM: Anga kodeli.
'In an ordered fashion.'
11 TM: Ma i sipe a man de a lasi de.
'But you see where the man is in the back there?'
12 TM: Ne en tii en.
'It's he who steers/drives it.'
13 TM: Te i si a deedee da i e soli en a wata namo.
'When he sees that the water level is low then he only shows him
where the water is.'

Gist of the story: The gold-mining area cannot be headed by two persons; one
has to leave.'
In all-women's interactions the manner of expression is not structured in
this way. In (Excerpt 1), for example, S explicitly names the act of adultery
(teki man) several times, instead of using a corresponding respect term to
designate it. She also calls out the names of the people involved rather than
using non-explicit terms. In Excerpt 4, S openly talks about the physical
defaults of the woman and openly accuses her of engaging in 'witchcraft' and
of intending to harm her (line 2), of being promiscuous (waka e lulu) (line
3), and of being sick (lines 10-11). Finally, in (line 4) S puts her down in the
most explicit and direct terms. None of these 'allegations' are verbally veiled
in any way. This kind of explicitness is frequently encountered in interactions
that take place among groups which consist of women only. It functions as
a kind of self-empowerment, as it is one of the few occasions for women to
freely voice their opinions; it is a source of worry for men.

Extract 4: Adultery talk continued [talking about the physical problems of
another woman]


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES...


1 S: A dati meki i anga en de ya, i poti en de ya e boli moo mun deesi gi ifi i
mekipikin.
2 We, io meki den, e na i abi den, io meki den. Ma ef na i nd abi den, i bee tan
3 DEEDEE 3fu te i DEDE. A nd mi taagi ifi i waka e lulu tee, i a man
meki ipikin anga
4 lostu. We mi,fa mi deya, mi dn boli mun deesi diingi wantenfu,fu namo
namo taki,
5 mi mu mekipikin.
'Thus that's why you are together with him, you made him commit
adultery and you prepared herbal potions to have children. Well,
you'll have them, if it is in you, you'll have them. But if YOU don't
have them, you'll remain infertile until you die. It wasn't me who
told you to go around with men, this way you cannot enjoy having
children. Well as for me, I have never prepared herbal potions to
have children.'
(silence)
6 S: Di mi begin, di mi begin meki mipikin, mi dn boli mun deesi diingifu
pikin. Na gadu
7 gi mi mi sani. Da na kii takitaki i mu kon kii mi?
'When I began, when I first started to have my children, I did not
prepare herbal potions to have children. It's god who gave me those
children. Do you now have to come and kill me for that?'
8 D: San gadu gi i, nafi i. San gadu dn gi i. A ndfi i.
'What god gives you, it's yours. What god does not give you, it's not
yours.
9 S: Ma efu nafi iN., da ayuuya, a te anga neigi, seibin mun, aiti mun bee
i be mu abi.
10 Lukufa i mindifesi WETI, lukufa i MOFU, soso siki, moo i kaka bee ini
so. A siki weti
11 ipoti so. A siki diingi ipoti enkefa i si i tan ape.
'But if it was for you [to have children] then at this time, you would
be 9 months, 7 months, 8 months pregnant. Look at how your
forehead is pale; look at how your mouth is, just diseased, even more
than your intestines. The disease made you that pale. The disease
consumed you that much.'

3Capitalization indicates special emphasis.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


Another feature that is noteworthy and remarked on locally is the
relative assertiveness of women's speech. The relevant literature often finds
that women tend to hedge a great deal to avoid committing themselves to
opinions and actions in order to show sensitivity to others' face wants. In the
EM community, this kind of hedging is also part of politeness norms (and
consequently respect speech). However, in all-women's interactions, women
rarely employ hedging devices but state their opinions boldly on record. For
instance, in Extract 1 (lines 1, 7, 12) and Extract 4 (lines 1-3), S states the
activities of her opponent and those of herself (Extract 4, lines 6-7) quite
assertively without any doubt.
There are differences among the women, of course. The older woman,
for instance, talks much less overall and tends to be more hesitant and careful
in her comments than the main narrator, S, and her younger sister, A. D
hedges statements by phrasing them as questions (Excerpt 1, line 2); she,
however, expresses moral truths as bold, on record statements (Excerpt 4,
line 8). As a typical traditional village woman, D is much more aware of
local politeness norms and also poses as the younger women's superior. Being
much more closely aligned with modern or urban coastal behavioral norms
overall, S and to a lesser extent A, are much less inclined to conform to local
traditional politeness norms, particularly when they are among themselves.

Use of other languages

Language use in creole communities is characterized by variation between
creole features and features from the official European language of the
community. This variation is exploited in various ways to index social
identities within the community. For instance, Sidnell (1999) shows that
women use a higher incidence of Guyanese Creole first person singular
pronouns than the men of a rural Indo-Guianese community in order to
avoid charges of arrogance. Young boys, in contrast, draw on English forms
to show their familiarity with English and with the world outside of the local
community.
In the EM community, there is increasingly also considerable variation
between the Eastern Maroon Creole and the related coastal creole and lingua
franca Sranan Tongo, Surinam's official language, Dutch, and French, the
official language of Guyane, the country to which EMs have in recent years


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


migrated in great numbers (Price, 2002). Analysis of codeswitching practices
among EMs in in-group settings suggests that in contrast to young men,
women and elders engage relatively few codeswitching practices involving
these three languages (Migge, 2007). A quantitative analysis of the relative
amount of non-EM elements in several peer group recordings from each
social group in the community (Figure 1) suggests that women and elders
use significantly less of such forms than young men.


Figure 1: Frequency of EMC vs. non-EMC
linguistic features by social group

1200 -- --
1000
800
S600- --
400
200
0
1 2 3
young men elders women



Figure 1 suggests that women themselves orient towards EM practices
and only make selective use of practices from other languages. The main
reason for this pattern appears to be that non-EM practices are associated
with the world beyond the local community. However, this association
conflicts with the dominant image of womanhood that links women to
the local community and the domestic sphere. Extensive use of non-EM
practices is therefore difficult to sustain for women, as it opens them up to
charges of arrogance and of having a questionable sexual morality.
However, educated or professional urbanized women make use of code-
switching, defined as "the juxtaposition of two codes (languages) [that] is
perceived and interpreted as a locally meaningful event by participants" (Auer


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


1999, p. 310) to negotiate the differences that distinguish them from rural
women. Consider Extract 5, which comes from an informal chat between
village women who are peeling cassava. Some are subsistence farmers, while
W and L are teachers at the village primary school.

Extract 5: the birthday
1 L: Da ne en osu den o holi en?
'At her house they'll give the birthday?'
2 W: Da san?Na a man oso tok (ST)!
'What? At the [her] partner's house.'
3 L: Oh! Oh!
4 W: A. die man (D) (unclear). Nd tide sani. Na, na, nafu a, na a man deJ.
be ego e,
'Alsi, the man who (unclear) ... It's not a recent thing. It's, it's, it's the
guy that J. has been going out with and'
5 L: Eeye!'Yes!'
6 W: E taigi den sama sani tok (ST).
'Was telling the people things about, right.'
7 L: Eeye.'Yes.'
8 W: Da verleden (D), E. taki, a a wan, den ben (ST) go a wan dede oso
(ST), ma na a
9 manfamiri (ST).
'A while ago, E. said, they went to a wake, it was [someone from J.'s]
partner's family.'
10 Neen J. anga en masra ben de drape. Ma so! Na a man oso, a dede oso
hori (ST).
And J. and her partner were there. Okay! At the man's house the
wake took place.'

In Excerpt 5, W employs Sranan Tongo (ST) and Dutch (D) features when
narrating events that took place in Paramaribo (line 2), and events that were
narrated to her by people from Paramaribo (lines 10ff). In this context, the
use of non-EM forms functions as an auditory animation and authentication
of her (temporary) alignment with and knowledge of town life. It constructs
her as distinct from the other rural women present who lack such contacts
and knowledge.


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


Women's Practices in Formal Events

In this section I discuss women's interactions in formal events such as meetings
organized around deaths and burials, and local and family problems. This is
a domain that is traditionally dominated by men and it is often argued that
women lack the relevant verbal skills to participate in them because their
'typical' speech patterns diverge starkly from respect speech (cf. Section 3). I
investigate whether this view can be upheld.
Women generally attend formal meetings as members of the audience
rather than as speaker-participants. That is, they observe the proceedings of
such meetings, but they do not frequently take the floor, even if the problem
concerns them directly. In most formal events, women are represented by
others, usually their male elders. This is also the case even when they hold
formal positions such as basia 'assistant to office holders' or nowadays also
kabiten. This is due, in part, to the fact that the importance of an issue is
enhanced if it finds the support of one's elders. However, this in itself cannot
explain the relative lack of participation of women in formal events because
it does not stop men to actively participate in such events. I submit that the
main 'difficulty' is the widely held belief that women are not up to the task.
Confirmation for this view comes from an examination of a recording of
a formal family meeting that took place in 2007 in the town of St. Laurent
du Maroni. The meeting was initiated by N because she was concerned about
the well-being of her husband following a few incidents in the gold-mining
area that he oversees. After much lobbying among his family members, the
meeting was eventually convened by the husband's main living male elder.
After a few introductory words by the male elder (B), N was asked to
present her case to the participants who consisted of the husband, several of
his siblings and cousins, his mother, the male elder, his wife, and the author.
N's words are recorded in Extract 6.

Extract 6: family meeting
1 N: No den sani de no bun. Mi deen wan machine, u de a ini wan boto e dongo
so. Di u doo
2 teyolu so net, a machine komoto na a boto lasifika a N. ana, koti mi saara
a mi tiki
3 futu ma dn go, an koti. Ma a ion buulu titi titi ma dn go.
'No these things aren't good. I dreamed about an outboard motor,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


we are in a boat and are going down river. When we are about to
arrive, the outboard motor jumps out of the holding and remains in
N's hand and cuts me with a clean cut at my calf, but does not go in
or cut. Some blood runs down my leg, but it does not show an open
cut.'
4 B: Baala uyee ? 'My friend did you hear?'
5 BD4: Iya omu.'Yes uncle/elder.'
6 N: Da a deen dn bun, den di mi e deen ma a man disi, mi no man taigi en
wan sani
7 da a teki mi taki. San mi taigi en na lan sani ma te a be de taki na sama
di be e teki
8 mi taki, da te a go da a kali den brasili da a taki : upaki u lai kon u
go a taapeesi,
9 kon u goposipiki efu u sa wooko da u wooko bika teyu lasi i ede, i nd e
feni dufu tu,
10 te i dede i nd e weki moo, iyee mi !
'Thus the dream isn't positive, but this man [her husband], he
never listens to what I
say. What I tell him is unimportant, but if it was someone who
would listen to me,
then he would call his Brazilian gold miners saying "pack your
stuff, let's go
somewhere else, let's go find another place or do any other work"
because if you loose
your head, you won't find another one, when you are dead, you
won't wake up
anymore, do you understand?'
11 BD: Iya 'Yes'

Comparing N's speech (Excerpt 6, lines 1-3 & 6-10) to that of other
similar turns by men in other meetings (Migge, 2004) (and the same
meeting) reveals important similarities. She first sets out the reason for
calling the meeting, namely that she had an indicative dream (6, lines 1-3).
She does not directly state that she is suspecting that bloodshed will occur
if her husband continues to work in a certain mining area. Instead, she veils

4 BD functioned as the ritual responder in the meeting.


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


her statements by recounting her dream, which involves an accident (6, lines
2-3), and by stating general truths (lines 9-10). Finally, rather than telling
her husband what to do, she uses the conditional mood to present what
seems for her to be the most logical action to resolve the problem (6, lines
7-9), but implicitly mitigates the threat involved by claiming that he does
not pay attention to what she says (6, lines 7-8). This then suggests that EM
women, like their male counterparts, are clearly able to appropriately use the
linguistic properties associated with local respect speech. However, due to
social conventions and ideologies that make men the main interlocutors in
formal events, women rarely engage in such practices, thus giving rise to the
local assumption that they are ignorant of them.

Summary and Conclusion

The above discussion reveals that EM women's linguistic practices in
encounters that take place among women differ quite significantly from local
norms of respect speech. Essentially, women's in-group verbal practices are
not subject to the same kind of structuring as respect speech, but closely
resemble female conversational interactions in other communities that are
sometimes referred to as 'gossiping' (Coates, 1990). While this difference
is expected because all women's interactions and formal events are part of
different social spheres that are linked to different sets of behavior, these
processes also become iconicized; once linguistic features are linked to social
groups and actions, they "appear to be iconic representations of them" (Ivrine
&Gal 2000, p. 37). Moreover, based on the nature of their informal linguistic
practices, women come to be viewed as people who are socially disruptive and
incapable of dealing with important social matters. They are also viewed as
lacking worldliness due to their selective use of non-EM practices. Men, in
contrast, are positively linked to notions of seriousness and respectability, due
to the engagement of some men with dominant respect practices. Men are
also linked to notions of worldliness as a result of the greater engagement of
some men in non-EM practices. This in turn leads to the semiotic process of
erasure whereby women's rarely demonstrated knowledge of formal speech
and men's use of conversational practices is made invisible so that a dominant
view emerges which depicts women as verbally unskilled and men as people
who deal with serious issues. This has serious implications for women. Their
views are automatically viewed as less important and they are denied access


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




BETTINA MIGGE


to certain means of self-representation.
Together these phenomena suggest that women's practices are informed
by identity and ideologically-based factors. Women's relatively limited use
of respect speech is actually due to the fact that women are largely excluded
from speaking in settings in which it is commonly practiced rather than to
the absence of their knowledge of such speech. Moreover, women's relative
lack of use of non-EM practices is due to the fact that they generally have
little intense contact with the world beyond the community; in addition,
participation in such practices assigns negative connotations to them.
Women's adherence to EM practices affirms their commitment to respectable
EM womanhood, linking them to the home, local community, and the family
rather than the urban world.
Finally, women's relative lack of adherence to local norms of politeness
in settings where only women are present, much feared by men, must be
explained by the nature of their social relations. Unlike men, EM women
tend to maintain relatively close relationships and solidarity-based
relationships among one other. Linguistically, this is marked by features of
positive politeness, such as directness of expression, overlap in turn-taking,
and discussion of intimate/controversial topics. By contrast, men's and
especially elders' relationships and formal events tend to be characterized
by a certain degree of social distance which is linguistically expressed by
negative politeness strategies that entail enhanced attention to interlocutors'
negative face and reliance on features of negative politeness such as verbal
indirectness, and the omission of controversial topics.


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LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY AND WOMEN'S IDENTITIES


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PETER ROBERTS


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A Gender-based Analysis of Discourse Markers

in Limonese Creole
Elizabeth Grace Winkler
Western Kentucky University


Introduction

This study analyzes the differing uses of discourse markers in Limonese
Creole (LC) speech by men and women. Escure (1992) and Herzfeld (1997)
have pointed out that the effects of gender on discourse have largely been
studied from the perspective of white, middle-class speakers in developed
countries. In the Black Creole community of Limon, Costa Rica women
have gained economic and social power over the last few decades. These
women, in many ways, are still subordinate to men in social, educational,
and professional contexts. They provide a unique opportunity to evaluate
language use in a unique community where traditional relationships of
gender and power have changed.
The situation is even more interesting because these speakers have
three distinct codes available: LC, Spanish, and a variety of Caribbean
Standard English. Thus, discourse markers borrowed from Spanish may well
represent prestige variants for the women who borrow them, reflecting the
link between the ability to use prestige language and the benefits associated
with it, benefits which have been experienced by Limonese women in recent
decades and have contributed to their rising sense of power.

Sociohistorical Background

In the 1870s, the Costa Rican government contracted an American named
Minor Keith to build a railroad from the capital, San Jose to the Caribbean
coast. His company, Standard Railway, hired tens of thousands of workers
from English Creole-speaking Caribbean countries, the vast majority of
whom came from Jamaica (Bryce Laporte, 1993). Herzfeld (1978) cites
government documentation of the immigration of at least 33,000 Jamaicans
by 1921.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


Because they were working in a largely uninhabited part of Costa Rica,
the Jamaicans set up towns in which an English-based Creole was spoken;
Jamaican culture dominated the community's social life (Purcell, 1993;
Wright-Murray, 1982). They set up schools for their children and established
Anglican churches in which to worship. The community had high levels of
what the migrants considered good employment and the settlements were
characterized by stable social and family structures in which traditional
gender roles prevailed: men worked outside the home and were dominant
within it, and women were relegated to working in the home or in low-level
jobs traditionally associated with.women (e.g., cooking, laundry). According
to Herzfeld (1977) the language of women at this time was likely to be more
basilectal, as they had lower levels of formal education than the men and
were largely consigned to the home.
After the railroad was completed, the migrants remained to work at the
United Fruit Company (UFC), which Minor Keith had developed as a way
to help feed his employees. Banana plantations were developed along the
railroad and Jamaican towns and villages were founded there, many of which
still exist today (Winkler, 1998). Immigration from Jamaica continued until
the UFC stopped operations in the province of Lim6n in the 1940s. When an
agricultural plague wiped out the bananas, the company decided to relocate
to the plague-free west coast (Purcell, 1993). This event was catastrophic for
the local Jamaican community because although they had been in Lim6n
for several generations, Costa Rica officially considered them Jamaicans,
even those who had been born in the host country. Their legal status denied
them certain rights and privileges, including relocation to the west coast to
continue working for the UFC. In fact, the Jamaicans were prohibited by law
from going past the Turrialba railroad station, as an older woman pointed
out. I include her account as Example 1:

Ex. 1: They didn't want us to go to work in Turrialba or Cartago or
those places. But they can come here. All the farm, those farms
are mostly Guanacastecas and Nicaraguans. Those are working
on the banana plantation. But this was 1936. Leon Cortes Castro
brought in that law. When he was president of Costa Rica you
could go as far as the Tunnel Camp, near to Turrialba. That was
as near as you could go.


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A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

The government's position economically devastated Black communities,
leaving tens of thousands without significant employment. The departure
of the UFC meant that decent full-time employment disappeared almost
completely from the province (Bryce Laporte, 1993). Therefore, many men
sought work outside of Costa Rica for at least part of each year. They took
jobs on the Panama Canal, on Caribbean cruise ships, and in the USA,
leaving their women and children in Lim6n. Although the money these men
sent back to their families kept the Afro-Costa Rican' communities from
total ruin, it did leave many of the women on their own, as one Limonese
woman describes:

Ex. 2: Umm faada awt a di kuntri, not even on da ship; dey go an werk,
an plenti of separated family. Da faada werkin awtsayd. Still da
woman av to tiek kier of da uom, is jus laik da kids dem is almost
alone.

The situation for the Afro-Costa Ricans began to improve in 1948 when
they supported the popular revolution that put Jos6 Figures Ferrer in power.
They were declared citizens of Costa Rica and were free to settle in any part
of the country. However, the demographics of Lim6n had changed during
the previous decade. Many Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans had bought land
once owned by the UFC. As the number of Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans
increased, the government began to impose regulations on the province of
Lim6n, including the establishment of Spanish language schools as well as
Costa Rican state agencies to replace the infrastructure put in place by the
UFC (Herzfeld, 1977). Thus, the ability to speak Spanish became critical for
economic and educational success, and many of the Afro-Limonese women
became Creole-Spanish bilinguals. Because the women remained in Lim6n
when their men left to find work, they were in a position to acquire Spanish
when the demographics shifted to a Spanish-speaking majority. Therefore,
they were also able to take advantage of economic opportunities that became
available. Women successfully entered the Spanish work domain before men
both because they were present in the community and because discrimination
by the Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans was less frequent against Black

This term is used by Bryce Laporte and others to refer to the Black community in Costa
Rica after the midpoint of the twentieth century when they began to be more integrated
into the Costa Rican nation.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality






ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


women than Black men (Winkler, 1998). This is not particularly surprising.
In addition, Black women had been treated as second-class citizens by their
own men; they did not necessarily resist the gender norms of the wider Costa
Rican culture. Black men, however, expected to be treated as equals.
As a result of these changes, women became the breadwinners for many
Afro-Costa Rican families. As the years went by, the shift in traditional
gender-based roles continued as women continued to improve their social
standing. As already suggested, speaking both Spanish and LC gave them
increased educational and employment opportunities. In the 1990s, when I
began working in Lim6n, female-headed households had been the norm for
at least couple of decades. There was no perceptible change in this pattern
at the time of my last visit in 2008. In fact, a male Limonese professor at a
university in San Jose pointed out a rise in the number of "baby daddies"
(his term) in the Limonese community. He asserted that successful, well-
educated Black women, trying to preserve Creole culture through marriage
to Black men, were struggling to find economic equals. Thus, they are
opting for temporary liaisons with Black men for the sole purpose of having
children, not creating stable, long-term family units. This is a symptom
of the economic and educational divide between men and women in the
community, a divide that has contributed to some interesting differences in
language use.
For example, as women elsewhere are often wont to do (Romaine, 2005),
women in Lim6n began to increase their usage of indicators of linguistic
prestige. They used, for example, more acrolectal varieties of English and
other indicators of status and politeness, including the use of discourse
markers (Winkler, 1998). In addition, I noted an increase in the use of
Spanish, the nationally prestigious variety, by Afro-Limonese women. But
rather than abandon the Creole, they have successfully managed three
varieties-LC, Spanish, and Standard Caribbean English- in the discourse
communities in which they operate. This effect has also been noted in other
communities where Creoles are spoken.
Belize offers one such example. As Escure notes (1992, p. 118), "In
Belize, the English-based creole symbolizes the power of in-group identity
whereas English, or some approximation of it, is associated with mainstream
power and social privilege, upward mobility, and education." Escure links this
practice to gender and asserts that "women are more likely to use standard
or prestige forms, and to upgrade their speech patterns in formal situations




A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

than men of the same age, social class, and educational level" (1991, p. 595).
Women are often initially judged, or at least believe that they are being
judged, not by their accomplishments but by their appearance and speech.
This perception is not limited to communities in which creole languages are
spoken (Winkler, 1998).
Herzfeld (1997) asserts that only a generation before her study, when
the majority of women were homemakers, women used fewer acrolectal
forms than men. However, with their gains in educational accomplishments,
economic success, and familial power, Limonese women have intensified their
use of acrolectal features, exhibiting speech that includes the increased use of
discourse markers. In addition, women are also more likely to borrow from
and codeswitch to Spanish (the prestige variety of the wider-community)
because they have experienced first-hand the interconnectedness of language
and power (Winkler, 1998).

Discourse Markers and Gender in Limonese Creole

Schiffrin defines discourse markers "as sequentially dependent elements
which bracket units of talk" (1987, p. 31). Discourse markers may include
pause fillers, conjunctions, hedges, tag questions, affirmations, and place
holders. She further asserts that they are best illustrated "by reference to
speaker attitude and orientation" (1998, p. 362); for example, you know "per-
tains most to the organization of participation and involvement... [it is] an
important means of displaying speaker attitude and subjective orientation
toward what is being said and by whom" (p. 362). Eckert and McConnell-
Ginet (2003) classifyyou know as a discourse particle which serves as a hedge
and can "solicit sympathetic interpretation" (p. 183) as well as an attempt to
"form a collectivity" with other speakers (2003, p. 185). LC yu nuo is a very
frequently occurring discourse marker operating in this manner; however, it
also serves as an affirmation in which a speaker can acknowledge another's
claim or indicate shared knowledge.
Eckert and McConnell-Ginet (2003) support Schriffin's view that
discourse markers have more to do with person reference than grammar or
meaning, as discourse markers "don't generally contribute to content as much
as to positioning" (2003, p. 184), a statement that supports the debatable
assertion that women's speech is lacking in authority and more tentative
than men's. On the other hand, Cheshire asserts that discourse markers,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


which she refers to as pragmatic particles, "function as positive politeness
markers" as well as indicate that there "is common ground" between speakers
(p. 487). Holmes (1984) points out that the greater focus on women and
politeness strategies relates to the fact that women's speech strategies are
often affective in nature; they deal with the needs of the interlocutors which
include maintaining positive and negative face (their own and that of their
conversation partners, respectively). All of these issues come into play in
Lim6n. Because the traditional roles of men and women have shifted in terms
of who has education, employment, and power, the community provides a
unique opportunity to study how features of language that have in other
settings been markers of gender difference are used among Afro-Limonese.
A further complicating factor is the presence of a second prestige language,
Spanish.
Since the 1940s the number of Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans in the
province has continued to rise, like the numbers of monolingual Spanish-
speaking and bilingual Afro-Limonese (Herzfeld, 1997). Thus, the Creole
is under assault by both Standard English and Spanish, both of which are
taught in the government schools, heard in the media, and published in
newspapers and books. Increased bilingualism has made possible the use of
Spanish discourse markers in LC speech (Winkler, 1998). They are doubly
prestigious in that they are discourse markers, and they are Spanish. Many
markers (e.g., bueno 'well' and verdad?'right') have also been borrowed into
monolingual Limonese speech. Their integration is demonstrated by both
the frequency of their use and their occurrence in the speech of the remaining
monolingual LC speakers within the community (Winkler, 1998). Sadly, the
number of monolingual LC speakers is diminishing with time as this group
ages. Additionally, as access improves to once remote villages, they become
increasingly open to contact with the wider community and Spanish-
language school systems. Thus, in the future it will become increasingly
difficult to contend that features are borrowed rather than codeswitched.
However, in the present study, the choice and use of Spanish discourse
markers, whether as codeswitching or loans, indicates their prestige value in
a particular discourse.
Discourse markers from both LC and Spanish are replete throughout LC
conversations. Winkler (1998) shows that discourse markers are frequently
borrowed from Spanish into LC; in fact, they were the most borrowed word
class. In the 1998 corpus, they made up almost 50% of the words borrowed


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A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

into LC. This is not particularly astonishing because discourse markers
are syntactically independent and cause few problems for grammar: they
generally appear at phrase boundaries where syntactic requirements are
limited. They are also easily acquired "because of their discourse prominence"
(Myers-Scotton, 1992, p.36). The following example, spoken by a middle-
aged urban female, shows that the Spanish marker bueno (well) serves as a
pause filler.

Ex. 3: Nutin da matter wit becausin your sista is ah, bueno, er faada is
a white native man, dat duon mean to se dat she cannot speak
English.

Note that the two sections of LC speech can grammatically stand on their
own; the connector does not interfere with the anticipated grammatical
forms of either clause.
Men and women do, however, differ in their borrowing. Men borrow
discourse markers less frequently than women; they constitute only 22% of
men's borrowings but 49% of women's (Winkler, 1998). This appears to have
changed little in recent years. With the addition of the new 2008 corpus,
men not only use discourse markers less frequently than women, but they
borrow fewer Spanish tokens of all sorts.
Although it is clear that the difference in language use by gender is an
product of the performance of gender roles and not simply biological sex,
making deeper claims about how people are "doing gender" is not possible at
this juncture as "gender is constructed in a complex array of social practices
within communities, practices that in many cases connect to personal attributes
and to power relations but that do so in varied, subtle, and changing ways"
(Eckert and McConnell-Ginet, 1992, p. 484). However, it is clear that men
perform one way in conversations with other men where they are expected
to be "one of the boys." Their speech reflects a casual disregard for social
"niceties" or any attendance to the needs of others (practices traditionally
considered to be within the domain of women). Nevertheless, in their
conversations with women, they are tentative and use features of language
that Cameron would label as "affective" in nature. According to Eckert and
McConnell-Ginet (1992, p. 469) "variables that women use more than men
throughout the different strata of a community signal female identity in that
community, and men who rarely use those variables thereby signal their male


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


identity." In this community people have very little freedom to step outside
of the roles that they are expected to play according to their sex.

Methodology

The corpus used for this study comes from interviews and candid recordings
made in 1997 for my dissertation and includes data from two subsequent
research trips in 2005 and 2008. All of the interviews from the first two trips
were recorded by either myself or a female native speaker of LC. Thus, there
were only a few candid recordings of male-only groups and a limited number
of conversations in which males dominated in terms of number or status. In
fact, in the 1997 corpus, the quantity of male speech collected was only 30%
of the corpus.
The intent of the 1997 data collection was to document morpho-
syntactic changes in LC due to contact with Spanish; therefore, no attempt
was made to elicit discourse markers; however, they occur quite naturally in
most conversations. The data are naturalistic. Much of the data come from
formal interviews in which people were asked to talk about their lives and the
history of the community. Many recordings were also made during normal
conversations with very tolerant neighbors and friends. Finally, there are
completely candid conversations recorded in bus stops, marketplaces, bars,
and at domino games in public venues.
The two goals of the 2008 trip were to increase the quantity of male
speech and to record conversations where men clearly dominated discourse.
The addition of the new corpus increases male speech to 41% of the total.2
All transcriptions were performed or verified by a native LC speaker before
being included in the total corpus, since as a nonnative speaker of the language
the author will certainly miss important insights. A fair distribution of urban
and rural speakers and varied levels of education characterize the combined
corpus. There is also a balance of middle-aged and older speakers; younger
speakers, those under 30, make up only 23% of the total.





2 This figure will rise when the transcriptions are complete although I do not expect the
additional corpus to deviate from what has already been transcribed.


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A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

The Data

This section will focus on a limited set of data. Four classes of discourse
markers have been selected for analysis because they show some very interesting
differences in use by gender: (i.) affirmations, (ii.) pause fillers and hedges,
(iii.) tag questions, and (iv.) emphatic markers. For each, the discussion will
be limited to several of the more frequently occurring markers.

Pausefillers and hedges
Five discourse markers are commonly used to fill pauses and to hedge
assertions in LC discourse: yu nuo, laik, se bueno,3 its LC counterpart well,
and es que (it's that). These markers are frequently used to hold the floor, as
shown in Example 4 when a middle-aged female, is struggling to complete
a thought:

Ex. 4: Dat's it! Dat's what we call, I say .. you'd say ... bueno, ellos
(them)!4

In terms of usage, even though well is frequently uttered by both men
and women, men use it more frequently. However, the borrowed Spanish
prestige form, bueno, is more often used by women, an indicator of women's
appropriation of the prestige variety. This is a pattern we will see throughout
the data, as shown below in Table 1.
The expression es que, which is used in Example 5, is common in LC
speech, especially among young people. It is also used by older members of
the community, even those who are not fully bilingual and have few other
loans from Spanish in their speech, as shown in Example 6:

Ex. 5: Es que, fa mi no difrence in to Black ar White bekaas to me da
color... nobody is more dan... evribody is da siem bekaas Gad mek
evribodi laik ow ee meks, so, duon matta di color.

Ex. 6: Wid da cow is cowbuai, es que yu av, wid da harsis yu av este (this)
[. .]

3 Although bueno can also be transcribed as good in English, there are no instances of bueno
being used as an affirmation in this corpus.
4 Spanish code-switches will be identified in parentheses after each occurrence.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


Grammatically, es que appears between two independent clauses. It contributes
no additional content to either clause-nor does it mark a relationship
between the two independent clauses. It is clearly used to fill a pause or, on
occasion, to signal that an explanation will follow.
Although the number of uses of es que is not exceedingly frequent in
the corpus, I heard it repeatedly in daily life. In fact, some older Black
people in Lim6n refer to eskipeople dem (those "es que people"), who are other
Blacks, usually students, who have gone off to the capital to study or work
and have come back to Lim6n speaking more Spanish than LC. This group
of individuals is said to say es que too frequently for their older relatives'
taste. Some older informants find this custom quite irritating, as noted in the
following conversation I had with one of my neighbors:

Ex. 7: E: Do you think you can keep Black culture alive without
English?
B: No, yu kyaan (neg) do without English. Yu av to to keep wit
English, yu kyaan do it wit Spanish. Tell about es que. An
dat's not English. Es que.
E: I do hear people say "Es que I gotta go."
B: Dats wrong. I'm gwain now or so, but es que? No, no, no.
E: Afi go now.
B: Dats right. I av to go now. Es que, I think it's wrong.

Another speaker, a middle-aged female, is also irritated by the use of es
que, although for a different reason. Her negative reaction stems from the
fact that many Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans call the creole Mek-ay-tel-yu.
This expression, meaning Let me tellyou something is oft heard when an adult
corrects a child's behavior or when any authority figure corrects someone of
lower status. The conversation below makes clear that es que is very frequently
used in Costa Rican Spanish, a fact that certainly contributes to the high rate
of borrowing of this phrase into LC.

Ex. 8: A: Oh yes, do yu agree to let dey call your language Mek-ay-tel yu?
B: No bekaas dat nat a niem for a language, bekaas I speak
Spanish, an I got dis what dey call a muletilla [Spanish filler
word], I say, es que, es que. Dey won't call Spanish es que. So
why should dey call creole Mek-ay-tel yu, right?


62 SARGASSO 2008-09,1




A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

Clearly the most frequent LC marker is laik se, which may be used to hold
the speaker's place in conversation or to hedge a bit about an uncomfortable
topic, not dissimilar to the use of like by teenagers in the USA, where like is
frequently used to introduce or hedge statements (Siegel, 2002). In Example
9, the speaker is trying to get a young mixed-race girl to say whether she has
close Black friends.

Ex. 9: An if yu go to a party, we laik se ders a Black, bueno, a skool
paati, an laik se you're white, your companeros dem, your
companions from school, an yu are laik se see a Black girl ar so,
yu all speak, yu all togeda?

Ex. 10: Yeah. But I notice, laik se, di kids are not coming laik se trii, four
years [...] dey duon spiik no no no Inglish at all! An yu spiik
to dem in Inglish an dey ansa in Spanish.

In Example 10 the speaker appears to use the marker to approach what might
be a sensitive topic while introducing an aspect of culture that had not been
part of the conversation.
The marker yu nuo plays a dual role as a discourse marker in LC: it can
be used both as a hedge or pause filler and an affirmation. Affirmations will
be discussed in a later section. Some of the uses are quite obviously stimulated
by the context; for example, yu nuo as a hedge comes up with market sellers
when they are negotiating a price: "Des cost, yu nuo, seventy." It also appears
when troublesome topics like race or politics are being discussed: "I duon laik
to go in color question bekaas, yu nuo, it is deep, concerning ries an stuff laik
dat bekaas I'm young an dirty ras dem kyaan cover my needs." It may also be
combined with laik to create a sort of super-hedge as in this example: "But
yesterday I tell yu go an, yu nuo, laik study."

Marker # (%) # (%)
Females Males
bueno 6 (1%) 2 (1.5)
well 93 (15.7) 117 (44.3)
es que 18 (3) 4 (1.5)
laikse 244 (41.4) 3 (1.1)
yu nuo 228 (38.7) 138 (52.3)
Table 1: Pause fillers and hedges


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


Table 1 illustrates that men are less likely to use Spanish hedges or place
holders than women. They do, however, make frequent use of LC well and
yu nuo in conversations with women. In fact, there are very few examples
of men using any kind of hedge to soften a statement or to keep the floor
in male-dominant conversations. Women's overwhelming ownership of the
marker laik se reflects a different discourse strategy. They may hedge their
assertions rather than making overt statements of fact in conversations with
both men and women. For men, on the other hand, one important aspect of
masculinity in Limon is being assertive and sure of oneself. Hedging your
assertions would lead to ridicule by other males.

Affirmations

A number of the borrowed discourse markers function as affirmations of a
preceding assertion. These include yu nuo, exactamente (exactly), and alrait.
As with the pause fillers and hedges, these lexemes are not syntactically
linked to the rest of the sentence, thus, exactamente is easily borrowed from
Spanish into LC. However, in my corpus there is not a single attestation of
a male using this borrowed Spanish marker.

Ex. 11: M: Girl dem was dem wat build themselves to werk as a slave,
ellos siempre (they always) all di taym dey been running dey be
running, gitanos (gypsies)!
F: Exactamente. Ok dat was my granfader parents dat side. An by
my maadas side now, mi granny her maada was da Canadian
liedy dat kuom down to Nicaragua in dem taym when dey,
remember when dem German an all dem people use to come
Nicaragua?

The most interesting affirmation is yu nuo, which is the most frequently
used discourse marker among both men and women. It is often used to assert
the truth of some information: "He's my fren, yu nuo." Women's usage ofyu
nuo almost doubles the use of men which can be attributed to the fact that
in LC speech, like in the speech of women in middle-class predominantly
white Euro-American cultures (Cameron 1992), women use affirmations to
signal shared beliefs or simply acknowledge agreement.


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A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE


Marker # (%) # (%)
females males
yu nuo 167 (91.8) 94 (67.1)
exactamente 9 (4.9) 0 (0)
alrait/rait 6 (3.2) 46 (32.9)

Table 2: Affirmations


Emphatic markers: ya and ras

In my study on the effect of borrowing from Spanish on LC,ya was the most
frequently borrowed word of any category, making up 25% of all the markers
borrowed (Winkler, 1998). That ya is borrowed so frequently is not particu-
larly surprising. Although it simply translates to enough orfinally, there is a
profound difference in meaning between the English and Spanish lexemes.
Ya in Spanish carries with it an emotional aspect of frustration or sense of
finality that is lacking in the corresponding LC lexemes. According to Butt
and Benjamin (1994), "Ya also has idiomatic uses, particularly with the non-
past tenses. It can indicate impatience, accumulated frustration, fulfilled ex-
pectations, resignation, certainty about the future or, in negative sentences,
denial of something expected." This may be the one borrowing in LC that
can be readily described on a certain level as need filling, since there is no
corresponding LC lexeme that carries the same meaning and emotional con-
tent. From personal experience, I can attest that this is an attractive lexeme
to borrow. It became so common in my own English that a Japanese student
picked it up from me and began to use it in English. Note the sense of final-
ity thatya gives to these statements:

Ex. 12: But, ya evribady big, work, an married.

Ex. 13: I use to do some werk, but ya I not doin it enymore, only fa ma
family.

In the total corpus, 93.7% of the instances of ya are uttered by women. As a
Spanish lexeme, it seems to be less attractive to LC males.
The Jamaican word ras is a recent import into LC, one integrated as
reconnections with Jamaica have lead to renewed immigration and as the


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


popularity of Jamaican music and culture spread. I have no attestations of
use by anyone over about forty years old and all 16 instances of its use were
produced by men. I have not found reference to its use in other works on LC.
In Example 14, a young man explains the situation of Blacks in Costa Rica:

Ex. 14: Yes but da one who feel muor di arson is di Black. Di Chinese
duon mek as much complain about wats gwain on bekaas da
Chinese economically an industrially set demself even in a
position more strong. Indians dem Indian reservation, but da
Negro, di Negro av nutin! Dey av lost, dem av lost de faam.
Dem av lost dat economical survival skill. Dem av lost dem
God, ras! Dis ting is laik, di Negro, it duon mek no sense, it
meks us anymore a ras, bekaas dem come be laik a fool towards
civilization in which da pipl dem are so boasted about stuff.

Ras seems to serve as the all-purpose obscenity marker or emphatic. The
frequent and public use of obscenity is certainly a marker of maleness in this
culture. The excerpt included in Example 16 comes from a conversation that
was recorded at a dominoes game. Ras appears in the speech of four of the
five men at the table.

Ex. 15: Juegame esa barra jueputa ("Play me that tile," plus obscenity). I
tel yu, yu fucka. I tel yu what to do, but yu duon tel me a ras.
Abundancia, duon nuo tu (you) ras.

Tag questions

One of the most studied aspects of language and gender is how men and
women use questions. Early research on the usage of questions by Lakoff
(1975) viewed them as a part of the strategies women employ. The idea was
that their submissive status in relation to men allowed them only indirect
means of making assertions or criticisms: "instead of simply stating facts
and opinions, women construct their propositions in a surface interrogative
form, inviting someone else to confirm their validity" (Cameron 1992, p.17).
Tag questions differ from yes/no or information questions in that they carry
meaning beyond the basic question. Consider, for example, the difference
in these two questions. You are coming to the party, aren't you? You aren't
coming to the party, are you?


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A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE

The use of tag questions, however, goes far beyond this simple usage and
explanation. Studies by researchers such as Lakoff and Cameron show that
men tend to use tags primarily to confirm information about which they are
unsure; in fact, they use double the number of these tags as women. Lakoff
called these legitimate tags. Women on the other hand, more frequently use
tags for a variety of other discourse purposes, usage which Lakoff categorized
as illegitimate tags. Holmes made a similar distinction, however, using less
pejorative terms for the same phenomenon. She refers to what Lakoff calls
legitimate tags as "speaker oriented, [which] serves to confirm information
for the speaker" (Cameron, 1992, p. 17). This can be seen in Example 16, in
which a speaker verifies a date:

Ex. 16: Six yier now, verdad? Six yiers, nineteen eighty-one.

Illegitimate tags have sometimes been thought of as 'hearer oriented.'
This type of tag has not always been interpreted negatively, as done by Lakoff
(1974). Holmes believes that these hearer-oriented tags should be seen as
attending to the needs and the 'face' of the hearer, rather than expressing the
speaker's tentativeness and lack of authority. In Example 17, the speaker
is informing me about something I know nothing about; therefore, the tag
cannot function as a request for my affirmation of information. By asking a
question, the speaker encourages the listener to enter into the conversation.

Ex. 17: She's a hot numba. A person dats always at da 69s, verdad?

In Example 18, the speaker signals to the listener a shared experience, in this
case the experience of being Black girls in a predominantly White school.

Ex. 18: But di oder one is dat when we go on di bus dey always making
mock of us, no?

In these first examples, the tags used are borrowed from Spanish: verdad?
(truly) and no? both of which appear sentence finally in LC and Spanish
grammatical constructions. Although this use of no as a question looks like
English, it can be determined to be Spanish from the intonational contour
and the roundness of the vowel. As can be seen in Table 3 below, the Spanish
tags are much more frequently used by women than men.


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ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


Tags may also be used to mitigate threats to face. The following tag
question occurred when an older male responded to a particularly ignorant
question I asked about the community:

Ex. 19: Yu duon nuo nutin much abowt Limon, no?

The most frequent native tag in LC is rayt (right). Other native tags,
like ok and understand also occur, but so infrequently as to be statistically
insignificant. In the following example, the speaker uses rayt in showing that
he is tentative about the claim being made:

Ex. 20: Dey duon laik to help Limon bekaas of Black pipl being der, rayt?

Marker # (%) # (%)
females males
rayt? 62 (76.5) 16 (76.1)
no? 9 (11.1) 4 (5.25)
verdad? 10(12.3) 1 (4.7)

Table 3: Tag Questions

An item-by-item analysis of what the tags are used for provides some
interesting results. First, tags are more likely to be used by women than men,
and women are more likely to use the Spanish tags than men. In addition,
differences in usage depend on the function for which function a tag is used.
For example, men were most likely to use tags to mitigate threats to face,
but only when they were speaking with women. Data do not reveal even a
single instance of a man doing this with another man, as the rules of male
comradeship appear not to include soft-soaping one another in this way.
Men do use tags to soften assertions in conversations, and are more likely to
do so with women than other men. This pattern may have something to do
with the fact that women often hold the purse strings. In male-only groups,
tags (all sorts) very rarely appeared. Men did not use tags to encourage the
participation of others; while Limonese women do, they do less frequently
than women in the other studies mentioned. This seems to have something to
do with the expectation that in everyday casual conversations, good speakers
fend for themselves.


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Conclusion

For every discourse marker that was switched from Spanish, women
dominated in its usage. According to Cameron (1992), women tend to be
more concerned with the production of prestige forms, thus, they are more
likely to borrow from or switch to Spanish. The use of a more 'pure' LC
by men, on the other hand, may be an example of what is termed covert
prestige (Trudgill, 1983). Although LC may be viewed as less prestigious
than Spanish or Standard varieties of English by the wider Costa Rican
community and many Limonese as well, this "purer variety" serves as a
marker of ethnic identity and social bonding for males.5
The range of native discourse markers available to women is also broader
than those used by men. The most basilectal varieties of LC speech for
males and females offer few examples of most of these markers. These
markers are more likely to be present in the speech of women who have gone
beyond elementary education. In general, women use discourse markers most
frequently to encourage the participation of others, to hedge an assertion,
and to signal a shared belief They use tag questions to affirm information as
well. They do this in conversations with both men and women.
Men, on the other hand, vary in their usage depending on whether they
are speaking to women or men. When speaking with women, they only
rarely use a tag question to confirm information and were more likely to
use them for what Cameron refers to as affective reasons-especially when
speaking with women. Male speakers of LC do so much more so than
the men in either Lakoff's or Cameron's studies. Nevertheless, in male-
dominant conversations, when they appear to be on an equal footing with
other conversation participants, the rules change. Apparently men neither
perceive much need to provide space or comfort to male speakers nor to
hedge their assertions and use fillers to hold the floor.
Females in the community have made important advances in power
relationships that have contributed to a shift in their speech patterns.
According to Herzfeld,


s This is not a reflection of less competence in Spanish. In the vast majority of cases, I
had the opportunity to observe male speakers using Spanish with monolingual Spanish
speakers. Only a few of the very oldest males and females did not have communicative
competence in Spanish. The men simply saw little need to use it.


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




ELIZABETH GRACE WINKLER


In Lim6n, women's speech has never been powerless, but lately it has
gained more power for various reasons: a) as educational and occupational
opportunities expand, women are more and more in control of their own
finances rather than being dependent on their men; b) in interaction with
other adults, women's speech is characterized by wit and smartness, a show
of unadulterated strength. (1997, p. 1)

Future research should look at these same women and their use of
discourse markers in their Spanish language conversations with non-Creole
males. This may provide some interesting results on how women "do gender"
with a group of males for whom the traditional gender roles are still in place.
Research in this and other Creole communities may well provide us with a
different perspective on usage of discourse markers as well as open up avenues
for research relating to language use differences linked to relationships among
gender, culture, and power.






























70 SARGASSO 2008-09,1




A GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS IN LIMONESE CREOLE


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72 SARGASSO 2008-09,






Indexing Desire: Men's Talk and the

Construction of Sexual Subjectivities

in a Panamanian Creole Community*
Peter Snow
Christopher Newport University

Introduction

The question of how children and other novices' come to u understand culturally
recognizable subject positions as either desirable or undesirable through recur-
ring communicative events has been addressed by researchers working within the
language socialization paradigm since the field's inception in the 1980s (Ochs &
Schieffelin, 1984; Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986a). The many language socialization
studies conducted in communities around the world have provided research-
ers with a much better understanding of how normatively sanctioned linguistic
and cultural practices come to be acquired and reproduced across generations
(see Garrett & Baquedano-Lopez, 2002 for a compendious overview). The
related question of how individuals in a particular culture come to understand
potentially "problematic" and normatively proscribed subjectivities as possible
and desirable has only recently begun to be addressed by language socialization
researchers (Kulick & Schieffelin, 2004). As a result, our understanding of the
relationship between language socialization and change (i.e. culturally "unex-
pected" outcomes) is far less robust and demands further development (see Gar-
rett, 2000, 2005; Kulick, 1992; Schieffelin, 2002). In this regard, one challenge
for researchers is to determine how to accurately document the ways in which

* This paper has benefited greatly from the comments of the editors. Any errors or short-
comings are my responsibility alone. The research on which this paper is based was sup-
ported by a University of California, Los Angeles International Studies and Overseas Pro-
grams Fieldwork Fellowship, a Christopher Newport University Dean's Office Grant, and
a Christopher Newport University Faculty Development Grant. I am deeply indebted to
the people of Bastimentos, Panama for welcoming me into their homes and allowing me to
participate in their lives.
'The term "novice" is used here to illustrate that language socialization is a collaborative,
lifelong process conjoining participants of all ages with varying levels of experience not
just adults and children across activity settings (see Ochs, 2001).


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


"certain children or other novices come to be what Louis Althusser (1971, p.
69) would call 'bad subjects' that is, subjects who do not recognize or respond
to calls to behave in particular, socially sanctioned ways" (Kulick & Schieffelin,
2004, p. 355). In other words, how and why do some novices come to un-
derstand certain cultural subjectivities as desirable when other members of the
society in which they live have overtly labeled those particular subject positions
as undesirable?
In this article, I suggest that analyzing the relationship between situated
discursive practices and the production and valorization of "problematic"
subjectivities can be useful for theorizing a socially mediated view of desire
(see Eckert, 2002, p. 100; Kulick, 2003). To demonstrate this, I examine how
a group of Panamanian men of different ages who do not consider themselves
to be "homosexual" or "bisexual" talk privately about having sex with other
men. Among the questions that arise are the following: How are young men
in this community socialized into understanding a proscribed sexual subject
position (men having sex with men) as possible and desirable through this
type of interaction? How is the production and occupation of this sexual
subject position enabled by relations of power among the participants? How
can interaction -an external, shared activity- index internal, individual desire?
Finally, how does a socially mediated view of desire contribute to emergent
understandings of the ways in which sexual subjectivities are culturally
organized and linguistically produced around the world?
In order to address these questions, I begin by describing in more de-
tail the relationship between desire, interaction, and culturally problematic
subjectivities. I then consider the potential of language socialization stud-
ies to illuminate the process whereby publicly undesirable subject positions
are intersubjectively reconstructed as privately desirable by examining one
young man's socializing experiences during men's talk that I observed, par-
ticipated in, and recorded on the Panamanian island of Bastimentos over the
course of fifteen years. I conclude by arguing that the application of a socially
mediated view of desire in sexual socialization contexts demonstrates the
inadequacy of dominant Western European-American binary conceptu-
alizations of sexual categorization -wherein the labels "heterosexual" and
"homosexual" index mutually exclusive categories of desire- and reveals
variability in the linguistic production and physical realization of sexual
subjectivities. By ethnographically foregrounding local understandings
of public and private contexts, the article subverts prevailing theories of


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INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


men's talk and masculinity that conflate "masculine" subject positions with
"heterosexual" subject positions. Almost without exception, linguists analyz-
ing men's talk have claimed that so-called heterosexual men are constrained
by hegemonicc" (i.e. "approved") norms of masculinity (see Connell, 1995)
and that "men in all-male groups must unambiguously display their hetero-
sexual orientation" (Cameron, 1997, p. 61; see also Coates, 2003). The data
presented in this article contradict these reports and reveal how some men
index desire and masculinity by privately co-constructing publicly "unap-
proved" sexual subjectivities.

Toward a Socially Mediated View of Desire

As linguists, our interest in sexuality is in its social life in how we use
language to accomplish sexual ends, how we talk about sexuality, how we
index sexuality when we talk about other things, how we use language
in and around sexual activity, how we use language to organize ourselves
socially around sexuality, and how we use language to organize ourselves
sexually around sociability. (Eckert, 2002, p. 100)

Recent scholarship in the field of language and sexuality has created a schism
of sorts between linguists who favor an identity-based approach to sexuality
and linguists who favor a desire-centered view of sexuality. While it is beyond
the scope of the present paper to provide a comprehensive overview of this
ongoing debate, a sketch of the theoretical and methodological differences
of the two camps is necessary (see Bucholtz & Hall, 2004 for an exhaustive
summary). Briefly, proponents of the identity-based approach believe that
the semiotic study of social intersubjectivity is the most productive approach
to understanding the relationship between language and the ideologies,
practices and identities that constitute human sexuality (Bucholtz & Hall,
2004, 2005). Recent articulations of the identity-based approach analyze
sexuality as a broad sociocultural phenomenon, yet the foregrounding of
'identity' arises most directly from sociolinguistic theory and, in particular, the
study of language and social interaction. Proponents of the desire-centered
view of sexuality, on the other hand, believe that the study of language and
sexuality is not coextensive with the study of language and sexual identity
but is in fact something broader and that the most productive approach to
understanding the relationship between language and sexuality is through a
consideration of culturally recognizable subject positions and the desires and
practices of the people who inhabit them (Cameron & Kulick, 2003; Kulick,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


2000, 2003; Kulick & Schieffelin, 2004). The desire-centered view also
analyzes sexuality as a broad sociocultural phenomenon, yet its foregrounding
of 'subjects' and 'subjectivities' (see Kulick & Schieffelin, 2004) arises most
directly from French poststructuralist theory (see Lacan, 2006; Foucault,
1980) and US linguistic anthropological theory (see Duranti, 1997, 2004),
especially the ethnographic and longitudinal approach to the acquisition of
language and culture required of language socialization studies (see Garrett,
2007; Garrett & Baquedano-Lopez, 2002).
Following Kulick and Schieffelin (2004), this paper focuses on subjectivity
and desire in an attempt to better understand the relationship between
language socialization and change as it pertains to culturally problematic
sexual subject positions in one island community in the Western Caribbean.
By focusing on one young man's participation in men's private talk about
sex and his participation in sexual activities from the age of 20 to the age of
35, the paper demonstrates how novices in this community are socialized
to accept an overtly stigmatized subject position as covertly desirable and
actionable through situated discursive practices that pragmatically utilize
language to index an "unexpected" form of same-sex desire.

Bastimentos: Public and Private Traditions from Elsewhere

The geographic location of the community under consideration plays a central
role in the discussion of how young men in Bastimentos become particular
kinds of subjects. The island of Bastimentos is located approximately sixteen
kilometers off the coast of Panama in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the
Western Caribbean Sea (see Figure 1).
The island of Bastimentos sits smack on the border between what
Augelli (1962) labeled the "Euro-African Caribbean Rimland" and the
"Euro-Indian Mainland." Augelli's study demonstrates cartographically
where the cultural and linguistic traditions of Mexico and Central America
(i.e. the "Euro-Indian Mainland") collide with those of the Caribbean (i.e.
the "Euro-African Caribbean Rimland").
In 1962, most communities along the Caribbean coast of Central
America- Bastimentos included- were more closely aligned, both culturally
and linguistically, with the Creole English-speaking islands of the West
Indies than with Spanish-speaking Central America. Forty-five years later,
however, the conditions of contact in the region have intensified and the


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INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


Figure 1: Bastimentos, Panama


border between Rimland and Mainland has grown fuzzier. While some
Central American Creole communities remain relatively unassimilated both
culturally and linguistically, virtually all of the Creole communities along
the Caribbean coast of Central America have been affected by the arrival
of Spanish-speakers from the mainland and their cultural traditions (see
Bonner, 2001; Snow, 2004). In addition, these communities continue to be
affected by linguistic and cultural traditions associated with the West Indies
and, with the burgeoning of international tourism in the region, they are now
influenced by linguistic and cultural traditions from around the world (see
Snow, 2007).
Two opposed cultural traditions currently coexist in Bastimentos, one
private with roots in the Spanish-speaking mainland and one public with
roots in the Creole-speaking West Indies. In Latin America, as in most
other parts of the world, some men who have sex with other men -frequently
shortened to MSM (see Young & Meyer, 2005)- do not necessarily consider
themselves to be "homosexual" or "bisexual" (Carrillo, 2003; Lancaster, 1992,


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


1997). Many such men see themselves as "normal" males who just happen
to have sex with other men. The crucial determinant of the homosexual
subject position in Latin America is the role performed during the sexual
act. Men who sexually penetrate (activos or machos) other men may maintain
their masculinity and may not be considered homosexual. Men who allow
themselves to be penetrated (pasivos or maricdnes) forfeit their masculinity
and are considered to be homosexual. Some men in Bastimentos privately
subscribe to a similar view of sexuality. These men have sex with other men
and -in certain private contexts- talk about it.
At the same time, dancehall -a virulently homophobic musical tradition
fromJamaica that is also known as bashment- has in recentyears been embraced
by many of the young men in Bastimentos. The slack lyrics of dancehall
focus on violence and sexuality and are partly responsible for reproducing
local public attitudes towards the subject positions under consideration.
Dancehall lyrics -which frequently describe how homosexuals (batty-man
and batty bwoy) should be beaten or killed (see Sobo, 1993; Chin, 1997;
Murray, 2002; Farquharson, 2005)- are publicly celebrated by young men in
Bastimentos as they are in Jamaica and for much the same reason:2

Gay-bashing is one of the ways in which (young) Jamaican men construct
a heterosexual identity which is the same cultural practice embodied in
the public performance done on stage by dancehall artists. (Farquharson,
2005, p. 107)

The question that arises, then, is how do young men in Bastimentos rec-
oncile these two contrasting cultural traditions from elsewhere as they navigate
public and private contexts (i.e., killing batty-bwoys is co-constructed as desirable
in public contexts while having sex with maricdnes is co-constructed as desirable
in private contexts)? The key to understanding the negotiation of these oppo-
sitional subjectivities resides in the ideology of differentiation inherent in the
public/private distinction in everyday life. Gal (2002,2005) points out that the
public/private distinction is a language ideology of differentiation that "divides
spaces, moralities, types of people, activities, and linguistic practices into opposed
categories" (2005, p. 24). Gal goes on to point out:


3 Homophobic men's talk appears to be a salient marker of emergent masculinity across
cultures (see Coates, 2003; Frosh, Phoenix, & Pattman, 2002).


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INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


[...] the interactional effect ofpublicness or privateness is created through
contrasting interactional practices that are themselves interpreted
through a language ideology that formulates (pre-supposes) the values
and cultural images identified as characteristic -emblematic, iconic- of
public and private. (2005, p. 24)

In Bastimentos, the distinction between public and private talk is
not so much about the division of physical spaces based on types of
ownership and access (although that is certainly a part of it) as it is
about the division of participants based on levels of intimacy and trust.
"Private" talk is "closed" to outsiders. "Public" talk is "open" to outsiders.
An outsider is anyone the group decides should not be included in the
discussion of a particular topic for whatever the reason, but generally
because they cannot be trusted to keep the private talk private (i.e. they
chat too much). Private/closed talk can (and frequently does) occur
among intimates in "private" spaces (homes, boats, beaches and other
inaccessible spaces) where there are no outsiders present. But it can also
occur in "public" spaces (shops, bars, parks and other accessible spaces)
as long as it cannot be overheard or understood by outsiders who may be
present. Public/open talk takes place in public spaces and anyone may
participate. Language ideologies and the language varieties that they are
mapped onto play an important role in defining and maintaining the
boundaries between public/open talk and private/closed talk. The local
variety of Bastimentos Creole English, for example, is frequently used by
residents to exclude non-Creole speakers from private talk even though
all of the participants are sharing the same public space.
This ideological opposition is also apparent in the bilingual lexicon
that separates men who have sex with men in discrete linguistic and
cultural categories in order to display what is desirable across public and
private contexts (see Pujolar i Cos, 1997; Garrett, 2007). In public, for
example, terms borrowed from Caribbean English varieties (batty-man,
batty-bwoy, and punk) are used to talk disparagingly about men who are
sexually penetrated by other men. Privately, men will use Spanish terms
(maricdn and hueco) to talk about the covert possibility of men having sex
with men and, again, the lexical items refer only to those men who are
penetrated by other men. The fact that in Bastimentos there are no terms
in Spanish or in Creole used to describe men who penetrate other men


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


is central to an understanding of participation roles -both discursive and
sexual- in the community.3
Ultimately, it is by coming to understand the significance of certain
private interactional practices and indexical signs of desire that young men
in Bastimentos eventually learn to articulate -and act upon- this ideological
distinction. The remainder of the paper will discuss how young men in this
community are socialized to accept publicly problematic subject positions as
privately desirable through situated discursive practices and consider how
the relationship between these discursive practices and the valorization of
"problematic" subjectivities can be useful for theorizing a socially mediated
view of desire.

Learning to Participate in Talk about Sex with Men

In Bastimentos, when men get together to chat ras ('shoot the breeze') there
is a local template for participation based on age and experience despite the
informal nature of the talk: without exception, the younger the participant,
the less time spent talking. Younger participants have less experience in the
world and therefore less power in interactions with older men (see Kiesling,
1997). Younger men may be seen as the passive participants who are
dominated by the more active older men through a variety of participatory
strategies.4Socialization studies that focus on participation are concerned
with, among other things, the following questions: Who gets to talk?
When? About what? Who are the experts? Who are the novices? How are
the participants' roles established and carried out? More significantly, how
are certain forms of social organization intersubjectively created through
participation in these communicative events and in what ways do these forms
of social organization contribute to the socialization of novices?
The data used for the present analysis are derived from over sixty hours
of audio-recorded spontaneous conversations collected on more than twenty
separate occasions during the summers (June-August) of 2000, 2001, 2005,
2007, and 2008. Observations from 1993-1995, when the researcher lived

3 Terms such as activos, tops, machos, verdaderos, etc. are used in other parts of the world to
describe men who penetrate other men, but they are not used in Bastimentos.
4The term participatory refers to Goodwin's sense of participation as "actions demonstrat-
ing forms of involvement performed by parties within evolving structures of talk" (2001, p.
173).


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INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


continuously on the island, also inform the analysis. The discussion focuses
on the participation and socialization of one individual, Bolo,5 over the course
of fifteen years. When I first met him in 1993, Bolo was twenty years old.
Over the course of two years we became good friends and when I returned
to Bastimentos in 2000 to conduct fieldwork after a five-year absence, he
became one of my primary informants. Bolo did not get married until the age
of thirty-two and, like many young men on the island, he spent his twenties
pursuing young women and, when he wasn't doing that, talking about his
pursuits.
In general, when young men in Bastimentos get together to talk and
the talk turns to sex, the focus is on reconstructing subject positions that are
normatively sanctioned. This means that the unfailingly boastful talk, both
in public and private discourse, is about sex with women. This is not unlike
men's talk in many communities around the world (see Johnson & Meinhof,
1997; Murray 2002; Coates, 2003). Similarly, when older men and younger
men talk publicly about sex the focus is almost exclusively on having sex with
women.6 The focus on men having sex with women may change, however,
when young men get together with older men and talk privately about sex.
On some occasions, older men may intersubjectively create unexpected
subjectivities by boasting about having -and having had- sex with men. There
is no apparent trigger for these boasts; they may occur spontaneously at any
point in the conversation. Younger participants in such interactions initially
treat such talk with macho scorn, eventually grow to think of such talk as
humorous, and finally come to understand that such talk indexes a type of
desire that is, despite being publicly proscribed, privately possible.
The excerpts that follow, quotidian bits of discourse, chart the evolution
of Bolo's participation in men's talk about sex in private interactions. While
the examples focus on the participation of a particular individual, the excerpts
are emblematic of men's talk about sex on the island in terms of both content
and participation in public and private contexts. I frequently heard such
talk involving other men, both young and old, throughout the course of my
research but was able to track only Bolo's socialization longitudinally.
In the first excerpt, a group of three older men (over forty) and two
younger men (under twenty-five) have been chatting privately in the shade

SAll names are pseudonyms.
6 Men will occasionally taunt one another in public about being punks, but such talk is un-
derstood by all participants to be humorous.


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PETER SNOW


on a remote beach about a range of non-sexual topics when they reach a
lull in the conversation and one of the older participants suddenly mentions
going to a brothel in the town of Guabito on the border with Costa Rica (all
participants are male and are identified by their ages):

Excerpt 1: Men's Private Talk: Bolo, age 20
43: Make we go Guabito. Drink some beer and look pon
some white girl some white Spaniard.
55: If you go you wan fuck not true? You kyaan go look
pon woman just go look pon woman. As you see
woman you wan fuck you know! Yeah as a man see
woman to fuck sweet woman you feel it to ras!
43: I gun come out here Saturday and drink some punch
and then I gun go Guabito and pop my three.
Bolo: You wouldn't make some punch? You no got egg?
55: Why di fuck you never bring me none?

In this interaction, speaker 43 casually introduces the topic of sex with female
prostitutes by suggesting -out of the blue- that the group take a trip to a
well-known brothel on the mainland, drink some beer, and lookpon ('check
out') the prostitutes. The oldest participant, speaker 55, quickly revises the
verb choice to more accurately reflect the normatively sanctioned desire of
a male visiting a brothel: men simply cannot look at prostitutes without
wanting tofuck. The repetition of fuck throughout his utterance explicitly
indexes this type of instinctive desire to have sex with women that menfeel
to ras fuckingng feel'). Without missing a beat, speaker 43 socially reinforces
this construct of animal desire which must be acted upon by mentioning that
he's going to drink some punch (a local drink made from sea turtle eggs widely
believed to have aphrodisiacal properties) and then pop ('have sex') three
times. Working together, the older men co-construct their sexuality through
talk that externally indexes a specific type of internal desire. This type of
men's talk about sex with women is quite common among younger and older
participants in both public and private contexts and serves to reproduce this
normatively sanctioned subjectivity in the community.
When twenty year-old Bolo, the novice in the group, decides to participate
in the on-going talk he does not refer to sex per se, but chooses instead to pick
up on the punch thread by demanding that the oldest participant get some turtle


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INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


eggs and make some punch for the group. Bolo's decision not to mention the
sexual act was almost certainly due to the fact that he, as a novice, recognized
that his own sexual inexperience could and probably would be used against him
by the older participants. Older men will frequently question the credibility of
younger men who attempt to act like big man with a variety of face-threatening
acts. Indeed, participants in storytelling activities during men's talk utilize both
face-threatening and face-saving utterances to assess ongoing talk and, strikingly,
to pragmatically index active and passive sexual roles (see Snow, 2005). By com-
bining the possessive pronouns mi ('my') andyu ('your') with the lexical itemsfok
('fuck(hole)') and ras ('arse(hole)'), participants are able to either threaten the face
of the storyteller (yufok or yu ras, literally 'your fuck(hole)' or 'your arse(hole)',
glossed as fuckk you') or save the face of the storyteller (mifok or mi ras, literally
'my fuck(hole)' or 'my arse(hole)', glossed as fuckk me'). In other words, yufok
and yu ras ('(I) fuck you') are face-threatening exclamations of disbelief and dis-
gust that signify non-alignment towards the storyteller's talk and announce that
the storyteller has lost discursive control and should therefore be fuckedd' by the
listener. Mifok and mi ras ('(you) fuck me'), on the other hand, are face-saving
exclamations of astonishment that signify alignment towards the storyteller's
talk and announce that the storyteller has maintained discursive control and is
therefore in the position to fuckk' the listener. In other words, the discourse roles
mirror the sexual roles. So in Excerpt 1, even though Bolo chose to mention
punch and not actual sex, speaker 55 still fails to ratify Bolo's utterance, dominat-
ing him through discourse and reinforcing Bolo's status as a novice (i.e. if you
wanted me to make punch, you should have brought the eggs yourself).
In Excerpt 2, Bolo is still a young man (twenty-two years old) but this
time the talk is about men having sex with other men. There had been a
story on the news about transgendered prostitutes in Panama City (see also
Kulick, 1998) that discussed how the men who picked them up were shocked
to discover that they were not actually women. The talk turned to what the
four men (two under twenty-seven and two over forty-five) in this interaction
would do if they found themselves in a similar situation:

Excerpt 2: Men's Private Talk: Bolo, age 22
49: Well I tell you Mario [53], if I go about directly-
well I don't know directly- and I kiss him up and
we go hotel and do dat kind of thing-
Bolo: You beat di batty-bwoy ras!


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


49: And waste up my money pon him, I think I'm wan
have to fuck dat maricdn. Yeah.
53: Yeah yeah yeah.
49: Because afta you wan begin kiss him up den- den you
know- you fuck him- you wan get your fuckin bread
and run him!

In this excerpt, Bolo unsuccessfully transfers a public discourse strategy to a
private interaction and, in the process, discovers that what he had previously
experienced as only an overtly problematic subject position is actually covertly
desirable.
Speaker 49 begins by addressing speaker 53 (and not, it should be noted,
the younger men) and describing what he would do if he had kissed him up
('engaged in foreplay') and gone hotel when Bolo suddenly interrupts and,
attempting to anticipate speaker 49's next statement, interjects that the batty-
bwoy should be beaten. Speaker 49, however, does not talk about beating the
male prostitute in order to display a "heterosexual" orientation (see Cameron,
1997,) but suggests instead that he would (wan have to) fuck dat maricdn. The
speaker's use of wan have to is crucial for an understanding of the framing
of desire in this utterance: not only would he have sex with the man but he
has to have sex with the man; he is financially obligated to have sex with the
man since he has already wasted up his moneypon him (i.e., for drinks and the
hotel room). Speaker 53's immediate ratification of this statement serves to
co-construct and valorize this unexpected articulation of sexuality. Again,
the external talk delineates a specific type of internal desire: if you've already
kissed him up and the experience left you sexually aroused, it's simple (you
know): youfuck him. You're not going to worry about the fact that he's a male,
you're not going to pay him, of course, (you get yourfucking bread) and when
you're finished you're going to throw him out of the room (run him), but you
are most certainly going to have sex with him.
Bolo's use of the English lexical item batty-bwoy (borrowed from public
sex speech about men who are penetrated by other men and who should
therefore be beaten) contrasts quite clearly with speaker 49's use of Spanish
maricdn (from private sex speech about men who may be penetrated by other
men). This lexical contrast indexes an ideological distinction that exposes
the novices present to the significance of certain private iconic signs of desire
that they will eventually learn to articulate and act upon.


SARGASSO 2008-09,1




INDEXING DESIRE: MEN'S TALK...


Bolo's participation in men's private talk about sex with men evolved
over the next five years from the macho scorn typical of public discourse to
nervously treating such talk as humorous and, it would seem, socially much
less problematic. Interestingly, awareness of sexually transmitted diseases,
especially SIDA ('HIV/AIDS'), also appears to have increased during this
time period:

Excerpt 3: Men's Private Talk: Bolo, age 27
50: You ever grab any maricdn yet Chato?
Bolo: [No yet!] ((laughing))
63: [Yeah] but dat time SIDA never de.
Thirty dollar I fuck it but dem time SIDA never de.

At this point in Bolo's development, when the topic of men having sex with
men is spontaneously broached by speaker 50, rather than using derogatory
public language as he did when he was younger, Bolo again attempts to
anticipate the older man's response and interjects, jokingly, no yet ('not yet
[but he will soon]'). While he now has a better understanding of the subject
position under consideration (indexed by speaker 50's use of maricdn) and
recognizes that such a type of desire (grab) is possible, Bolo's utterance is still
wide off the mark in terms of participatory accuracy. It turns out that speaker
63 has, in fact, had sex with a male prostitute (thirty dollar Ifuck it). This
renders Bolo's attempt at constructing a status-leveling joking relationship
with the older men unsuccessful and demonstrates that he is still a dominated
novice in this domain of private talk. At the same time, speaker 63's blunt
admission of having had sex with a male prostitute undermines public (and
Western European-American) understandings of men's talk about sex.
Seven years later, in 2007, Bolo was thirty-four and had been 'married'
for two years. In Bastimentos, very few couples are married 'by the church'
and being 'married' almost always refers to a common-law arrangement
where men and women who cohabitate present themselves to the world
as spouses. Because this type of arrangement requires that the man and
woman live together, young men and women in Bastimentos frequently do
not 'get married' until the young man has built himself a house of his own.
This means that many young people who live separately in their parents'
homes may have children together long before they 'get married' (and many
young people who do have children together never 'get married'). At thirty-


Linguistic Explorations of Gender & Sexuality




PETER SNOW


four, Bolo had a house, a wife, and a child establishing himself as a big man
('adult with responsibilities') in the community. Bolo's newly defined status
(married with child) and growing awareness of the norms of private talk and
private desire allowed him to participate in sex talk and sex acts in new ways.
No longer the lickle bwoy he was as an unmarried, childless novice, Bolo now
asserts his domination across interactions.

Excerpt 4: Men's Private Talk: Bolo, age 34
Bolo: Make I grab Jookempalo and go and lick it to di bag
pon him!
57: SIDA would grab him ras you know Cabro.
Bolo: I would fuck Jookempalo you know.
27: Jesus Christ!
57: SIDA would grab him you know.

In Excerpt 4, Bolo demonstrates his interactional authority by introducing
the talk about sex with men. The prior topic had been a discussion of the
many tourists from around the world who had recently begun arriving on
the island and which nationality was the cheapest. In light of this, Bolo's
seemingly random statement about grabbing a well-known maric6n in the
community who has been given (and accepted) the nickname Jookempalo7
reveals that he now recognizes how to launch a discussion about sex with
men (i.e. anytime you want). Bolo's statements about having sex with
Jookempalo and penetrating him deeply (lick ['hit'] it to di bag ['scrotum']
pon him) are significant both for their cultural content and for the specific
grammatical devices that are used to express this content, particularly the
conditional'would' in the utterance I wouldfuckJookempalo you know. Kulick
and Schieffelin point out that conditionals can be viewed as "templates for
displaying what is culturally desirable, and what is not" (2004, p. 363). They
also discuss how conditionalss and the speech acts expressed through them
provide a framework for using linguistic and discourse data to tap into cultural
and social categories" (Kulick and Schieffelin 2004, p. 364). In this sense,
then, Bolo's statement that he 'would fuck Jookempalo' indexes his private
desire and legitimizes this private desire as a possible cultural category. The

7 It should be pointed out thatjook is a vulgar Creole English term for fuckk' and palo is
Spanish for 'stick,' so the nickname translates, roughly, as 'stickfucker.'


SARGASSO 2008-09,1




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