The Influence of Language Ideologies on Education in Trinidad and Tobago

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Gail Shuck


Our research aims to answer the question, what are the language ideologies of Trinidadian and Tobagonians, and how does this reflect the use and teaching of Standard English? Defined briefly, language ideologies are beliefs about languages and language users based on social, political, economic, and cultural experiences held by a population. This question can be answered, at least in part by determining the relationship between dialects, linguistic influences, Creoles, and the use of English outside the classroom. We’ll examine the differences between the effect of generation, region, education, and other social status variables that may alter the ideologies of English as a standard language. Our research will provide insight on which language presides as the standard for native speakers, especially in educational contexts, as well as explore the various confines that English and Creole based dialects reside and overlap throughout both islands and a single country. It is important to look at how ideologies and the spread of English affect countries implementing English in education around the world. This feeds information into the question, how do language ideologies affect the power dynamics between dialects and forms of English? Through this research we are able to look at suppression or revival of native languages or dialects, English education on a global scale, and the importance of language variation. The essential questions of our research are:

  • What are the language ideologies held by residents of the islands?
  • How does the use of English in schools affect discourse and dialect/ creole variations inside and outside the academic setting?

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