From Oral to Literate Culture: Colonial Experience in the English West Indies

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9789766400378: From Oral to Literate Culture: Colonial Experience in the English West Indies
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This study presents the movement from an oral to a literate culture in the West Indies with the English language as central to this movement. The period examined, from the start of the first English settlement in the islands up to the time of Emancipation, was the period which established the foundations of West Indian society. The study relates the movement towards a literate culture to the development of methods of communication in the plantation slave society, to general literary and intellectual development, and to the expansion of formal education. Literacy in English is regarded as a barometer of social development because the English language was sustained internally and externally as the language of those who ruled and, contrary to fundamental notions associated with the power of literacy, it maintained privilege within certain sectors of the society. There is no other study which provides the interdisciplinary approach of this work in accounting for the development of literate culture in the West Indies.

About the Author:

Peter Roberts has been a member of the Linguistics Department at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados since 1974 during which time he has served as head of department, campus dean and university dean of the Faculty. Former president of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics (1990-1992) and author of "CXC English" and "West Indians and their Language", Roberts has maintained his research interests in the areas of language in the Caribbean, and language learning and teaching.

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