dissertation: L íngua e Poder em Cabo Verde: a Situação de Diglossia nas Escolas Primárias

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 15:52:35 UTC 2008

 Língua e Poder em Cabo Verde: a Situação de Diglossia nas Escolas Primárias

Institution: University of Zurich
Program: Nachforschungskredit der Universität Zürich
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Ana Cristina Neves

Dissertation Title: Língua e Poder em Cabo Verde: a Situação de
Diglossia nas Escolas Primárias

Dissertation URL:

Subject Language(s): Kabuverdianu (kea)
                            Portuguese (por)

Dissertation Director:
Dr. Georg Bossong

Dissertation Abstract:

The subject under study in this dissertation occupies a position between
the Capeverdean language and the official Portuguese language: the
indigenized variety (IV) of Portuguese spoken in Cape Verde. The challenge
of this research project is that the source of the linguistic material
analyzed is principally the mesolectal portion of a linguistic continuum
with two extremes: at one end of the continuum the Creole language, which
sociopolitically has assumed the role of the low language variety, even
though it is the national language; and, at the other end, the high variety
and official language, Portuguese. Furthermore, second language (L2)
learning by children in grades 4 and 6 is taken into account for the first
time in this specific sociolinguistic context.

The analysis was based on the following assumptions: 1) when learning their
L2 the Cape Verdean speakers learn a variety of Portuguese which is
influenced by sociolinguistic factors, such as the geographical area at
every learning level; 2) the pupils in grades 4 and 6 use similar
non-standard constructions, despite the longer exposure of the latter to
the L2; 3) during the L2 learning process, there are grammatical categories
which are more readily observable as language change in the vertical
(grades/school years and age groups) and horizontal continua (physical and
social space), while other categories are more sensitive to inter- and
intralinguistic interference. In either case, non-standard constructions
were considered to be instances of true linguistic creativity.

The main objective of this dissertation is the description of the
indigenized Cape Verdean variety of Portuguese as used by children aged 8
to 13 at school. This age group includes two of the grades most often
repeated in this school system, namely grades 4 and 6, which also mark
transitions between levels of compulsory education. The target population
was asked to fill out a sociolinguistic questionnaire, write a composition
and orally retell a story based on a given picture.

>>From the sociolinguistic point of view, the coexistence of two languages
with differentiated roles has led to the formation of two continua: on the
horizontal axis, i.e., between regions and islands, which is evident in the
area of phonology but also in the lexicon, and on the vertical axis, i.e.
in connection with students' age and cognitive development, as is more
clearly visible in the syntactic and morphological subcategories.
Interestingly, the geographical continuum of this IV does not correspond to
the conventional division of the Cape Verdean language into northern and
southern varieties. Instead, a dividing line between western and eastern
islands emerged.

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