The preserve of the rural elderly, or a language for modern life? Authenticity, anonymity and indexical ambiguity in Martinican Creole


  • Chiara Ardoino Queen Mary University of London
  • Noémie François-Haugrin Université des Antilles
  • Stéphane Térosier Leiden University



Martinican Creole, minority languages, standardization, purism, status, indexicalities


This paper investigates the effects of (ongoing) standardization on linguistic attitudes and representations in the French Caribbean island of Martinique, where traditionally stigmatized Martinican Creole (MC) boasts a quasi-official orthography and some representation in formal domains. We use socio-biographical, perceptual and attitudinal data from a questionnaire-based study to investigate the relation between respondents’ (i) exposure to ‘activist’ MC – as a proxy for standardization; (ii) attitudes to MC on the status dimension; (iii) purism and (iv) breaking away from traditional MC indexicalities. Two findings are particularly noteworthy. First, exposure to activist MC fails to predict purist attitudes towards MC, which are similarly high regardless of respondents’ degree of exposure. Secondly, we find a mismatch between highly positive status attitudes and the persistence of traditional low-status MC indexicalities. We argue that, while some traditional indexicalities may wane as the standardization process progresses, others are essential to MC’s enduring representation as an authentic language and, therefore, less likely to recede.




How to Cite

Ardoino, Chiara, Noémie François-Haugrin, and Stéphane Térosier. 2024. “The Preserve of the Rural Elderly, or a Language for Modern Life? Authenticity, Anonymity and Indexical Ambiguity in Martinican Creole”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5706.