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Medford, Kendall

Medford, Kendall

PhD student in linguistics @ Tulane University


Kendall Medford is a PhD Candidate in linguistics at Tulane University. Her research explores sociolinguistic variation in Caribbean Spanish dialects. Her primary research focuses on Haitian Creole usage in the Dominican Republic. It seeks to examine the role language plays in the lives of Haitian migrants and their descendants in the country, particularly regarding issues of bilingualism and marginalization. For her research, she has received a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship from the US Department of Education for the advanced study of Haitian Creole (2021, 2023) and a Field Research Grant from the Stone Center for Latin American Studies (2022) to carry out fieldwork in the Dominican Republic.

Geographical location : New Orleans, USA

Research Area and Interest : Caribbean Spanish dialects, Haitian Creole contact in the Caribbean, language use in reggaetón and dembow, language policy and attitudes in the Caribbean

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“Eso no es Kreyòl”: A case study of linguistic insecurity among Haitian Creole speakers in the Dominican Republic
Summary: This research explores the contemporary language attitudes of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic towards Haitian Creole. Using 4 ethnolinguistic interviews conducted in 2022 in a former batey town of the Dominican Republic, the author provides a case study of the complex sociolinguistic situation of Haitian descendants in the country. Focus is placed on how speaker’s command of Haitian Creole impacts their sense of ethnolinguistic identity and group belonging within the Haitian diaspora. This group of speakers expresses feeling excluded from both Haitian and Dominican nationalities because of their language use, employing the term patois to describe their variety of Creole, as opposed to kreyòl, thereby setting themselves apart from Haitians. The symbolic importance of Creole fluency – “kreyòl puro” – is a strong prerequisite for ethnic self-identification for these speakers. Through this case study, this work provides a detailed examination of the idiosyncratic characteristics associated with a particular variety of Creole in the diaspora.

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