in the UK
Through an analysis of linguistic patterns and speakers' social networks, this study examines how the descendants of Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants from Porto Velho, Brazil contribute either to the maintenance of the English language and the consequent preservation of bilingualism, or to the dominance of the Portuguese language. The work also analyzes how these patterns are linked to group conceptions, to ethnic identity and to social and economic status in Portuguese. The ethnographic methodology helped to discover the basic patterns of informal social interaction and organization prior to a network analysis. The most important historical and geographical characteristics of the city and the afro-descendants were provided. This study explains through a large literature the probable phenomena occurred in multicultural environments and the similar cases in Brazil and in the world. Although a group of the urban zone kept its minority language since the beginning of immigration until the present, many factors had caused the linguistic change such as racial prejudice suffered by people from the community, and the low status of this variety. The members' social networks demonstrated that the lack of webs of transactions among speakers was a factor of sparse and uniplex network and the probable cause of language shift. Through the morphosyntactical description, some structures with deviations of Standard English showed parallelisms with the Creole English spoken in Barbados, with other Atlantic Creoles, varieties of Non-Standard English, some African languages and with Brazilian Portuguese. Moreover, the interference of Portuguese in the lexicon of the focused variety was also provided. This investigation also showed that the oldest speakers are bilingual, although an increased use of the Portuguese between them. However, the English is disappearing among the youngest speakers that are changing to Portuguese, in which the great majority is monolingual and with a decrease in the passive competence in English.
Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
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