Department of Anthropology

Barbara Bullock/Jacqueline Toribio - Seminar Series 2010-11

Mon, October 4, 2010 | EPS 1.128

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Barbara Bullock/Jacqueline Toribio - Seminar Series 2010-11

"From Trujillo to the terremoto: The effect of language ideologies on the children of the rural poor in the northern Dominican Republic"

During the years of the Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961), the intellectuals of the Dominican Republic forged a new vision of their country founded on anti-Haitian nationalism. Nowhere was the battle to remove the Haitian influence from the Dominican border waged more bureaucratically and more brutally than in the north. Our work examines the residual effects of three quarters of a century of anti-Haitian propaganda on the language attitudes and ideologies of contemporary children in the northern Dominican Republic. Focused on interviews with 90 Dominican fronterizo children and adolescents, many of who are descendents of Haitians, our findings reveal that their attitudes towards Haitian Creole mirror broader negative assessments of its speakers. It is a language that they decidedly do not want to learn, although they regularly interact with Haitian speakers. In addition, a majority of the children are reluctant to study French, a compulsory course in Dominican schools, because of its association with Haiti. These rural Dominicans, then, choose linguistic isolation. Although the number of Haitian immigrants in the northern border region has dramatically increased since the earthquake, the burden of language learning and intercultural communication will likely remain on them.

Presented by Dr. Barbara Bullock, Professor of French Linguistics, UT Department of French and Italian, and Dr. Jacqueline Toribio, Professor of Spanish Linguistics, UT Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

The Lecture is co-sponsored by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies.

Part of the Department of Anthropology 2010-2011 Seminar Series. For further information, please contact Dr. Sofian Merabet at

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