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Caribbean Journal of Education

The Epistemological Foundations of Caribbean Speech Behaviour

Publication Date: 
January 1983

Perhaps the simplest way of stating the question is in terms of the relationship between language and thought or between language and knowledge or between language structure and the structure of the perceptual world; and I wish here to make a confession about why this subject interests me in relation to Caribbean speech behaviour. In examining this subject I have had to resist strongly the temptation and the tendency to become somewhat of the Crusader engaged in battle for what looked at first as if it were a noble cause but which soon became a sort of fight for fight sake of dubious morality; or somewhat of the Don Quijote, creating windmills and jousting at them. I should confess that this has inspired, if that is the correct word, almost all my work in linguistics; and the noble cause, or the windmill of my battles, has been the vindication of the Caribbean people, particularly of the peasantry, as ordinary people with ordinary intelligence like any other people and with an ordinary, though idiosyncratic culture, like any other people, and with an ordinary form of speech behaviour just like any other people.

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