Orthography Development for Creole Languages

Ken Decker

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Writers of Dutch will recognize that spelling reform can be a hotly contested topic with strong feelings about very small details. In the last 200 years many linguists have felt that spelling systems, orthographies, should represent pronunciation as closely as possible. However, for many languages this is unacceptable to the general public. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore possible ways by which orthography developers can diverge from the variability of pronunciation. This research, begun in 1993, is based on the development of an orthography for the Kriol language of Belize, an English-lexicon Creole language. Opinions on writing within the language community vary greatly. For those who want to write Kriol, some want it to look like English, and others want it to look different from English. The attitudes of the people, rather than pronunciation, drive the choices for symbols to represent the sounds. To gain a better understanding of factors that influence orthography design, five case studies of recent development, as well as the history of French writing, are analyzed. Among the principles gleaned from this analysis, foremost are the importance of community involvement and compromise. It is also important to allow time for development and adaptation, and to have the expectation that there will be revision and inconsistencies. The Belize Kriol orthography is increasingly being used throughout the Kriol-speaking population.
    Translated title of the contributionOntwikkeling van orthografie voor Creoolse talen
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Nerbonne, John, Supervisor
    • Gooskens, Charlotte, Co-supervisor
    Award date20-Nov-2014
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs978-94-6203-631-4
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7257-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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