Fifth-year graduate student Eric Brown returned to Ann Arbor this fall after a year abroad doing advanced language preparation and fieldwork. Eric spent last summer (2010) at the University of Lisbon continuing his studies in Lusophone history, language and culture. In September he headed for Cape Verde where he spent several months following up on previous fieldwork and collecting data for his dissertation.
Currently his research is focusing on the role that ideologies, specifically of the creole-lexifier continuum, play in the linguistic practices of Cape Verdeans. There are very strong speaker (and linguist) ideologies about which varieties of Cape Verdean Creole are basilectal and acrolectal, even when some of the linguistic data seems to explicitly negate those ideologies. He's looking at ways to better understand how this incongruity influences the varieties themselves and to analyze the role that labels like "acrolectal" and "basilect" play for speakers. He also spent some time doing some much needed documentation of phonological phenomena on the island of Santiago.
Eric brought back over 50 hours of recordings that he'll be busy transcribing and analyzing during this upcoming academic year and plans a short return to Cape Verde sometime during the next calendar year.
(Top Picture: The Portuguese version of American Idol (Portuguese Idol?) was holding auditions in Lisbon in July; Bottom: The Fazenda neighborhood of Praia after a late summer rain shower.)