Vincy woman earns PhD
January 7, 2005
Vincy woman earns PhD

Another young Vincentian has been awarded a doctorate.

Paula Prescod, the daughter of Ruth “Evelyn” Prescod and the late Paul Popwell of Villa, was awarded the title Doctor in Linguistics and Language Studies with distinction from the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle last December 7.{{more}}

Prescod, a former student of the Girls’ High School, defended her doctoral thesis before a five-member jury thus concluding four years of doctoral research on a grammatical description of the noun phrase in Vincentian Creole.

As part of requirements to fulfil the doctoral programme Dr. Paula Prescod has presented findings of her research at various international conferences in Creolistics including the Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL) annual conference in Coimbra, Portugal in 2001, the Society for Caribbean Languages biennial conference in Trinidad in 2002, the SPCL annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in 2003 and the Workshop on the Phonology and Morphology of Creole Languages in Siegen, Germany in 2003.

Prescod, who formerly taught French at the St. Vincent Grammar School, says the thesis presents an in-depth grammatical description of the forms and functions of the constituents of the noun phrase of the Vincentian vernacular, which bears many similarities but also a startling number of differences with Standard Caribbean and international varieties of English.

She said it also presents “an alphabet which seeks to standardize transcriptions of the local language which many prefer to refer to as Vincentian dialect since the term Creole, in the light of modern linguistic research, reveals many an inadequacy; it being a term originally used to refer to Europeans born in the island colonies of the New World as early as the 16th Century.”

The research also offers perspectives for a differentiated approach to teaching Standard varieties of English with the aim of making the Vincentian student population bilingual.

Prescod credits her success to her family, who have always encouraged her in her studies.

She is particularly grateful to her parents, her sisters Veronica and Odette, nieces Raquelle and Sonya and to her brother Lennox and his family, for believing in her.

A release says that Professor Emeritus Mervyn Alleyne of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus, has referred to the work as a thorough and practical study, useful to linguists, anthropologists, historians, pedagogues and teachers of English in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prescod informs that a translated copy of the thesis will be made available to education officials of SVG as well as to the cultural department upon completion, in the hope that persons who draw on the written local vernacular will find this work useful.