This study examines newspaper writing from 10 Caribbean countries as a window on the norm orientation of English in the region. The English used in the former British colonies of the Caribbean has been assumed to be especially prone to postcolonial linguistic Americanization, due to mass tourism, media exposure, and long-standing personal and sociocultural links. The authors present a quantitative investigation of variable features, comparing their Caribbean data with American and British reference corpora as well as newspaper collections from India and Nigeria. The amount of American features employed varies by type of feature and country. In all Caribbean corpora, they are more prevalent in the lexicon than in spelling. With regard to grammar, an orientation toward a singular norm cannot be deduced from the data. While Caribbean journalists do partake in worldwide American-led changes, the frequencies of the relevant features align with neither American English nor British English but instead resemble those found in the Indian and Nigerian corpora. Contemporary Caribbean newspaper writing, thus, neither follows traditional British norms nor is it characterized by massive linguistic Americanization; rather, there appears to be a certain conservatism common to New Englishes generally. These results are discussed in light of new considerations on normativity in English in the twenty-first century.

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