Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Given the general connection between the development of nationalism and linguistic uniformity, the existence of multilingualism and ethnic diversity in a country is a complex problem. Limonese Creole is the language spoken by a Black minority of approximately 30,000 people who have lived in predominantly white and Spanish-speaking Costa Rica for over 400 years. The Limon Province, where this group resides, is markedly distinguishable from the rest in terms of its geography, history, population, economy, language, and culture. This paper seeks to present the development of ethnic relations and language in that area. History shows that either harmonious bilingualism or fiercely suppressing colonialism usually prevails in a "languages-in-contact situation." In this case study, the historical relationship between ethnicity and language accounts for differences between societies, with such divergent consequences of contact as racial nationalism, cultural assimilation and fusion, and possibly even language extinction.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1995