D'Costa is a scholar of international distinction who has studied both contemporary and past multilingual situations. Her talk will focus on various aspects of language including: language attitudes in society; and language changes brought about by politics, slavery, immigration, war and isolation.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, D'Costa is the daughter of Jamaican schoolteachers. She earned an undergraduate degree from University College of the West Indies and completed advanced studies at Oxford. For 15 years, she taught Old English and historical linguistics at the University of the West Indies. She joined the Hamilton faculty in 1980.
D'Costa has written numerous books, publications and articles. Her scholarly works include two books co-authored with Barbara Lalla, Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole and Voices in Exile: An Anthology of 18th and 19th Century Jamaican Text. She is a published poet, and has authored several novels for young people, including Sprat Morrison, Escape to Last Man Peak and Voice in the Wind.
In 1994, D'Costa was awarded the Institute of Jamaica's Musgrave Silver Medal for her contributions in children's literature and Creole linguistics. Musgrave Medals represent the pinnacle of achievement in Jamaican literature, science and art.