Bahamian creole (autoglossonyms: (Bahamian) Dialect, Bahamianese) isspoken through ca. 250,000 speaker in The republic of The Bahamas, anarchipelago that 700 islands and also 2,400 cays extending 5,358 square miles andextending between southeastern Florida in the northwest and Hispaniola in thesoutheast. Just thirty the the islands room inhabited. The population of theBahamas totals ca. 300,000. The nation is greatly urbanized, with roughly twothirds of every Bahamians living in the capital, Nassau. Part 85% the the Bahamianpopulation space black, through whites amounting to 12% and Asians and also people ofSpanish and also Portuguese origin to 3%. The 2000 census registered 21,000 Haitiansin the Bahamas, yet some estimates including illegal immigrants placed the currentnumber together high together 78,000, or 25% the the population. The Bahamas is just one of thewealthiest Caribbean countries, its economic climate being mainly dependent on tourismand offshore banking.
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2. Sociohistorical background⇫¶
Although Columbus an initial set foot inthe new World top top the Bahamian island of mountain Salvador, the Spanish to be notinterested in settling in the Bahamas. Lock were aware of the poverty of theBahamian soil, the lack of mineral wealth, and also the treacherous waterssurrounding the archipelago and thus contented themselves through carrying turn off theindigenous Arawak ind to the yellow mines the Hispaniola, where they died outin the early on 1500s.
first permanent nest was developed on the northern island the Eleuthera by afew dozen British spiritual dissenters from Bermuda in 1648. It to be Bermudians,too, that – in 1666 – an initial settled on brand-new Providence, top top the siteof what is now Nassau. Indigenous the beginning, servants and slaves to be a part ofthe shipments that arrived. Since Bermuda had an initial been resolved in 1609, thoseblacks could have been born one of two people in Bermuda or in Africa, and it is unclearwhat they spoke. In any case, the Bahamian population grew; by 1671, as soon as thefirst census to be taken, it amounted to roughly a thousand (Craton 1968: 70).Whites clearly outnumbered blacks: about 60% of all Bahamians were white at thetime.
Fromthe start of the colony, Bahamians had actually relied top top the sea because that a living infishing, turtling, or the salvaging of shipwrecks. Log in cutting, salt raking,and subsistence agriculture were essential as well. Typical to all these pursuitswas the close contact between whites and also blacks. Throughout the early duration ofcolonialization, thus, blacks in the Bahamas must have had ample access to thewhite settlers’ dialect – every little thing they may have spoken upon theirarrival. An interlude of piratical chaos and anarchy in the early on 1700s walk notchange this situation. On the contrary, Craton & Saunders (1992: 111) notethat piracy leveled both class and race distinctions, and suitable blacks wererecruited to it as with whites and also enjoyed the same privileges board theships.
Itwas during the 1720s, ~ order had been restored, the the an initial substantialcargo of afri (295 slaves from Guinea) was lugged directly come the Bahamas(Craton & Saunders 1992: 119). The very same decade also saw the establishmentof a few plantations on brand-new Providence. Nevertheless, the Bahamian economy wasstill far from gift a usual plantation economy: that a complete of 988 personsliving in the Bahamas in 1722, just 28% were provided as black, v percentagesvarying between 35% for brand-new Providence and also 4% for Harbour Island.
Theblack proportion of the population gradually increased over the food of theeighteenth century; by 1773, it had actually grown to 54%. Its boost was biggest onNew Providence, whereby 64% were now black (Craton & Saunders 1992: 162). Atthe exact same time, the variety of slaves every holding was rising, and also ever morerestrictive servant acts to be introduced. Also, servants imported native Africa cameto be wanted to slaves from other colonies, because even though servants fromother components of the new World were much better “seasoned”, i.e. Acquainted withplantation culture and work, castle were viewed as more complicated to control. Whatthis implies linguistically is that accessibility to white ranges of English musthave come to be progressively limited – specifically on brand-new Providence,where the growth of the black populace segment was most noticeable. Thelikelihood the a full-fledged creole was in basic use amongst Africans in theBahamas in ~ the time, however, still appears small, as many blacks should still havelived in problems that favoured the acquisition of much more or much less closeapproximations come the white settlers’ dialects.
Table 1. development of the Bahamian populace during the eighteenth century
Turks and Caicos
Source: Hackert (2004: 37)
The creole talked in the Bahamastoday to be imported in ~ the finish of the eighteenth century; it was brought by freeblacks and also the slaves of loyalist phibìc Americans, who had supported theBritish Crown during the American Revolutionary War and also – after ~ theTreaty of Versailles in 1783 – left the freshly independent unified States.Of the roughly 100,000 that emigrated, only around 7,300 (of who 5,700were black) actually saw the Bahamas, however this tripled the colony’spopulation, raised the proportion of blacks native one half to three quarters,and elevated the number of permanently settled islands from 3 to a dozen(Craton & Saunders 1992: 179). Historical and also linguistic evidence (Hackert& Huber 2007; Hackert & Holm 2009) argues that the Gullah-speakingareas, and also South Carolina in particular, played a prominent role as a suggest oforigin for both white and black loyalists, which renders it extremely probable thatwhat was required to the Bahamas was an early form of Gullah fairly than ofAfrican American Vernacular English, as had been assumed earlier (Holm 1983;Shilling 1984). Contemporary Bahamian creole may as such be pertained to as adiaspora selection of Gullah.
3. Sociolinguistic situation⇫¶
The majority of black Bahamianstoday speak a mesolectal form of Bahamian Creole. Basilectal speakers tend tobe elderly Bahamians and/or those that live on the much more remote islands,especially in the southeastern Bahamas. Together in most other post-colonial speechcommunities, an unfavorable attitudes towards the vernacular prevail. It is oftenviewed as “bad” or “broken” English, linked with backwardness and also a lack ofeducation, and seen together an obstacle to the country’s modernization andintegration right into the an international economy. Since independence in 1973, however, ithas obtained a rise as a prize of national identity; there are currently a numberof literary functions which employ it (e.g. Strachan 1997), and also traditional folktales and also songs are currently being researched by Bahamians themselves (e.g. Glinton1994) instead of by foreign anthropologists. In spite of the popularityBahamian Creole has received with these works, the role of traditional Englishas the sole main language that the nation is uncontested. A consensus seemsto have arised that although the “dialect” have to not be eradicated, that shouldremain restricted to specific domains and also functions. Follow to mostBahamians, Bahamian creole is suitable in informal, private instances aswell as to convey humour and social authenticity; if “serious” topics are athand, typical English is the kind of speech referred to as for.
Bahamian Creole has a collection systemwith 5 front vowels, five earlier vowels, and also two central vowels. Thissystem shows functions which unite Bahamian creole with various other English-basedcreoles of the Caribbean as well as with phibìc American Englishes, particularlythose spoken by afri Americans and also in the south Carolina and also Georgia LowCountry. As for separation, personal, instance vowels, the Bahamian collection of the trap lexical set (Wells 1982) is oftennotably lowered and backed and thus realized together instead of <æ>. The strut vowel might be rounded and thus belocated close to the cardinal place of <ɔ>. The nurse collection is regularly realized together <əi>, with the result of near-homophones such as verseand voice. Bahamian creole is non-rhotic and therefore possessescentring diphthongs in near, square, north, force,and cure. The diphthongs that near and squareare normally merged, so that fear and fair arehomophonous. Prior to nasals, <ɛ> might beraised to , possible homophones gift same and seem. A similarmerger underlies homophones such as home and also whom. Whereas the prize diphthong is oftenmonophthongized, the pricediphthong is not.
Bahamian Creole has 24 consonants, the three bracketed consonants in Table 3being rarely or missing in all but acrolectal speech. A diagnostic function is thestopping the both voiced and also voiceless interdental fricatives in every positions,as in tree because that ‘three’, udderfor ‘other’, or toot for‘tooth’. Again, Bahamian Creoleappears to occupy an intermediary position, v the basic pattern resemblingthat discovered in other Caribbean English creoles however rates for stopping more likethose it was observed in afri American Vernacular English (Childs & Wolfram2004: 442). An additional feature which hold together Bahamian creolian with various other varietiesof English is syllable-final consonant swarm reduction, as in the realizationof guest as guess or to let go as miss out on (Childs &Wolfram 2004: 445–446; Hackert 2004: 148–155). As in other places in theCaribbean, as soon as the velar stops
As for prosody, Bahamian Creole has been explained as more syllable-timed 보다 British or Americanvarieties that English, yet syllable time is not absolute. Word stress and anxiety isgenerally on the first syllable. Noteworthy intonation patterns incorporate thehigh climbing terminal contours of affirmative sentences and a more comprehensive pitch rangethan is commonly observed in british or American Englishes (Childs & Wolfram2004: 447–448).
Thereis no official orthography, so that varying methods of “eye dialect”are to work in functions representing Bahamian creole in writing.In all complying with examples and also in the glossed message appended come this chapter, traditional English orthopedics is employed. The most authoritative resource on the language to date, Holm & Shilling’s thesaurus of Bahamian English (1982), additionally represents entries in conventional English. Moreover, also though it is clear the a standard transcription severely underrepresents the proportion of non-standard pronunciations extant in the data, unquestioning dependence on a writing system emerged for one more creole would have actually introduced a predisposition in the contrary direction.
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5. Noun phrase⇫¶
There space various means of marking numberin Bahamian Creole. The plural might not it is in expressed top top the noun at all (oftenwhen an expression indicating quantity is present); the may likewise be indicatedvia pre- or post-nominal them or the -s suffix: