1. Introduction⇫¶

Bahamian creolian (autoglossonyms: (Bahamian) Dialect, Bahamianese) isspoken by ca. 250,000 speaker in The republic of The Bahamas, anarchipelago of 700 islands and also 2,400 cays extending 5,358 square miles andextending in between southeastern Florida in the northwest and also Hispaniola in thesoutheast. Just thirty of the islands are inhabited. The populace of theBahamas totals ca. 300,000. The nation is heavily urbanized, with approximately twothirds of all Bahamians living in the capital, Nassau. Part 85% that the Bahamianpopulation are black, with whites amounting come 12% and Asians and also people ofSpanish and Portuguese origin to 3%. The 2000 census registered 21,000 Haitiansin the Bahamas, however some approximates including illegal immigrants placed the currentnumber as high together 78,000, or 25% that the population. The Bahamas is among thewealthiest Caribbean countries, its economic situation being largely dependent on tourismand offshore banking.

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2. Sociohistorical background⇫¶

Although Columbus first set foot inthe new World on the Bahamian island of mountain Salvador, the Spanish were notinterested in stable in the Bahamas. Lock were conscious of the poor of theBahamian soil, the absence of mineral wealth, and also the treacherous waterssurrounding the archipelago and thus contented themselves through carrying off theindigenous Arawak ind to the gold mines of Hispaniola, wherein they passed away outin the at an early stage 1500s.

first permanent swarm was developed on the northern island the Eleuthera by afew dozen British religious dissenters native Bermuda in 1648. It to be Bermudians,too, that – in 1666 – an initial settled on new Providence, ~ above the siteof what is now Nassau. From the beginning, servants and slaves to be a part ofthe shipments the arrived. Because Bermuda had first been settled in 1609, thoseblacks might have to be born one of two people in Bermuda or in Africa, and it is unclearwhat lock spoke. In any type of case, the Bahamian population grew; by 1671, once thefirst census to be taken, it amounted to around a thousands (Craton 1968: 70).Whites clearly outnumbered blacks: around 60% of all Bahamians were white at thetime.

Fromthe beginning of the colony, Bahamians had actually relied ~ above the sea because that a living infishing, turtling, or the salvaging of shipwrecks. Log cutting, salt raking,and subsistence agriculture were important as well. Typical to every these pursuitswas the close contact between whites and blacks. Throughout the early period ofcolonialization, thus, blacks in the Bahamas need to have had ample access to thewhite settlers’ dialects – whatever they might have spoken upon theirarrival. One interlude the piratical chaos and anarchy in the early 1700s did notchange this situation. Top top the contrary, Craton & Saunders (1992: 111) notethat piracy leveled both class and also race distinctions, and an ideal blacks wererecruited to it similar to whites and enjoyed the very same privileges board theships.

Itwas during the 1720s, after order had been restored, the the an initial substantialcargo of afri (295 slaves from Guinea) was brought directly come the Bahamas(Craton & Saunders 1992: 119). The same decade additionally saw the establishmentof a few plantations on brand-new Providence. Nevertheless, the Bahamian economic climate wasstill far from being a usual plantation economy: the a full of 988 personsliving in the Bahamas in 1722, only 28% were listed as black, through percentagesvarying in between 35% for brand-new Providence and 4% because that Harbour Island.

Theblack ratio of the populace gradually raised over the food of theeighteenth century; by 1773, it had grown come 54%. Its increase was best onNew Providence, whereby 64% were currently black (Craton & Saunders 1992: 162). Atthe very same time, the number of slaves every holding to be rising, and ever morerestrictive slave acts were introduced. Also, servants imported native Africa cameto be preferred to servants from other colonies, due to the fact that even though servants fromother parts of the brand-new World were much better “seasoned”, i.e. Acquainted withplantation society and work, they were seen as more complicated to control. Whatthis implies linguistically is that access to white ranges of English musthave come to be progressively restricted – an especially on new Providence,where the growth of the black populace segment was most noticeable. Thelikelihood the a full-fledged creole was in basic use among Africans in theBahamas in ~ the time, however, still appears small, as most blacks should still havelived in problems that favoured the acquisition of an ext or much less closeapproximations come the white settlers’ dialects.


Table 1. development of the Bahamian populace during the eighteenth century

1722

1734

1773

1783

1786

island

white

black

white

black

white

black

white

black

white

black

New Providence

427

233

461

520

1,024

1,800

755

1,739

1,572

4,019

Eleuthera

150

34

198

38

509

237

476

310

486

315

Harbour Island

124

5

151

10

410

90

360

144

365

149

Exuma

6

24

17

15

66

638

Cat Island

12

3

?

?

3

40

6

9

59

305

Abaco

282

384

Andros

2

59

Long Island

33

78

41

99

Turks and also Caicos

40

110

75

41

75

41

Total

713

275

810

568

1,992

2,301

1,722

2,336

2,948

6,009


Source: Hackert (2004: 37)

The creole talked in the Bahamastoday was imported in ~ the finish of the eighteenth century; it was brought by freeblacks and also the servants of loyalist phibìc Americans, who had supported theBritish Crown throughout the American Revolutionary War and also – after theTreaty of Versailles in 1783 – left the newly independent unified States.Of the about 100,000 who emigrated, only about 7,300 (of who 5,700were black) actually checked out the Bahamas, but this tripled the colony’spopulation, enhanced the proportion of blacks from one fifty percent to 3 quarters,and increased the number of permanently resolved islands from 3 to a dozen(Craton & Saunders 1992: 179). Historical and linguistic evidence (Hackert& Huber 2007; Hackert & Holm 2009) suggests that the Gullah-speakingareas, and also South Carolina in particular, played a prominent function as a point oforigin for both white and also black loyalists, which makes it highly probable thatwhat was required to the Bahamas was an early form of Gullah rather than ofAfrican American Vernacular English, as had been assumed previously (Holm 1983;Shilling 1984). Contemporary Bahamian creole may because of this be regarded as adiaspora selection of Gullah.

3. Sociolinguistic situation⇫¶

The bulk of black color Bahamianstoday speak a mesolectal form of Bahamian Creole. Basilectal speakers often tend tobe yonsi Bahamians and/or those who live ~ above the more remote islands,especially in the southeastern Bahamas. Together in most other post-colonial speechcommunities, negative attitudes towards the vernacular prevail. It is oftenviewed together “bad” or “broken” English, linked with backwardness and also a absence ofeducation, and seen as an obstacle to the country’s modernization andintegration into the worldwide economy. Since independence in 1973, however, ithas got a boost as a symbol of national identity; there are now a numberof literary functions which rental it (e.g. Strachan 1997), and also traditional folktales and songs are now being researched by Bahamians us (e.g. Glinton1994) instead of by international anthropologists. Regardless of the popularityBahamian Creole has actually received with these works, the duty of typical Englishas the sole main language of the country is uncontested. A consensus seemsto have emerged that although the “dialect” should not it is in eradicated, the shouldremain limited to specific domains and also functions. According to mostBahamians, Bahamian creole is suitable in informal, private cases aswell regarding convey humour and social authenticity; if “serious” topics space athand, standard English is the kind of speech referred to as for.

4. Phonology⇫¶


Bahamian Creole has actually a collection systemwith 5 front vowels, five ago vowels, and also two central vowels. Thissystem shows functions which unite Bahamian creolian with various other English-basedcreoles the the Caribbean and with north American Englishes, particularlythose talked by african Americans and also in the south Carolina and also Georgia LowCountry. As for individual vowels, the Bahamian vowel of the catch lexical set (Wells 1982) is oftennotably lowered and backed and also thus realized together instead of <æ>. The strut vowel might be rounded and thus belocated close to the cardinal place of <ɔ>. The nurse vowel is regularly realized as <əi>, v the result of near-homophones such together verseand voice. Bahamian creolian is non-rhotic and therefore possessescentring diphthongs in near, square, north, force,and cure. The diphthongs the near and squareare usually merged, so that fear and fair arehomophonous. Before nasals, <ɛ> may beraised come , feasible homophones gift same and also seem. A similarmerger underlies homophones such as home and whom. Vice versa, the compensation diphthong is oftenmonophthongized, the pricediphthong is not.

Bahamian Creole has 24 consonants, the three bracketed consonant in Table 3being rare or lacking in all but acrolectal speech. A diagnostic attribute is thestopping of both voiced and also voiceless interdental fricatives in every positions,as in tree for ‘three’, udderfor ‘other’, or toot for‘tooth’. Again, Bahamian Creoleappears to accounting an intermediate position, through the basic pattern resemblingthat found in other Caribbean English creoles but rates for stopping much more likethose it was observed in african American Vernacular English (Childs & Wolfram2004: 442). One more feature which unites Bahamian creole with various other varietiesof English is syllable-final consonant cluster reduction, together in the realizationof guest together guess or let go as miss out on (Childs &Wolfram 2004: 445–446; Hackert 2004: 148–155). As somewhere else in theCaribbean, as soon as the membranous stops and also occur before <æ> or , they possibly palatalized, together in the stereotypical gyal ‘girl’. A function unitingBahamian Creole v the dialect talked by white Bahamians is syllable-onset deletion and/or insertion (as in and for hand and/or harmfor arm), v insertion much much more frequent in the latter. Similarly,the alternation the and also (as in wine for vine or velcomefor welcome) often tends to be more prominent in the decided of white Bahamiansthan it is in Bahamian Creole. Finally, the devoicing the voiced shibatsu insyllable coda and also intervocalic location (as in because for sins)also occurs amongst both speak groups but with better frequency among whites.


Table 3.

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Consonants

bilabial

labio-dental

inter-dental

alveolar

palatal

velar

glottal

plosive

voiceless

p

t

k

voiced

b

d

g

nasal

m

n

ŋ

frictionless continuant

ɹ

glide

w

j

fricative

voiceless

f

(θ)

s

ʃ

h

voiced

v

(ð)

z

(ʒ)

affricate

voiceless

voiced

lateral

l


As for prosody, Bahamian Creole has actually been defined as much more syllable-timed 보다 British or Americanvarieties that English, however syllable timing is not absolute. Word stress isgenerally top top the first syllable. Remarkable intonation patterns include thehigh increasing terminal border of affirmative sentences and a more comprehensive pitch rangethan is generally observed in brothers or American Englishes (Childs & Wolfram2004: 447–448).

Thereis no main orthography, so the varying methods of “eye dialect”are to work in works representing Bahamian creolian in writing.In all adhering to examples and in the glossed message appended to this chapter, standard English orthography is employed. The many authoritative resource on the language to date, Holm & Shilling’s dictionary of Bahamian English (1982), likewise represents entries in standard English. Moreover, also though the is clear the a conventional transcription severely underrepresents the proportion of non-standard pronunciations extant in the data, unquestioning dependency on a creating system arisen for an additional creole would have introduced a prejudice in opposing direction.
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5. Noun phrase⇫¶

There room various ways of marking numberin Bahamian Creole. The plural might not be expressed top top the noun at every (oftenwhen one expression indicating quantity is present); it may additionally be indicatedvia pre- or post-nominal them or the -s suffix: