Caribbean English language

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Caribbean English is a broad term for the dialects of the English language spoken in the Caribbean, most countries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, and Guyana. Caribbean English is influenced by the English-based Creole varieties spoken in the region, but they are not the same. In the Caribbean, there is a great deal of variation in the way English is spoken. Scholars generally agree that although the dialects themselves vary significantly in each of these countries, they all have roots in 17th-century English and African languages.

Overview

The English in daily use in the Caribbean include a different set of pronouns, typically, me, meh, or mi, you, yuh, he, she, it, we, wi or alawe, allyuh or unu, and dem or day. I, mi, my, he, she, ih, it, we, wi or alawe, allayu or unu, and dem, den, deh for "them" with Central Americans.

Other features:

However, the English used in media, education and business and in formal or semi-formal discourse approaches the internationally understood variety of Standard English, but with an Afro-Caribbean cadence.

Samples

Standard English: Where is that boy? /hwɛər ɪz ðæt bɔɪ/

  • Barbados: 'Wherr iz dat boi?' ([hwer ɪz dæt bɔɪ]) (Spoken very quickly, is choppy, rhotic, and contains glottal stops)
  • San Andrés and Providencia: 'Wer iz dat boi at?' ([hwer ɪz dæt bɔɪ at])
  • Jamaica, and Antigua and Barbuda: 'Whierr iz daht bwoy dey?' ([hweɪr ɪz dɑt bʷɔɪ]) (sporadic rhoticity; Irish and Scottish influence); or 'Wey iz dat boi?' [weɪ ɪz dæt bɔɪ] (non-rhotic; similar to the accents of south western England and Wales))
  • Belize: 'Weh iz dat bwoy deh?' ( [weh ɪz dɑt bɔɪ deɪ]) (British and North American influence, deeper in tone)
  • Trinidad and Bahamas: 'Wey iz dat boy?'
  • Guyana and Tobago: 'Weyr iz daht boy/bai?' (urban) or 'Wey dat boy dey?' (rural) ([weɪɹ ɪz dɑt baɪ]) (Many variations dependent on urban/rural location, Afro or Indo descent or area, and competency in standard English; Sporadic rhoticity )
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: 'Wey iz dat boy dey?' ([weɪ ɪz dæt bɔɪ deɪ]) (Non-rhotic)
  • Belize, Nicaragua, the Bay Islands, Limón, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands: 'Wehr iz daht booy?' ([weɹ ɪz dɑt buɪ]) (Distinct, sporadic rhoticity, pronunciation becomes quite different from "Creole" pronunciation.)
  • Dominica: 'Weh dat boy nuh?'/'Weh dat boy be nuh?' (Spoken harshly and with a deep tone)

The written form of the English language in the former and current British controlled Caribbean countries conforms to the spelling and grammar styles of Britain.

See also

Caribbean portal

References

External links

  • Linguistic map of Caribbean English dialects from Muturzikin.com
  • Caribbean English (British Library)
  • Cross-Referencing West Indian Dictionary
  • Bajan (Barbadian) dialect in NYC
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