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African Bermudian English and the Caribbean Connection


Eberle, Nicole; Schreier, Daniel (2013). African Bermudian English and the Caribbean Connection. English World-Wide. A Journal of Varieties of English, 34(3):279-304.

Abstract

Bermudian English (BerE) is one of the least documented varieties of English that has undergone full nativisation. The only source we are aware of is Ayres (1933), who provides an overview of some selected phonological features. The present paper has two aims: first, to provide a preliminary morphosyntactic profile of African Bermudian English (ABerE) and to anchor this variety in the quickly emerging canon of lesser-known varieties of English around the world (Schreier et al. 2010), and second, to gain some first typological insights whether or not it aligns with English in the Caribbean (and if so, with which varieties), as has been claimed by some sources (e.g. Trudgill 2002). With this aim, we report some first findings from a fieldwork study on the island and in a later step compare these with selected Caribbean varieties — Bahamian English (BahE), Bajan, Jamaican English, and Vincentian Creole, as reported in the Electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English (Kortmann and Lunkenheimer 2011). We argue that morphosyntactic similarities and differences between the varieties are explained by the Bermudian community’s sociohistorical and sociolinguistic contexts, including settlement patterns, population demographics, and peopling, and that the emergence and origins of a stable localised variety of (A)BerE need to be approached with reference to the historical connections between Bermuda and the communities that provided donor varieties. We further argue in favor of a two-way transfer pattern: Caribbean Englishes are likely to have influenced the evolution of English on Bermuda, while BerE itself was an influential input variety in other locations (particularly the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands).

Abstract

Bermudian English (BerE) is one of the least documented varieties of English that has undergone full nativisation. The only source we are aware of is Ayres (1933), who provides an overview of some selected phonological features. The present paper has two aims: first, to provide a preliminary morphosyntactic profile of African Bermudian English (ABerE) and to anchor this variety in the quickly emerging canon of lesser-known varieties of English around the world (Schreier et al. 2010), and second, to gain some first typological insights whether or not it aligns with English in the Caribbean (and if so, with which varieties), as has been claimed by some sources (e.g. Trudgill 2002). With this aim, we report some first findings from a fieldwork study on the island and in a later step compare these with selected Caribbean varieties — Bahamian English (BahE), Bajan, Jamaican English, and Vincentian Creole, as reported in the Electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English (Kortmann and Lunkenheimer 2011). We argue that morphosyntactic similarities and differences between the varieties are explained by the Bermudian community’s sociohistorical and sociolinguistic contexts, including settlement patterns, population demographics, and peopling, and that the emergence and origins of a stable localised variety of (A)BerE need to be approached with reference to the historical connections between Bermuda and the communities that provided donor varieties. We further argue in favor of a two-way transfer pattern: Caribbean Englishes are likely to have influenced the evolution of English on Bermuda, while BerE itself was an influential input variety in other locations (particularly the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands).

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1 citation in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
08 University Research Priority Programs > Language and Space
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:06 Jan 2014 14:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:18
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing
ISSN:0172-8865
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.34.3.02ebe

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