Southern Bahamian: Transported African American Vernacular English or Transported Gullah?




Bahamian vernacular


The relationship between Bahamian Creole English (BahCE) and Gullah and their historical connection with African American Vernacular English (AAVE) have long been a matter of dispute. In the controversy about the putative creole origins of AAVE, it was long thought that Gullah was the only remnant of a once much more widespread North American Plantation Creole and southern BahCE constituted a diaspora variety of the latter. If, however, as argued in the 1990s, AAVE never was a creole itself, whence the creole nature of southern BahCE? This paper examines the settlement history of the Bahamas and the American South to argue that BahCE and Gullah are indeed closely related, so closely in fact, that southern BahCE must be regarded as a diaspora variety of the latter rather than of AAVE.

Author Biographies

Stephanie Hackert, University of Augsburg

Professor Faculty of Applied English Linguistics University of Augburg Germany

John Alexander Holm, Coimbra University

Taught at COB 1978-80; wrote Dictionary of Bahamian English with Alison Shilling, pub. 1982; taught at CUNY 1980-98; now full professor (catedratico) at U. of Coimbra, Portugal


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