Hidden Roots: The African Element in Bahamian Speech

Alison Watt Shilling


The basis of New World Language varieties were forged on the West African coast as a result of prolonged business contact, thus the linguistically-sophisticated Africans rapidly acquired enough European language to use in trade and a common English pidgin evolved.

It is reasonable to assume that this language was transmitted to differing extents to the slaves who waited (sometimes for up to a year) for trans-shipment to the New World. This is the most reasonable explanation for the remarkable similarities in grammar and vocabulary in the English of New World Africans, whether inhabitants of South American forests, of the Jamaican hinterland or of the Bahamian Family Islands.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v2i0.68

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