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CARIBBEAN ENGLISHES

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Introduction: different varieties of English.


Caribbean English.
2.1.
Creole English
2.2.
Erudite English
2.3.
Foreign English
2.4.
Rasta English
2.5.
Standard English
Grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and style.
Example of a Jamaican woman.
Bibliography.

1.

Introduction: different varieties of English:

Caribbean English is a broad term used for the dialects of the English language
spoken in the Caribbean. 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.
The terms Caribbean Englishes are, in a general sense, synonymous with English
creoles, English-derived or English-based creoles, and even dialects of English.
In order to analyse deeply the Caribbean Englishes, it is necessary to make a brief
summary of the different varieties of English we have in the world:
Firstly we are going to talk about Canadian English. Canadian English has
much in common with that of the United States. The vocabulary looks very
mixed with American and British items coexisting, such as porridge (BrE)
and oatmeal (AmE). There are many words originating in Canada, often
borrowings from American Indian languages, for example, chesterfield for
sofa, kayak, etc.
The second variety of English is that concerning West Indies. The different
Caribbean islands have developed their own varieties of creole English.
Amongst the grammatical differences we may mention: no final s in the
third person singular form of the present tense, e.g. She come; no use of the
verb be in the present tense, when it is used as a linking verb within a
sentence, e.g. They real fine, if you interested: the use of the verb to be,
e.g. Sometimes they be asking me things (without changing its grammatical
form), I been know your name (meaning of past activity), We be done
washed all those things soon (be done in the sense of will have); use of
double negatives, e.g. Wont nobody do nothing about that.
Australian English. People usually think of Australian English as
characterised by such aboriginal borrowings as boomerang, billabong,
kangaroo, koala, etc; but in fact, the English settlers took very few words
from the native languages spoken in the two countries (plants, animals and
place names). There are few Maori words in New Zealand English: among
the exceptions are hongi (way of greeting), kiwi, whare (small house), and
the number seems to be increasing.

English in India and Pakistan. The constitution of the Republic of India in


1947 established that Hindi should be the official language, but that English
should continue in use.
And finally Africa. Afrikaans is the first language of the majority of whites
and also for the most coloured population. English is used by the remaining
whites and by increasing numbers of the majority black population.
2.

Caribbean English:

We are going to focus on the English found in the Caribbean Islands. The Caribbean
islands are situated from the South of Florida to the Northwest corner of Venezuela in
South America. The history and social structure of the Caribbean had an important
influence on their language. The history, depending on the colonizer, divided the
Caribbean today into English-speaking, Spanish-speaking, French-speaking and Dutchspeaking countries.
We are going to deal with the different varieties of speaking English in the
Caribbean which is our area of interest.
There are five variations of English (Creole English, Erudite English, Foreign
English, Rasta English and Standard English.) in use in the Caribbean speaking.
Creole English
People who have lower education speak Creole.
Erudite English
The most well-read people speak and write Erudite English. They impress their
knowledge by sound, length of words, many words in Latin and Greek and biblical
phrases.
Erudite English is used in biblical and proverbial English (a proverb: "Out of sight,
out of mind" "Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn.").
The Bible has a great influence in the Caribbean. It is a tool of general education.
The extensive knowledge of the Bible shows the people of a higher educated level.
Foreign English
British, American and Canadian English have an important influence on the
English-speaking countries in the Caribbean.

Rasta English

The Rastafarians speak Jamaican Creole. They have a very strong pronunciation.
The speech of Rastafarians reflects the belief system (a combination of African cultural
issues, Old Testament of the Bible and elements of Marcus Garveys preaching) of these
people.
Standard English
Standard English means English without Creole. The spoken Standard English
differs in the pitch, stress and general tone from the spoken English in Canada, Great
Britain and the United States. Example: calypso
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normal: ca-lyp-so (primary stress and high pitch on the second syllable)
typical in Caribbean: ca-lyp-so (primary stress on the first two syllables high
pitch on the last syllable)

Grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and style:

The goal of this section is to highlight basic features found in a range of Anglophone
Caribbean Englishes.
There are some peculiarities of pronunciation, vocabulary and style in each
Caribbean Country. For example:
Guyana: These people speak /a/ instead of /o/ in words like job jab, dog dag, got
gat.
Antigua: There are many similarities between the speech in Antigua and Jamaica. The
Antiguans speak /tr/ as /ch/.
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three chee
truck chuck

They change dr in j.
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drink jink
drunk junk

The Antiguans use the word min in the past tense.


- You min eat. You ate.
Apart from this, I would like to show you a really interesting web page in which
we can see the most noticeable differences of the Caribbean English:
http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/case-studies/minority-ethnic/caribbean/
If we focus on grammatical aspects, we can see that there are also remarkable
differences within Standard English. We are going to highlight the different pronouns:
subject, object, and possessive.
/ai/ and /a/ which mean I seem to be only subject pronouns; /ar/ her is an
object pronoun with exclusive reference to females; /om/ may refer to him, her, it in

object position. /(h)im/ indicates males or females or even non-human referents in either
subject or object position. The plural pronouns aayu and aawi are largely heard in the
eastern Caribbean, and unu is more common in the Western Caribbean.
4.

Example of a Jamaican woman:

A native of Jamaica talks about songs in slavery times


http://www.ompersonal.com.ar/omaccents2/Jamaica.htm
In relation to the language:
Her comments include several examples of passive verbs, for instance:
I was born ...
work songs were used ...
we weren't allowed to talk ...
Note the use of that, who and which in phrases such as those listed below:
... an area that had a long history of slavery ...

... someone who was escaping


... which was from dark in the morning ...
... thousands of songs that I have collected ...
In relation to the pronunciation:
For reasons of history, the English spoken in Jamaica (as spoken in Barbados,
Bahamas and several other countries in the Caribbean area that have been British
colonies) keeps quite similarity to the English in Britain.
The most noticeable difference between the two forms of English is that in
Jamaican English the weak vowel // is less used than in British English. Instead of //
are often employed full or strong other vowels, such as the following examples:

/'sistm/
/en'vairnmnt/
/'smbdi/
/n/
/v/

system
environment
somebody
than
of

/'sistim/
/en'vairnment/
/'smbodi/
/n/
/ov/

For this reason, there is no strong contrast between the stressed syllables and
unstressed and Jamaican speech acquires a uniform tone.
5.

Bibliography

http://www.tuchemnitz.de/phil/english/chairs/linguist/independent/kursmaterialien/CaribE.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_English