Bahamian Creole

Bahamian Creole (locally termed “Dialect”) is spoken by about 250,000 speakers in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and by an unknown number of speakers constituting a small diaspora community in the United States (Florida). It may be classified as an “intermediate creole” (Winford 1992: 314) with close historical links with Gullah (Hackert & Huber 2007). The variety described in APiCS (default lect) is urban Bahamian Creole as currently spoken in the capital, Nassau. Even though Bahamians themselves often claim that “Nassau people don’t speak the Dialect,” this variety must be considered most representative of the creole at large, as roughly two thirds of all Bahamians now reside in Nassau. The data were recorded by myself in sociolinguistic interviews with mostly working-class speakers in the late 1990s. I also elicited a number of examples from five highly educated bidialectal speakers with the help of Dahl’s tense-mood-aspect questionnaire (1985). Finally, I drew on Holm & Shilling (1982).

Glossed text (82.9KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

ɹvoiced dental/alveolar approximant - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɜlower mid central unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source