Structure dataset 12: Bahamian Creole

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 12.

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).

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No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop p  b t  d k  g
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ʃ ʒ
Non-sibilant fricative f v θ ð h
Approximant ɹ l j
Flap or tap
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open long high front unrounded vowel long high back rounded vowel ɪlowered high front unrounded vowel ʊlowered high back rounded vowel nasalized higher mid front unrounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɜlower mid central unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel ɔːlong lower mid back rounded vowel æraised low front unrounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel long low central unrounded vowel ɑlow back unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source