Caribbean English Introduction author: Alfred Jean-Baptiste “ Caribbean English and the Literacy”

Download 17.9 Kb.
Size17.9 Kb.
Caribbean English


Alfred Jean-Baptiste “ Caribbean English and the Literacy”

(a manual)

He was born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

Jean-Baptiste worked as the General Secretary

of the St. Lucia Teachers ‘ Union between 1979 and 1985.

He visited all English-speaking Caribbean islands.

In that time Jean-Baptiste had responsibility for teaching profession and education issues.

He wrote handbooks, articles in newspapers and organized workshops on educational, pedagogical, social and political issues.

Location of the Caribbean

The Caribbean islands are situated south of Florida to the northwest corner of Venezuela in South America.

7000 islands, islets, reefs and cays belong to the Caribbean region.
Resources in the Caribbean area are sugar, tobacco and cotton.

Social history

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 Dutch-speaking countries.

English-speaking Caribbean

Jamaica Bermuda St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The Bahamas Antigua and Barbuda Montserrat

The Cayman Islands Dominica Trinidad and Tobago

Turks and Caicos St. Kitts and Nevis Guyana

U.S. Virgin Islands St. Lucia Belize

Anguilla Barbados British Virgin Islands
Spanish-speaking Dutch-speaking French-speaking

Caribbean Caribbean Caribbean

Cuba Curacao* Haiti

Dominican Republic Aruba* Martinique

Puerto Rico Bonarie* Guadeloupe

St. Marteen* French Guyana


St. Eustatius*

Suriname * All part of the Netherlands Antilles

Many European languages influenced the Caribbean (from the 17 th century to the 19 th century):

First: Spanish

Second: English

Then: French and Dutch.


poor whites



field slaves

This pyramid structure shows the society and their linguistic structure on the plantation system.

The European languages dominate at the top of the social structure.

The different varieties of speaking English in the Caribbean

There are five variations of English (Creole E., Erudite E., Foreign E., Rasta E. and Standard E.) in use in the Caribbean speaking.

The British insisted Creole languages had no place in schools in their colonies.”

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 Garvey’ s 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

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)

There are some peculiarities of pronunciation, vocabulary and style in each Caribbean Country.

For example:
These people speak a instead of o in words like job – jab, dog – dag, got – gat.
There are many similarities between the speech in Antigua and Jamaica.
The Antiguans speak tr as ch.
three chee

truck chuck
They change dr in j.
drink jink

drunk junk
The Antiguans use the word min in the past tense.
You min eat. You ate.

Sources (08.07.02) (08.07.02)

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page