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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 3. NEW ENGLISHES DEVIATION FROM STANDARD ENGLISH
3.1. African English peculiarities
3.1.1. English of South Africa
3.1.2. Ugandan English
3.2. Asian English peculiarities
3.2.1. Singlish – Singaporean English creole
3.2.2. Indian English
3.3. Caribbean English peculiarities
3.3.1. Patois – English Jamaican creole
3.3.2. English Bahamian creole
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The vocabulary also consists of British words and spellings. The increasing association with American English has also influenced the English of Jamaica in recent times. Standard American words and specially spellings have been adopted in the vocabulary of Jamaican English.
As it has been already said, Standard Jamaican English is not similar to English Patois, the spoken English Jamaican creole. The strong cultural blend in Jamaica has resulted in the formation of Patois which is a dialect, a mixture of English with other European as well as Caribbean languages. Considering the fact that the purpose of our study is to compare and distinguish peculiarities of colloquial type of language, for the following analysis we will consider only English Jamaican creole – spoken variety of Jamaican English.
Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary arе significantly diffеrеnt from Еnglish, dеspitе hеavy usе of Еnglish words or dеrivativеs. Jamaican Patois displays similaritiеs to thе pidgin and crеolе languagеs of Wеst Africa, duе to thеir common dеscеnt from thе blеnding of African substratе languagеs with Еuropеan languagеs.
Jamaican Patois is a creole language that exhibits a gradation between more conservative creole forms and forms virtually identical to Standard English (i.e. metropolitan Standard English). This situation came about with contact between speakers of a number of Niger-Congo languages and various dialects of English, the latter of which were all perceived as prestigious and the use of which carried socio-economic rewards.
Thе tеnsе/aspеct systеm of Jamaican Patois is fundamеntally unlikе that of Еnglish. Thеrе arе no morphological markеd past tеnsе forms corrеsponding to Еnglish -еd -t. Thеrе arе two prеvеrbial particlеs: еn and a. Thеsе arе not vеrbs, thеy arе simply invariant particlеs that cannot stand alonе likе thе Еnglish to bе. For the present tense, an uninflected verb combining with an adverb marks habitual meaning as in tam aawez nuo kieti tel pan im (Tom always knows when Katy tells/has told about him). Breafly, verbal paradigm in spoken English Jamaican creole can be described as follows: en is a tense indicator, a is an aspect marker, (a) go is usеd to indicatе thе futurе. For instancе:
mi ɹon - I run (habitually); I ran
mi a ɹon or mi dе ɹon - I am running
a ɹon mi dida ɹon or a ɹon mi bеn(w)еn a ɹon - I was running
mi did ɹon or mi bеn(w)еn ɹon - I havе run; I had run
mi a go ɹon - I am going to run; I will run
There is also some peculiarities in negation. In Jamaican English creole no is used as a present tense negator, while a negative past participle is neva.
Because Jamaican Patois is mostly spoken language, there is no standard or official way of writing it. For еxamplе, thе word "thеrе" can bе writtеn dе, dеh, or dеrе, and thе word "thrее" is most commonly spеllеd trее, but it can bе spеllеd tri оr trii tо distinguish it frоm thе noun trее. Howеvеr, oftеn, Standard Еnglish spеllings arе usеd еvеn whеn words arе pronouncеd diffеrеntly.
Distinguishing peculiarities of Jamaican Patois vocabulary, we should mention its pronominal system. Thе pronominal systеm of Standard Еnglish has a four-way distinction of pеrson, numbеr, gеndеr and casе. Somе variеtiеs of Jamaican Patois do not havе thе gеndеr or casе distinction, but usеfully, it doеs distinguish bеtwееn thе sеcond pеrson singular and plural (you).
I, mе – = mi
you, you (singular) – ju
hе, him – im (pronouncеd as [ĩ] in thе basilеct variеtiеs)
shе, hеr – ʃi or im (no gеndеr distinction in basilеct variеtiеs)
wе, us – wi
you, you (plural) – unu
thеy, thеm – dеm
Jamaican Patois also contains many loanwords. Primarily thеsе comе from Еnglish, but arе also borrowеd from Spanish, Portuguеsе, Hindi, Arawak and African languagеs. Еxamplеs from African languagеs includе dopi mеaning ghost, sе mеaning that (in thе sеnsе of "hе told mе that...." = im tеl mi sе), takеn from a Wеst African languagе; thе pronoun unu, usеd for thе plural form of you, is taken from the Igbo language. Soso meaning “only” comes from both the Igbo and Yoruba language. Words from Hindi includе nuh, ganja (marijuana) еtc. Picknеy or pickinеy mеaning “child”, takеn from an еarliеr form (piccaninny) was ultimatеly borrowеd from thе Portuguеsе “pеquеninho” or Spanish “pеquеño” (small).
3.3.2. English Bahamian creole
Bahamian (simply known by its users as “dialect”) is spoken by approximately 400,000 people in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Variations exist between the creole spoken on various islands, villages or communities on islands. Bahamian is spoken by both white and black Bahamians, although in slightly different forms. Bahamian also tends to be more prevalent in certain areas of the Bahamas, such as the Family Islands; among Bahamians with limited education; and in situations of heightened emotion. Like most creoles, Bahamian is constantly evolving. Youth slang in the Bahamas borrows heavily from Jamaican Creole and African American Vernacular English. Bahamian also shares similar features with other Caribbean English creoles, such as Jamaican Creole, Bajan, and Virgin Islands Creole.
In the Bahamas, Bahamian is not referred to as "Creole", but as some kind of spoken variety of English language. The ability to switch between Bahamian and Standard English is common among many Bahamians, a skill artfully used by many of the nation's politicians 'to connect with the people'. However, school education is conducted mostly on Standard English, however, the Ministry of Education encourage teachers for enjoyment of and respect for Bahamian’.
Phonological system of English Bahamian creole is almost similar to the Standard English, however, as in most ‘New Englishes’ dental fricatives are usually pronounced [d] or [t] as in dis (this), dat (that), Tursdee (Thursday), tink (think) etc. Moreover, the sound [oi] often becomes [er] or [ur]: oil – url or er, boil – burl, going – gern etc.
Pronoun system in Bahamian creole is quite different from that of Standard English. Personal pronouns in Bahamian are generally the same as in Standard English. However, Bahamians have a separate pronoun form for describing actions done alone or by a single group or party: only me one sing (I'm the only one who sang), dey the only ones dat come (They were the only ones who came) etc. Moreover, possessive pronouns also often differ from Standard English with: your becoming you, ya, or yuh, his or hers becoming he or she, our becoming we and their becoming dey: Das yuh book? (Is that your book?); No, but das dey car over dere (No, but that's their car over there). In addition, the possessive pronouns mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours and theirs often become mine's, yorns, he own, she own, we own, yinna's and dey own or des. For instance:
Who book dis is? – Whose book is this?
mine's – my own
yorns – yours
he own – his
we own – ours
yinnas – yours
dey own – theirs
des – theirs
Referring to grammar, it is worthy to speak about verb usage in English Bahamian creole, because verb usage in the Bahamian differs significantly from that of Standard English. One verb of Standard English is often expressed by a number of different alternatives in Bahamian. For instance, the verb ‘to go’ can be expressed as gwine, gern, gun, gin, goin without any apparent rule of usage. The verb ‘to be’ in Bahamian language can be substituted for the verb ‘to do’, in that the word ‘does’ can be replaced with the word ‘is’. Moreover, the verb ‘to be’ in the present tense, is usually conjugated ‘is’ regardless of the grammatical person: I am – I is, you are – you is, we are – we is, they are – dey is. When using the verb ‘to like’ with an infinitive, Bahamians tend to omit the particle "to" in the infinitive: He like sing (He likes to sing); She like lie (She likes to tell lies/She lies a lot).
Bahamians have a variety of methods to express past tense of the verb. Generally, the past tense, in Bahamian is formed by combining the present tense, of the Standard English verb with a word or words that indicate that the action happened in the past (I drink plenny rum las night – I drank a lot of rum last night). The past tense in Bahamian English can also be formed by combining ‘did’ with the present tense of the relevant Standard English verb (I did eat peas an rice yes'dee – I ate peas 'n' rice yesterday), while ‘done’ usefully indicates the perfect (I done told you – I have told you).
Speaking of vocabulary of spoken Bahamian creole, we have found a great number of words and phrases that have a peculiar meaning widely understood within Bahamians but mystifying to foreigners. These are switcha for ‘lemonade’, jook with the meaning “to stab or poke”, mussy instead of ‘must be’, scuze for apologizing, teef with the meaning ‘ to steal’ etc.
Spoken English Bahamian creole has a great number of proverbs, which are often used in an every day speech. The great number of proverbs are considered by the Bahamians as their vernacular, however, most of them possibly were taken to the islands by colonists. Thus, a great number of Bahamian proverbs are not unique and have corresponding equivalent in one or another European languages:
“Don’t let your mout carry you where your foot can’t bring you back from” - Be careful what you say because you might regret it.
“If you spit in the wind it gon come back in your face“ – If you do something to someone, it will eventually come back to you.
“Fisherman don’t smell he own basket“ - You could never see your own wrong doings.
“What sweeten your mouth gonna pepper your tail“ - You laughin now, you gone be crying later.
“If you lay with dogs you gon’ catch flees” - Watch the friends you keep.
“Eye whisker been here before eye brow“ - I older than you so I know all your tricks.
We have also found some common Bahamian colloquial phrases and interjections:
dat ain no tru or dine no tru - that is not true
suck ya teet - the phrase is used to indicate anger/frustration
God spare life - very frequently used idiom used when describing a future action similar to 'God willing'.
Bam Bam Bam and bup bup bup – interjections often used to express excitement
Since analyzing deviation of spoken Caribbean English variants from Standard English we have considered only creoles, the results of analysis are very interesting. Both Jamaican and Bahamian creoles are mostly spoken variants of language, thus there are no standard spelling in both of them. Although a Standard English spelling is often used, words can be written down in different ways and consequently are pronounced differently. In both creoles, the verb system is quite different from Standard English: there are no morphological marked past tense forms, thus there are variety of methods to express tense category. However, these methods are different between Jamaican and Bahamian creoles. Pronoun system is also differ from that of Standard English: Jamaican Patois do not have the gender or case distinction in personal pronouns, Bahamians have a separate pronoun form for describing actions done alone or by a single group or party, and have a number of deviations in possessive pronouns. In spite of the extensive use of English words and derivatives in both creoles, they also contain a great number of borrowings, not only from native for this territory languages, but even from different European and African languages.
In this Chapter we have analyzed peculiarities of New Englishes and their deviation from Standard English. Our analysis was devoted to comparing of colloquial speech in Standard English and in different new variants of English language: spoken English of South Africa, Ugandan English, Singaporean English creole or Singlish, spoken Indian English, Patois Jamaican creole and Bahamian English creole, which were combined into three groups – African, Asian and Caribbean Englishes.
We have determined this New Englishes deviation from Standard English in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and idioms. Moreover, we have revealed some peculiarities common for both variants of African, Asian and Caribbean Englishes.
Deviation of New Englishes from Standard English is connected mostly with the fact, that they were non-native in new territories and had to co-exist together with other languages. Thus, the most common for all New Englishes peculiarity is an extensive use of borrowed from vernacular languages vocabulary, grammar, the manner of pronunciation, expressive means etc. Moreover, all of them have tendency to anglicize their vernacular words and to develop peculiar meanings for some Standard English words.
African English varieties tend to generalize popular trademark names to identify a broad group of things. Speech of Asian English speakers is known for its melodiousness and emotional expressiveness. Almost all Asian English spoken varieties widely use reduplication of words and a great number of vernacular interjections and exclamatory words. Bermudian spoken varieties are presented only by variable creoles, which are always colloquial and have no established standards. Thus they developed very peculiar spelling, grammar rules and vocabulary.
However, each spoken new English variety has its own peculiarities. In colloquial South African speech, for instance, there is a tendency of using excessive unnecessary elements and exclamative phrases borrowed from vernacular African languages. Singlish grammar peculiarities are topic-prominent syntax, possible omitting of the subject and the verb “to be”. For Indian English it is common to shorten Standard English words what leads to a great number of acronyms. Jamaican Patois do not have the gender or case distinction in personal pronouns. Bahamians have a separate pronoun form for describing actions done alone or by a single group or party, and have a number of deviations in possessive pronouns. All this peculiarities of spoken New Englishes are connected with the environmental influence on the English language in different continents, countries and cultures.
Aceto M., Williams J.P., Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean, John Benjamins publishing company, 2003
Baldridge J., Linguistic and Social Characteristics of Indian English. Language in India., 2002
Baumgardner R.J., South Asian English: structure, use and users, University of Illinois Press, 1996
Bolton K., Kachru B.B., World Englishes: critical concepts in linguistic, 2006
Branford J., A dictionary of South African English, Ed. 3, revised, Oxford University Press, 1987
Brown A., Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications, 1999
Crystal D., English as a global language, Cambridge University Press, 2003
Deterding D., Singapore English, Edinburgh University Press, 2007
Foley J., New Englishes: the Case of Singapore, Singapore University Press, 1988
Hackert S., Urban Bahamian Creole: system and variation, John Benjamins publishing company, 2004
Hopwood, D., South African English Pronunciation. Reprint of the 1929 ed., Juta, Cape Town, 1970
Kachru Y., Nelson C.L., World Englishes in Asian contexts, Hong Kong University Press, 2006
Patrick P.L., Urban Jamaican creole, John Benjamins publishing company, 1999
Platt J.T., Weber H., Ho M.L., The new Englishes, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984
Wells J. C., Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, 1982
A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English, www.singlishdictionary.com
Jamaican Online Glossary, www.speakjamaican.com
Indian Online Journal, www.languageinindia.com
The English Academy of Southern Africa, www.englishacademy.co.za
Uganda online Newspaper, www.redpepper.ug
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The English Academy of Southern Africa
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this and other examples, Bolton K. et al (2006:216-225)
Uganda online Newspaper
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Baumgardner R.J. (1996:28)
Brown A. (1999)
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Deterding D. (2007)
Foley J. (1988:86)
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this and other examples, A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English
Indian Online Journal
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Baldridge J. (2002)
this and other examples, Baldridge J. (2002), Indian Online Journal
Bolton K. et al (2006:319)
Baldridge J. (2002)
Bolton K. et al (2006:11)
Crystal D (2003:39)
Crystal D (2003:40)
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Patrick P.L. (1999:32)
Patrick P.L. (1999:127)
Aceto M. (2003:30)
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this and other examples, Hackert S. (2004)
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1.Aceto M., Williams J.P., Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean, John Benjamins publishing company, 2003
2.Baldridge J., Linguistic and Social Characteristics of Indian English. Language in India., 2002
3.Baumgardner R.J., South Asian English: structure, use and users, University of Illinois Press, 1996
4.Bolton K., Kachru B.B., World Englishes: critical concepts in linguistic, 2006
5.Branford J., A dictionary of South African English, Ed. 3, revised, Oxford University Press, 1987
6.Brown A., Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications, 1999
7.Crystal D., English as a global language, Cambridge University Press, 2003
8.Deterding D., Singapore English, Edinburgh University Press, 2007
9.Foley J., New Englishes: the Case of Singapore, Singapore University Press, 1988
10.Hackert S., Urban Bahamian Creole: system and variation, John Benjamins publishing company, 2004
11.Hopwood, D., South African English Pronunciation. Reprint of the 1929 ed., Juta, Cape Town, 1970
12.Kachru Y., Nelson C.L., World Englishes in Asian contexts, Hong Kong University Press, 2006
13.Patrick P.L., Urban Jamaican creole, John Benjamins publishing company, 1999
14.Platt J.T., Weber H., Ho M.L., The new Englishes, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984
15.Wells J. C., Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, 1982
16.A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English, www.singlishdictionary.com
17.Jamaican Online Glossary, www.speakjamaican.com
18.Indian Online Journal, www.languageinindia.com
19.The English Academy of Southern Africa, www.englishacademy.co.za
20.Uganda online Newspaper, www.redpepper.ug
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