English was first brought to the Bahamas by Bermudian settlers in 1648. Today, the standard variety co-exists in a continuum situation with a mesolectal creole, which, historically, must be regarded as an offshoot of Gullah (Hackert and Huber 2007). Bahamian Creole is used by the majority of the population in spoken, private, informal interaction and, despite being overtly stigmatized, enjoys rising prestige as a symbol of the Bahamas' national identity and cultural heritage. Thus, while standard English is still the language of choice in all written, public, and formal situations, it has been subject to encroachment from the creole in various domains, such as education, politics, and the media (Hackert 2004: 56-64). And while its traditional orientation has been toward the colonial norm, i.e., educated British English, American English currently appears to be increasing its influence on standard English in the Bahamas.
Population: c. 300,000
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Hackert, Stephanie (2004) Urban Bahamian Creole: System and Variation. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Hackert, Stephanie (2010) "ICE Bahamas: Why and how?" ICAME Journal 34: 41-53.
Hackert, Stephanie & Magnus Huber (2007) "Gullah in the diaspora. Historical and linguistic evidence from the Bahamas." Diachronica 24: 279-325.
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