Vincentian Creole

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Vincentian Creole
Native to Saint Vincent
Native speakers
unknown (140,000 cited 1989)[1]
English Creole
  • Atlantic
    • Eastern
      • Southern
        • Vincentian Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3 svc
Glottolog vinc1243[2]
Linguasphere 52-ABB-aq

Vincentian Creole is an English-lexified creole language spoken in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It does not have the status of an official language. It contains elements of French and Antillean Creole, Spanish, and even Portuguese. It has also been influenced by the indigenous Kalinago/Garifuna elements and by African language brought over the Atlantic Ocean by way of the slave trade. Over the years the creole has changed to be more English-based.

One must also always bear in mind that creole was developed as a spoken language by very intelligent (but "uneducated") slaves who needed to be able to communicate with other slaves from other tribes. Most of the words were overheard and therefore mispronounced by the standard of the original languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese). This particular creole has no grammatical rules as such but some observations can be made as to how speakers structure their sentences when speaking and as to how ideas are expressed.

Pronunciation[edit]

The creole is English-based. However, most, if not all, words are pronounced with a "Vincy" flavour. The native speakers of creole can speak it as fast or slow as they want. Most prefer to speak relatively quickly.

  • Hard sounds at the end of words are avoided. There are mainly two ways hard sounds are evaded:
    • by changing the order of the sounds. Example: "ask" is rendered as "aks"
    • by dropping the last sound. Example: "desk" pronounced as "dess" and "tourist" as "touriss"
  • For words ending in "-er", the "-er" sound changes to an "ah" sound. Example: "never" is pronounced as "nevah" and clever as "clevah"
  • For words ending in "-th", the soft "-th" sound is replaced by the hard "t" sound as if the "h" were dropped. Example: "with" is rendered as "wit" and "earth" as "eart"
  • For words ending in "-own", the "-own" is rendered as "-ung". Examples: down is rendered "dung" and town is rendered "tung"

Grammar[edit]

There are no "hard and fast" grammatical rules in Vincentian Creole. Generally, there is no need for concord. The verb in its plural form is simply placed after the subject of the sentence. The object of the sentence is then placed after the verb, as in English. If there are both a direct object and an indirect object, the indirect object is placed directly after the verb followed by the direct object.

The subject pronouns are as shown in the following table.

Pronouns Origin English Equivalent
me me (English) I or me
yo you (English) you (singular, as both object and subject)
e/i (pronounced "ee") he (English) he/she/it
ahwe/arwe all of we (incorrect grammatically, English) we or us
aryo/alyo all of you (English) you (plural, as both object and subject)
dem/demdey them/them there (English) they or them

With regards to tense, the present tense is indicated by the use of the modal "does" (for habitual actions) or by the use of the present participle ending in "-ing" (for actions one is currently doing). The past tense is indicated by the use of either what is in English the plural form of the present tense of the verb, the modal "did", "been"/"bin" or the past participle of the verb. The future tense is indicated by the use of the present participle of the verb "to go", which is "going", or the plural form of the verb, "go".

Tense Example
Present Me does give / Me givin'
Past Me give / Me did give / Me bin give
Future Me going give/ Me go give

Vocabulary[edit]

Expression Origin Meaning
mawnin' morning (English) Good Morning!/morning
mek? Unknown why?
naygah equivalent to negro insult(English) people
pikney pequinino (Portuguese) child
buh but (English) but
caah possibly 'car' (French) because or cannot
parisohl parasol (Spanish) umbrella
dohtish/chupit doltish (English) stupid
wey where (English) where or what
nyam nyam (Wolof/Fula) eat
comess Unknown gossip
yah/yahso here (English) here
dey/deyso there (English) there
outadoh/out dey outdoors (English) outside
pyar pyar Unknown poor
chook jukka (Fula) poke

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vincentian Creole at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Vincentian Creole English". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.