Bahamian Creole

Bahamian Creole (locally termed "dialect") is spoken by ca. 250,000 speakers in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, an archipelago of over 700 islands extending between Florida and Hispaniola. The country is heavily urbanized, with about two thirds of all Bahamians living in the capital, Nassau. Economically, it depends on the service-oriented tourism and banking industries. The creole spoken in the Bahamas today was imported by loyalist blacks in the wake of the American Revolutionary War; it may be regarded as a diaspora variety of Gullah. The majority of Bahamians today speak a mesolectal form of Bahamian Creole. Basilectal speakers tend to be elderly Bahamians and/or those who live on the more remote islands, especially in the southeast. As in most other post-colonial speech communities, negative attitudes towards the vernacular prevail. Since independence in 1973, Bahamian Creole has received a boost as a symbol of national identity. Nevertheless, the role of standard English as the sole official language of the country is uncontested.

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