St. Helena English

St Helena is a rather isolated island in the mid-central South Atlantic Ocean. The population today is about 4,000, with most of them living in the island’s capital Jamestown. The beginnings of the continuous native-speaker tradition of StHE lie in the mid 17th century, making it the oldest variety of Southern Hemisphere English. Its founding populations were socially and ethnically diverse. Most of the early British working-class settlers came from southern England, large numbers of slaves were later imported from the west African coast, India and Madagascar. StHE evolved in a setting of ethnic mixing and sociodemographic homogenization and was accompanied by language shift, dialect levelling and bilingualism.

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