Urban Bahamian Creole: System and Variation

This volume, a detailed empirical study of the creole English spoken in the Bahamian capital, Nassau, contributes to our understanding of both urban creoles and tense-aspect marking in creoles. The first part traces the development of a creole in the Bahamas via socio-demographic data and outlines its current status and functions vis-a-vis the standard in politics, the media, and education. The linguistic chapters combine typological and variationist methods to describe exhaustively a comprehensive grammatical subsystem, past temporal reference, offering a discourse-based approach to such controversial categories as the preverbal past marker. The quantitative analysis of variable past inflection, finally, tests not only well-known constraints, such as stativity or social class, but also ethnographically determined ones, such as narrative type. Its results are relevant not only to the study of Caribbean English-lexifier creoles and related varieties, such as African American English, but also to variation and change in urban dialects generally.