In the 17th century many thousands of Africans, uprooted and scattered throughout the New World, joined with Scots-Irish settlers and polyglot seamen in the rapid restructuring of (King Charles') English, to form their own inner language. David Sutcliffe looks at results of this transformation more than three centuries on, paying special attention to the resulting grammar. He suggests that, on this level, elements not only successfully carried over from African languages into their Afro-American replacements, but remained in play to form relational systems that have proved very durable. He goes on to compare some of the syntactic features of the West African Kwa languages with remarkably similar features in United States Black English and in British Jamaican Creole-the latter itself undergoing changes in contact with British English. In the process we find out more about Creole tonal patterns, and about the way that Black English Vernacular (above all) may often be superficially similar, if not identical, to Mainstream English, and yet in fact be operating according to a system that is still sharply divergent in many respects. Professor John Figueroa writes the prologue to this book, refreshingly questioning the tenets and gospels of linguistics. He describes the trend to replace the older fashion of denying any importance to African input in the Creoles with an equally callow fashion which denies any BUT African influences, a trap which David Sutcliffe assiduously avoids, while exploiting his expertise and knowledge of the African connection to the full.
Publisher: Channel View Publications Ltd ISBN: 9781853591303 Number of pages: 184 Weight: 355 g Dimensions: 210 x 148 x 16 mm
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