NCLLP - Abaco Island

Abaco Island, The Bahamas

About the Site

The communities of Cherokee Sound and Sandy Point, both located on remote peninsulas in the Northern Bahamian island of Abaco, are related to the Carolinas in a unique way. In the 1790s, a small group of white loyalists disenchanted with the outcome of the Revolutionary War left the Carolinas. Following a short stay in Florida, they migrated to the Bahamas where they settled in the Cherokee Sound peninsula of Abaco.

The community of 160 Anglo Americans remains isolated to this day, obtaining electricity and a paved road for the first time in the mid 1990s. The dialect of this remote group is of great interest because of their historical relationship to the speech of the Carolinas and their segregation from other, majority black communities of the Bahamas. More than forty interviews have been conducted by the staff of the NCLLP with the residents of this island community, whose speech patterns resemble those of isolated coastal North Carolina communities with some accommodation to the speech of their Bahamian neighbors.

Located 30 miles southwest of Cherokee Sound, the Sandy Point community represents a group of traditional Afro-Bahamians who migrated from various sites in the African diaspora, including the American South. More than forty interviews have been conducted with residents of Sandy Point to provide comparisons within an isolated community of African-Bahamians.

Photos

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Papers

Childs, Becky, and Walt Wolfram. 2005. Bahamian Phonology. In Bernd Kortmann and Edgar W. Schneider (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 1. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 391-406.

Childs, Becky, Jeffrey Reaser, and Walt Wolfram. 2003. Defining Ethnic Varieties in The Bahamas: Phonological Accommodation in Black and White Enclaves. In Michael Aceto and Jeffrey P. Williams (eds.), Eastern Caribbean Creoles and Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1-28.

Reaser, Jeffrey, and Benjamin Torbert. 2005. Bahamian English: Morphology and Syntax. In Bernd Kortmann and Edgar W. Schneider (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 2. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 391-406.

Reaser, Jeffrey. 2004. A Quantitative Sociolinguistic Analysis of Bahamian Copula Absence: Morphosyntactic Evidence from Abaco Island, The Bahamas. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 19: 1-40.

Reaser, Jeffrey. 2002. Copula Absence in Bahamian Speech: Evidence from Ethnically Contrastive Enclaves, Abaco Island, Bahamas. Proceedings of 14th Biennial Conference of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics.

Reaser, Jeffrey. 2001. Copula Absence in Ethnically Contrastive Bahamian Communities. MA thesis, Raleigh: North Carolina State University.

Sellers, Jason. 1999. A Sociolinguistic Profile of Cherokee Sound, Bahamas: Analysis of an Out Island Community. MA thesis, Raleigh: North Carolina State University.

Wolfram, Walt, Childs, Becky, Reaser, Jeffrey, and Benjamin Torbert. 2003. Islands of Diversity. Language Magazine 28-31. Reprinted 2005 in Walt Wolfram and Ben Ward (eds.), Voices of American English. Malden, MA / Oxford: Blackwell. 183-188.