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Academic Paper


Title: Bequia sweet/ Bequia is sweet: syntactic variation in a lesser-known variety of Caribbean English
Author: Miriam Meyerhoff
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Auckland
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: An analysis of dialect variability in the use of BE in the island of Bequia. Bequia (pronounced /bekwei/) is the northernmost of the Grenadine islands in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Like most of the Caribbean, Bequia has a long history of language contact, but most of the evidence for this must be inferred. It appears that the Carib population living on the island before European colonization settled Bequia in successive waves of migration ultimately originating from the coast of South America indeed the name ‘Bequia’ is said to derive from a Carib word , meaning ‘Island of the clouds’, but as yet I have been unable to trace this etymon reliably to a particular Carib language. Based on what we know about St Vincent, and the limited mentions of Bequia in the eighteenth century, we can infer that, at times, there may have been contact between some combination of speakers of a Carib language or languages, French, English, African languages and/or possibly a relatively new creole-like or contact variety of English.

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This article appears IN English Today Vol. 24, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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