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Article of various viewpoints and aspects common to the Southern Caribbean


'English,' the language
of the Southern Caribbean

 

by Walter Robinson II,
with a contributed article by Alister Hughes

Before my family came to Carriacou to live, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the people of Grenada, like most of the Southern Caribbean, reportedly spoke "English." However, when we actually arrived, we quickly realized that the English they spoke was quite different from that to which we had been accustomed.

I have found that as long as most Americans speak slowly and distinctly, and the West Indians do the same, most can communicate and be understood clearly. However, it takes an acquired ear for many Americans to understand West Indians when they are speaking among themselves. I am no linguist by a long shot, but I have lived in the Caribbean long enough to know that most West Indians concatenate (link or connect in continuous patterns) their words differently. They also often emphasize the last syllable of many words, which often changes its sound significantly. Lastly, they also use idioms that are not readily understood by many Americans. But on this last point, I believe that many idioms and commonly accepted phrases are more readily understood by those that speak British English to some degree.

In any case, I discovered an article years ago that had been written by a gentleman, who is an accomplished author that is native to Grenada. I am very please to be able to present his excellent article here with his permission. His name is Alister Hughes, and the article is entitled, "Learning The Language." You may click on the embedded link in the title immediately above, or the link in the top boarder of this page to read it. Enjoy!

Thanks, Mr. Hughes, for allowing me to post your informative article here.

Walter Robinson II
January 9, 2003


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