Sociohistorical and linguistic account of St Vincent and the Grenadines

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This chapter presents a settlement history of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the demographic composition of the islands at transitional periods in their history and the ethnolinguistic origins of the settlers. We show that a great proportion of the African linguistic heritage has been lost and that, throughout the centuries, a number of linguistic elements of Africans brought to the islands have been incorporated into other language varieties as a result of contact, leaving lexical and structural traces of the Africans’ ancestral languages. We also establish that the Carib, Madeiran and Indian descendants have lost or given up the languages of their ancestors. We explore some sociohistorical events that have given rise to this present linguistic state of affairs and highlight some early and modern-day lexical, phonological and grammatical features of Vincentian language.* Keywords: St Vincent and the Grenadines; ethnolinguistic origins; demographic composition; phonology; lexicon; grammar


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