Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The study investigates language attitudes in The Bahamas, addressing the current status of the local creole in society as well as attitudinal indicators of endonormative reorientation and stabilization. At the heart of the study is a verbal guise test which investigates covert language attitudes among educated Bahamians, mostly current and former university students; this was supplemented by a selection of acceptance rating scales and other direct question formats. The research instrument was specifically designed to look into the complex relationships between Bahamian Creole and local as well as non-local accents of standard English and to test associated solidarity and status effects in informal settings. The results show that the situation in The Bahamas mirrors what is found for other creole-speaking Caribbean countries in that the local vernacular continues to be ‘the language of solidarity, national identity, emotion and humour, and Standard the language of education, religion, and officialdom’ (Youssef 2004: 44). Notably, the study also finds that standard Bahamian English outranks the other metropolitan standards with regard to status traits, suggesting an increase in endonormativity.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. The Bahamas Ministry of Education and Culture
    The Bahamas Ministry of Education and Culture 1972 Focus on the future: White paper on education. bahamaslibraries.org/images/nlis/PDF/History/white/20paper/20on/20education.pdf. (15February 2021.)
  2. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
    The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism 2018 Our language: Bahamian English. https://www.bahamas.com/our-language. (4May 2018.)
  3. Bates, Douglas, Martin Mächler, Ben Bolker & Steve Walker
    2015 Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software67(1). 1–48. 10.18637/jss.v067.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bayard, Donn, Ann Weatherall, Cynthia Gallois & Jeffery Pittam
    2001 Pax Americana? Accent attitudinal evaluations in New Zealand, Australia and America. Journal of Sociolinguistics5(1). 22–49. 10.1111/1467‑9481.00136
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00136 [Google Scholar]
  5. Beckford Wassink, Alicia
    1999 Historic low prestige and seeds of change: Attitudes toward Jamaican Creole. Language in Society28(1). 57–92.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Belgrave, Korah
    2008 Attitudes of Barbadians to British, American and Barbadian accents. La Torre: Revista de la Universidad de Puerto Rico13(49–50). 429–444.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bernaisch, Tobias
    2012 Attitudes towards Englishes in Sri Lanka. World Englishes31(3). 279–291. 10.1111/j.1467‑971X.2012.01753.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.2012.01753.x [Google Scholar]
  8. Bernaisch, Tobias & Christopher Koch
    2016 Attitudes towards Englishes in India. World Englishes35(1). 118–132. 10.1111/weng.12174
    https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12174 [Google Scholar]
  9. Department of Statistics
  10. Deuber, Dagmar
    2013 Towards endonormative standards of English in the Caribbean: A study of students’ beliefs and school curricula. Language, Culture and Curriculum26(2). 109–127. 10.1080/07908318.2013.794816
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2013.794816 [Google Scholar]
  11. Deuber, Dagmar & Glenda A. Leung
    2013 Investigating attitudes towards an emerging standard of English: Evaluations of newscasters’ accents in Trinidad. Multilingua32(3). 289–219. 10.1515/multi‑2013‑0014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2013-0014 [Google Scholar]
  12. Fox, John
    2003 Effect displays in R for generalised linear models. Journal of Statistical Software8(15). 10.18637/jss.v008.i15
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v008.i15 [Google Scholar]
  13. Garrett, Peter
    2010Attitudes to language (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511844713
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511844713 [Google Scholar]
  14. Greenbaum, Sidney
    1996Comparing English worldwide: The International Corpus of English. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Hackert, Stephanie
    2004Urban Bahamian Creole: System and variation (Varieties of English Around the World G32). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/veaw.g32
    https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g32 [Google Scholar]
  16. 2016 Standards of English in the Caribbean: History, attitudes, functions, features. InElena Seoane & Cristina Suarez-Gomez (eds.), World Englishes: New theoretical and methodological considerations (Varieties of English Around the World G57), 85–111. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/veaw.g57.05hac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g57.05hac [Google Scholar]
  17. Hackert, Stephanie & Magnus Huber
    2007 Gullah in the diaspora: Historical and linguistic evidence from the Bahamas. Diachronica24(2). 279–325. 10.1075/dia.24.2.04hac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.24.2.04hac [Google Scholar]
  18. Hinrichs, Lars
    2006Codeswitching on the web: English and Jamaican Creole in e-mail communication (Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 147). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/pbns.147
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.147 [Google Scholar]
  19. Holm, John A. & Alison W. Shilling
    1982Dictionary of Bahamian English. Cold Spring, NY: Lexik House.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. IDEA International Dialects of English Archive
    IDEA International Dialects of English Archive 2017 Texas 20. https://www.dialectsarchive.com/texas-20. (24July 2018.)
  21. Jamaican Language Unit
    Jamaican Language Unit 2005 The language attitude survey of Jamaica: Data analysis. https://www.mona.uwi.edu/dllp/jlu/projects/for/Report/Language/Attitude/Survey/of/Jamaica.pdf. (12May 2017.)
  22. Kuznetsova, Alexandra, Per B. Brockhoff & Rune H. B. Christensen
    2017 lmerTest package: Tests in linear mixed effects models. Journal of Statistical Software82(13). 1–26. 10.18637/jss.v082.i13
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v082.i13 [Google Scholar]
  23. Labov, William
    1963 The social motivation of a sound change. WORD19(3). 273–309. 10.1080/00437956.1963.11659799
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1963.11659799 [Google Scholar]
  24. 1966The social stratification of English in New York City (Urban Language Series). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Leiner, Dominik J.
    2016SoSci Survey. Munich: SoSci Survey GmbH.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Llamas, Carmen & Dominic J. L. Watt
    2014 Scottish, English, British?: Innovations in attitude measurement. Language and Linguistics Compass8(11). 610–617. 10.1111/lnc3.12109
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12109 [Google Scholar]
  27. Mair, Christian
    2006Twentieth-century English (Studies in English Language). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511486951
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486951 [Google Scholar]
  28. McArthur, Tom
    2002The Oxford guide to World English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Meer, Philipp, Michael Westphal, Eva C. Hänsel & Dagmar Deuber
    2019 Trinidadian secondary school students’ attitudes toward accents of standard English. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages34(1). 83–125. 10.1075/jpcl.00029.mee
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jpcl.00029.mee [Google Scholar]
  30. Mühleisen, Susanne
    2001 Is ‘bad English’ dying out? A comparative diachronic study on attitudes towards Creole versus standard English in Trinidad. Philologie im Netz15, web.fu-berlin.de/phin/phin15/p15t3.htm. (9May 2017.)
    [Google Scholar]
  31. 2002Creole discourse: Exploring prestige formation and change across Caribbean English-lexicon creoles (Creole Language Library 24). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/cll.24
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cll.24 [Google Scholar]
  32. Nelson, Gerald
    2002 International Corpus of English: Markup manual for spoken texts. https://www.ice-corpora.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:72c70d5a-8da8-496f-b8dc-5fb66986c87c/spoken.pdf. (15February 2021.)
  33. Oenbring, Raymond & William Fielding
    2014 Young adults’ attitudes to standard and nonstandard English in an English-creole speaking country: The case of The Bahamas. Language, Discourse & Society3(1). 28–51.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. R Core Team
    R Core Team 2018R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Rickford, John R.
    1985 Standard and non-standard language attitudes in a creole continuum. InNessa Wolfson & Joan Manes (eds.), Language of inequality, 145–160. Berlin: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110857320.145
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110857320.145 [Google Scholar]
  36. Roberts, Nicole
    2018 Bahamian dictionary of dem old essential words and phrases. https://bahamianology.com/bahamian-dictionary-dem-old-essential-words-phrases/. (13August 2018.)
  37. Rosario-Martinez, Helios de
    2015 phia: Post-hoc interaction analysis. R package version 0.2-1. https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/phia/index.html. (14August 2018.)
  38. Schneider, Edgar W.
    2007Postcolonial English: Varieties around the world (Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511618901
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618901 [Google Scholar]
  39. Urwick, James
    2002 The Bahamian educational system: A case study in Americanization. Comparative Education Review46(2). 157–181. 10.1086/340475
    https://doi.org/10.1086/340475 [Google Scholar]
  40. Westphal, Michael
    2015 Attitudes toward accents of standard English in Jamaican radio newscasting. Journal of English Linguistics43(4). 311–333. 10.1177/0075424215607327
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424215607327 [Google Scholar]
  41. Wickham, Hadley
    2007 Reshaping data with the reshape package. Journal of Statistical Software21(12). 10.18637/jss.v021.i12
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v021.i12 [Google Scholar]
  42. 2009ggplot2: Elegant graphics for data analysis. New York, NY: Springer. 10.1007/978‑0‑387‑98141‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-98141-3 [Google Scholar]
  43. Winford, Donald
    1976 Teacher attitudes toward language varieties in a creole community. International Journal of the Sociology of Language8(8). 45–75.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Youssef, Valerie
    2004 ‘Is English we speaking’: Trinbagonian in the twenty-first century. English Today20(4). 42–49. 10.1017/S0266078404004080
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078404004080 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error