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Some non-standard features of Bahamian dialect syntax

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Title:Some non-standard features of Bahamian dialect syntax
Authors:Shilling, Alison Watt
Keywords:Creole dialects, English -- Bahamas
Date Issued:1978
Abstract:This dissertation investigates three areas of non-Standard syntax in the Bahamian Dialect. Chapter I provides orientation and a discussion of the literature. It gives historical and social background showing the relationship the Bahamas has with the US and the Caribbean. Since the analysis is based on tape recorded data, details are given of the techniques employed in data collection. In Chapter II copula sentences In BD are discussed. Tables are provided showing the forms of the verb In such sentences and their frequency of occurrence. Individual speaker variation in the presence or absence of non-past positive copula is compared with equivalent Black English data in Labov 1969. It is concluded that Bahamian Dialect variation cannot be accounted for by phonological rule as can the Black English variation. Copula omission is governed by the following syntactic environment; discussion of these environments leads to the conclusion that there is an underlying copula only before a noun-phrase complement. Discussion of other environments where a surface copula is found shows that these can be accounted for without postulating an underlying copula. It is shown that variation in the BD copula can be accounted for if BD is considered to have developed from an earlier stage where copula categories were similar to those in present-day Guyanese Creole basilect. In Chapter III the factors determining the forms of the verbal negator are discussed. Frequencies of forms found in different environments at different points on the BD continuum are given and it is shown that the form selected reflects non-Standard distinctions in the BD basilect. This corresponds to the situation in the Guyanese Creole mesolect. In Chapter III a detailed analysis of negative concord in Bahamian dialect is compared to data given for Black English by Labov 1972. Rules are proposed for negative concord in BD and BE which derive these varieties independently from SE rather than by the addition of rules to the end of a grammar required for SE, as proposed by Labov 1972. In Chapter IV the lack of dummy-subject rule In the BD basilect and the gradual appearance of this rule for different environments in the mesolect are discussed. Pronoun copying of a noun-phrase subject is also analyzed and attempts to correlate its occurrence with features of the copied noun-phrase show that this copying is optional with the complexity of the noun-phrase and its contrast with a preceding noun-phrase favoring the copying. Similar pronoun copying and also the fronting of a non-subject has been called topicalization. Both these transformations make a noun-phrase more prominent in the sentence; such a noun-phrase in the BD data seems to have certain characteristics of the sentence topic insofar as these have been established.
Description:Photocopy of typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1978.
Bibliography: leaves 186-189.
vii, 189 leaves map
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics

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