ERIC Number: ED132882
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Nov-5
Reference Count: 0
Black English Near its Roots: The Transplanted West African Creoles.
Birmingham, John C., Jr.
It seems highly likely that many of the features of Black American English can be traced back to the Afro-Portuguese Creole dialects that sprang up in the fifteenth century in Portuguese slave camps along the West African coast, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea area, the area of greatest concentration of activity during the slave trade. This Creole was used for communication by the Portuguese slave traders and the slaves on the one hand, and by the slaves themselves on the other hand, since these latter were drawn from many different African tribes speaking mutually unintelligible languages. Some of the early features of Black English have disappeared, due to contact with Standard English. For example, negation with "no" and the use of "me" as a subject pronoun are almost undoubtedly of Afro-Portuguese origin and are echoed in Jamaican Creole English. Other features of Black American English have remained and have exact parallels in the speech of certain blacks in the Caribbean, for instance, whose Creole dialects neglect gender distinctions, shun the "redundant" plural, and merge verb forms into one single form. Similarly, a Black English noun-deriving process is seen in the Creole dialects, as are other features commonly seen in Black English. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the meeting of the American Dialect Society, (Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 1976)