Bermudian English


Bermudian English

Bermudian English is the variety of English spoken in Bermuda, a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic. "Standard English is used in professional settings and in writing, while vernacular Bermudian English is spoken on more casual occasions." [Ruth Thomas, "Notes on Bermudian Language", in "Bermuda connections", "Smithsonian Folklife Festival. 2001". Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2001.]

Bermudian English has been called "one of the most severely underresearched varieties of English". [Cecilia Cutler, Stephanie Hackert and Chanti Seymour, "Bermuda and Bahamas", in Ulrich Ammon (ed.), "Sociolinguistics. An International Handbook". 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Walter de Gruyter, 2006. ISBN 3110184184. p. 2066.] It primarily shows a mixture of traits typical of British English and American English, and is generally classified as a form of American (rather than Caribbean) English. [Tom McArthur (ed.), "Oxford Companion to the English Language". Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-19-214183-X. pp. 116, 352.] The most detailed scholarly study of Bermudian English, in 1933, stated that this type of speech "would create least remark, if indeed any, between, say, Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina". [Harry Morgan Ayres, "Bermudian English", "American Speech" 8:1 (1933), p. 4. [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1283%28193302%298%3A1%3C3%3ABE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-O Available online to JSTOR subscribers] .] In certain aspects of vocalization, however, Bermudian English is close to some versions of Caribbean English, [Cecilia Cutler, “English in the Turks and Caicos Islands: A look at Grand Turk” in "Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean", ed. Michael Aceto and Jeffrey P. Williams. John Benjamins: 2003, pp. 51–80. ISBN 9027248907. p. 60.] and some would bracket all these varieties to the broad region of the "English-speaking West Indies". [John Wells, "Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. ISBN 0521297192. p. 561.]

An unusual characteristic of Bermudian English, in people with a strong Bermudian accent, is the interchange of /æ/ and /ɛ/ (so that 'letter' is pronounced 'latter'), and of /v/ and /w/ - hence the title of a humorous glossary: "Bermewjan Vurds". [Peter A. Smith and Fred M. Barritt, "Bermewjan Vurds - a Dictionary of Conversational Bermudian". Hamilton, Bermuda: Lizard Press, 1988.] Other characteristics of Bermudian English include long vowels, and the tendency to pronounce d as dj, or j, when combined with a slender vowels, as in "Bermudjin" (Bermudian). This is not a characteristic unique to Bermuda. Note "idiot" - pronounced in many American accents as "idjit", or "eedjit". The v and w confusion was also characteristic of many dialects of Southern England in the 18th and 19th centuries. [ [http://www.humnet.unipi.it/slifo/articolosantipolo.pdf Matteo Santipolo, On the Opposite Sides of the Continuum: Standard British English and Cockney. A Historical Outline of the Parallel Developments of the Two Varieties.] ]

References

ee also

* Regional accents of English speakers

External links

* [http://xenon.stanford.edu/~lswartz/bermudian_english.pdf Bermudian English: History, Features, Social Role] paper by Stanford University student Luke Swartz, from which some of above references were taken.

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