Creole Languages of the Caribbean

The initial concept behind the development of this site is to create an on-line resource for Caribbean Creole language learners.

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Antwé, Bélantre, Wha' appen

The initial concept behind the development of this site is to create an on-line resource for Caribbean Creole language learners.

There are 29 countries in the Caribbean which have, in addition to their official language, one or more Creole languages that are used as part of everyday life. Ultimately I would like this site to become a 'one stop' shop for information relating to the Creole Languages of the Caribbean.

Creoles: 'a creole has a jargon or a pidgin in its ancestry, it is spoken natively by an entire speech community, often one whose ancestors were displaced geographically so that their ties with the original language and sociocultural identity were partly broken.' (Holm 2000: 6)

If you have any riddles, proverbs or folktales that you would like to see on this site please email m.edwin (@gold.ac.uk)

Countries with Creole as a langauge

Haiti

The island of Hispaniola - the home of the native Arawak Amerindians - was discovered by Columbus in 1492. Within 25 years the Arawaks were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers. The early 17th century saw the French establish a presence on Hispaniola, and in 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island - Haiti.

Through the importation of African slaves this French colony, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE and after a prolonged struggle, became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. Estimated population is 8,121,622 (July 2005).

Official languages of Haiti are French and Kreyol.

Jamaica

Estimated population is 2,731,832 (July 2005). Languages spoken are English and Jamaican Creole.

Further details on Jamaica

Proverbs

A short duppy story

St Lucia

St Lucia is an island of the Caribbean located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. During the 17th and 18th century St Lucia changed ownership 14 times between England and France and was finally was relinquished to the UK in 1814.

On 22 February 1979 St Lucia gained independence from the UK. Estimated population is 166,312 (July 2005). English is the official language, although the majority of the population speak Kwéyòl.


Futher background information.

Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in Saint Lucia. The experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an ex-British/ex French colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott's life and work. Father: Warwick Walcott, Mother: Alix Walcott. One of 3 Children. Twin Brother - Roderick, Sister - Pamela. His father, a painter/poet died when Derek was a few years old. His mother ran the town's Methodist school. After studying at St. Mary's College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he has worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962). In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.

Further biographic details can be obtained from 'A Caribbean Life' by Bruce King.

Derek Walcott - Interview

From his home in New York, Derek Walcott talks about his life and work with Anders Hallengren one day in November 2000. We can also hear him read some lines from his works "The Muse of History" and "Origins" and "A Lesson For This Sunday"