Bahamian English is a dialect of English spoken in the Bahamas and by Bahamian diasporas. The standard for official use and education is British-based. It should not be confused with Bahamian Creole, which is an English-based creole language.
The Bahamian accent is non-rhotic.
The realization of vowels in the Bahamian English. The vowels below are named by the lexical set they belong to:
- The Kit vowel: The same as in American English, the default [ɪ].
- The Dress vowel: The vowel is [ɛ].
- The Trap vowel: This vowel is mostly [a] or [æ].
- The Lot vowel: As mostly of the US, this vowel is usually [ɑ].
- The Strut vowel: It is the same as in the US English, [ʌ].
- The Foot vowel: It is [ʊ].
- The Fleece vowel: It's [i] or a diphthong [ɪi].
- The Face diphthong: It's generally [eɪ] or [ɛɪ].
- The Palm vowel: It is mostly [ɑ].
- The Thought vowel: The vowel is [ɔ].
- The Goat diphthong: It's generally [ɵʊ] or [oʊ].
- The Near diphthong: It's [eə] or [iə].
- The Square diphthong: It's [eə].
- The Start vowel: It's [ɑː].
- The North diphthong: usually [ɔə].
- The Force diphthong: usually [oə].
- The Cure diphthong: usually [uə].
- The Bath vowel: This vowel is mostly [a] or [æ].
- The Cloth vowel: It is mostly [ɔ].
- The Nurse vowel: It varies among [ə], [ɜ] and [ɜi].
- The Goose vowel: It's mostly [ʉː].
- The Price/Prize Dithphong: It's generally [ɑɪ].
- The Choice diphthong: It's [oɪ] or [ɑɪ].
- The Mouth diphthong: It varies among [ao], [aɵ] [aɛ] and [ɑə].
- The happY vowel: It is pretty much the kit vowel: [ɪ].
- The lettEr-horsEs-commA vowel is [ə] (schwa).
There's poor distinction between the [v] and [w] sounds in Bahamian English. The contrast is often neutralized or merged into [v], [b] or [β], so village sounds like [wɪlɪdʒ], [vɪlɪdʒ] or [βɪlɪdʒ]. This also happens in the Vincentian, Bermudian and other Caribbean Englishes.
- Voiced th becomes /d/, e.g. "That" turns into "dat"; "Those" > "Dose"; "There" > "Dere"; "They" > "Dey".
- Unvoiced th becomes /t/, e.g. "Thanks" becomes "tanks"; "Throw" > "Trow"; "Three" > "Tree".
- Ammon, Ulrich; Dittmar, Norbert; Mattheier, Klaus J. (2006). Sociolinguistics: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. Walter de Gruyter. p. 2069. ISBN 978-3-11-018418-1.
British-based standard Bahamian English is the official language [...] Although standard Bahamian is non-rhotic, many Bahamians view r-full American pronunciations as "correct" and try to imitate them, even to the extent of introducing a hypercorrect /r/ in [...] Baharmas.
- Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English. 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge U. Press. p. 570. ISBN 978-0-521-28541-4.
The accents of Trinidad and the other Windward and Leeward Islands, and of the Bahamas, are non-rhotic. Jamaica and Guyana occupy intermediate positions, with variable semi-rhoticity.
- Childs, Becky; Wolfram, Walt (2008). "Bahamian English: phonology". In Schneider, Edgar W. Varieties of English. 2: The Americas and the Caribbean. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 239–255.
- Kortmann, Bernd (2004). A Handbook of Varieties of English: Phonology. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-017532-5.