Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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If I Giya Soma Dis Ting You Ga Talk It: An Exploration of the Use of Bahamian Creole and Standard English by Young Bahamians

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posted on 2023-10-28, 01:20 authored by Pasha Fernander

This thesis examines the use of Bahamian Creole and Standard English among educated young Bahamians. It explores the divide between formal Standard English and informal Bahamian Creole within the historical context of British colonization in The Bahamas. The study analyzes the relationship between these two language variations, tracing their development from childhood influenced by family to experiences abroad for university. It discusses how previous generations were shaped by colonial attitudes that devalued Bahamian Creole and elevated Standard English, leading to the ability to code switch between the two languages.

Furthermore, the thesis explores how the university experience challenges these ingrained linguistic attitudes as students strive to assert their Bahamian identity within institutions that reward Standard English. It highlights the emergence of a double identity in different linguistic situations, revealing the reliance on oppressive structures through code switching. However, the thesis suggests that this is changing and explores how students actively resist these linguistic rules, seeking freedom and alternative ways of expression. Ultimately, this ethnography sheds light on the evolving linguistic landscape of young Bahamians, examining the complex interplay between language, identity, and resistance.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Bönisch-Brednich, Brigitte; de Saxe, Jennifer