Charting the vowel space of Bequian creole
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Little is known about the phonemic inventory and realizations of vowels in the Eastern Caribbean at present. Thomas and Bailey (1998) tried to examine the similarities between African American English and Anglophone Caribbean creoles but cite a lack of acoustic analysis of Caribbean creoles as one of the several stumbling blocks encountered. This dissertation aims to help build a better picture of how one island in the Eastern Caribbean articulates its vowels as well as to provide material to help answer questions such as what are similarities in terms of vowel spaces between AAVE and Anglophone Caribbean creoles. By using a mix of existing corpus data from Bequia and the development and implementation of a data collection we performed an acoustic analysis of the vowels and consonants in Bequia. Despite the challenges faced regarding literacy on the island this dissertation presents a basic descriptive framework of Bequian creole (BeqC)’s phonemic inventory and vowel space including a comparison to pre-existing literature on the phonology of the nearest island to Bequia. Overall this dissertation provides a starting point in understanding the acoustic properties of Anglophone Eastern Caribbean creoles. It also acts as something useable for comparisons with other Eastern and Western Caribbean creoles.
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