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American English Creole Dialect Speakers


ON THIS PAGE : Historical Concept of Communication, Indigenous Languages, Heritage Languages, 21st Century Linguistic Rights, Official Language, American Virgin Islands Creole, Irish American Vernaculary English, Tonal Languages, African Languages, EXPERTS - Rickford, Sabino, Sprauve, Gwendolyn Midlow Hall, Labov, Ebonics and Congress, Creole Literature, Vernacular, What is Not Dialect, and Literacy



Race, Class, Culture

No one explains Standard English is the language of Commerce and that if you are speaking "Old English" the way words were pronounced in the 1800's then you will find speakers who use "f" for "th" and "ax" insteadd of "ask"

The Historical Context of Communication helps us capture the complexity of literacy. There are five different forms of literacy that have profound implications for teaching and learning, starting with Oracy 1600-1776.



The OFFICIAL words are the original words for The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home) authored by Stephen Foster, America's Troubadour and written in imitation of dialect. See Linguistics and meet Expert Dr. John Rickford and learn to respect dialect speakers. "The roots of dialect come from a legitimate authentic language."

Guide to the Sounds of North American English. Audio Samples of Local Dialects. How Many Vowels are there in American English? No, the answer is not: “Five: a, e, i, o u.” Granted, in traditional English spelling those are the vowel letters, yes, but I'm talking about our spoken language: How many significant vowel sounds are there? Well, if you consult any popular American English dictionary, and study the Pronunciation Key, there will be a long list of vowels. In the Pronunciation Key to the American Heritage Dictionary, 19 different vowel symbols are listed (not counting the ones only used in foreign words)! However, some of these are special vowels that only occur before the /r/ sound, which are “colored” by the /r/, so these can be separated out as special cases. One of these vowels, /ə/, only occurs in completely unstressed syllables, never in stressed syllables (whether primary stressed or secondary stressed), so it also can be separated out as a special case. This leaves us with 15 vowels that can occur in stressed syllables. Not all North American English speakers have all of these vowels: Some have 14, some have only 13. New York City has 16, including one that is not usually listed in dictionary pronunciation guides, and which I have chosen to spell /ăə/! These 16 vowels are listed below in the second column, with sample words shown in the first column. 17-July-2010
Which states are the most linguistically complex? As for which state has the most distinct dialect areas (defined by the blue and red lines), the winner appears to be Pennsylvania, with five dialect areas, though Louisiana may also have five, depending on how New Orleans is treated.

"Indigenous languages"
& "Heritage languages"

"Indigenous languages" and "Heritage languages," are interchangeable terms to refer to languages that originated in the particular region in which they are used (indigenous) and are the embodiment of the cultural heritage of that region. Try to expand the knowledge base and range of insights and expertise available to help schools and communities nurture and pass on their cultural heritage with respect and integrity.

"Think 22nd Century Linguistic Rights"

What language should a nation officially call its own?

Standard English the language of Commerce, is the language of the administrator. It will be the problem of the millennium to solve the post imperialist notion of superiority / inferiority. It is the American tragedy of racism, and the underclass, class inclusion vs. exclusion in a capitalist system.
Several countries designate an "official" language because of a former colonial status during which the colonial administration conducted its business in that language. Where the "official" (usually colonial, French, English or Portuguese) language (administrative forms, etc.) exists side-by-side with several indigenous languages (in order not to diminish the value of indigenous languages, governments prefer to call the language they use as "official" rather than "national"). Some countries have also adopted English, and the country is officially bi-lingual.

American Virgin Islands Creole

First See Tonal Languages and Perfect Pitch
Teaching English a Non Tonal Language to a Tonal Language Speaker

Dr. Emanuel says the evidence shows African influences on Creole spoken in the Virgin Islands and the African cultural roots of the Virgin Islands people are found predominantly in Akan Ashanti soil. Out of the five African cultures involved, the linguistic patterns of the Twi - speaking Akan Ashanti who were from what is now Ghana, has affected the culture of the Virgin Islands most deeply. Twi (Akan Ashanti...) is a Kwa language.

In the beginning DUTCH CREOLE predated the ENGLISH CREOLE though they did overlap for 150-200 years. Drs. Sabino, Emanual, and Sprauve (up until recently) would have called what Virgin Islanders speak now, VIRGIN ISLANDS ENGLISH CREOLE. The last native speaker of the DUTCH CREOLE died in 1987, both Dr. Sabino and Dr. Sprauve are the last known living, non-native speakers.

Berbice:A Dutch-Based Creole
Berbice Dutch is the only surviving creole to derive from the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean; the Negerhollands creole of the Virgin Islands died with its last speaker in 1987. Now also dying out, it is spoken on the Berbice River in coastal Guyana. Its African substrate which clearly derives from Ijo, a Nigerian language spoken by the slave, makes it especially interesting.
For example, in the sentence (Italics) da di toko di kujare ("That's the child's canoe"), the words (da) and (di) are Dutch, (toko) is from Ijo, and (kujara) is from Arawak, a local native American language (160).

St. Thomas was permanently settled by Denmark in 1672 and the first Africans who worked to establish St. Thomas as the first colony in the Danish West Indies, were speakers of Kwa languages.
This excerpt is from: Comrie, Bernard; Mathews, Stephen; Polinsky, Maria eds. The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout the World. New York: Facts on File, Inc. 1997.


Kwa is not a language but a large cluster of more than one hundred languages spoken in south of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Twi (Akan Ashanti...) is a Kwa language. All Kwa languages are tonal languages. Ijo, spoken in the delta of Niger, is also a tonal language. ~ Remy Bole-Richard African Linguist

Kwa is considered to be a language family, of which several have lexical tone:

About Tonal Language Speakers

Crafting Culturally Relevant Content Story - PDF
As more and more classrooms are wired, the Internet provides teachers a new gateway to relevant, diverse and engaging content. The Educational CyberPlayGround portal offers an interdisciplinary guide to using the Internet to deliver online curriculum. It provides comprehensive learning resources for different cultural and ethnic groups, and also for those with different approaches to learning. When Philadelphia resident Karen Ellis recalls the memorable teachers in her life, she likes to talk about how they gave her the "building blocks of how the world works." These teachers "gave me the skills to negotiate for the rest of my life."



Find Professors of Linguististics who specialize in Dialect and Creole


  1. Dr. Robin Sabino - Negerhollands Virgin Islands English Creole
  2. Dr. Gilbert A. Sprauve
  3. Dr. Gene Emanuel
  4. African American Vernacular English - Extordinary clearly written information that explains Ebonics and how it effects literacy.
  5. About John Figueroa
    Poet, teacher and champion of Caribbean culture.
  6. Dutch Antilles in the Dutch Caribbean has the Papiamentu SpellChecker
  7. Trini Talk by Miguel Brown

Dr. Roger Abrahams - Roots of Rap
Abrahams, Roger D. "Black Talking on the Streets." Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking. Eds. Richard Bauman and Joel Sherzer. London: Cambridge UP, 1974. 240-62.

  1. Abrahams, Roger D. "The Training of the Man of Words in Talking Sweet." Language in Society 1 (1972): 15-29.
  2. Abrahams, Roger D. Rapping and Capping: Black Talk as an Art. New York: Basic Books, 1970.
  3. Abrahams, Roger D. Talking Black. Rowley MA: Newbury, 1976.
  4. Abrahams, Roger. "Negotiating Respect: Patterns of Presentation among Black Women." Women and Folklore. Ed. Claire Farrer. U of Texas P, 1975


Creole Bible - Creole Spelling Primer Creole Literature

  1. Louisiana 1724 Code Noir Royal Edict
    Pictures of the Actual Rules posted to wood boards on a plantation that I visited with thr rules of discipline for black slaves in Louisiana 1724.
  2. AMERICAN VIRGIN ISLANDS CREOLE LITERATURE - more pictures that I have taken.
    The Ten Commandments in Creole
  3. LITERACY DATELINE 1673 - 1996
    You will find many historical events that show racism and its links to education and the population in the American Virgin Islands.
  5. Alabama Literacy Test
    to commorate the 50th Anniversary of Brown v Board of Education.
  6. Understanding Ebonics by Michael Casserly
    Executive Director, Council of the Great City Schools Oakland Tribune - 12/29/1996
  7. Gwendolyn Midlow Hall - Early Afro-Creole writings discovered - Africans in Colonial Louisiana : the development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century
  8. For Slaves Born in Louisiana
    In Louisiana slaves from Jamaica were involved in organizing and leading slave conspiracies and revolts and were runaways far out of proportion to their numbers.
  9. The Dictionary of Louisiana Creole
  10. Old-line families plot the future AFTER Katrina
    More than 40 percent of public school kids were illiterate, and half would drop out before graduation. Federal auditors found that $70 million of the school budget couldn't be accounted for.
  12. Linguistic Rights: What language should a nation officially call its own?

Allen Lomax's documentary about the bayous of Louisiana which have combined French, German, West Indian, native American and hillbilly ingredients into a unique cultural gumbo.

Long Video

Definitions: American Virgin Islands Creole, American Indian words in Louisiana, Dialect Speakers, African American Vernacular, AAVE, Dialect, Creole, Patois, Pidgin, ESL

Compiled Bibliography for Nonstandard English Speakers

The MLA has a language locator site that can tell you how many speakers of African languages OR ANY LANGUAGE live in various units from states down to census tracts. They have maps and data in tables.

In the southern part of Ghana, the tonal language of Twi is spoken.

Language and Learning Congressional Briefing

May 8, 2000 Transcript
Executive Summary: "What Every Educator Needs to Know"

What Every Educator Needs to Know by Lilly Wong Fillmore

Executive Summary: "Raising Inner - City Reading Levels"

Raising Inner - City Reading Levels by Dr. William Labov

NAEP The Nations Report Card Report
Reading and Math scores have not really improved over 30 years, despite billions of dollars spent in K-12 education. Only 30% of 4th graders are proficient readers, 26% proficient in math, 18% proficient in history, and the USA ranks significantly lower than other nations in science and math achievement.

The English language is composed of many linguistic varieties,
SUMMARY: such as Black English,* standard English, Appalachian English, southern English, New York dialect, and Spanish influenced English. Although each dialect of English has distinguishing characteristics, the majority of linguistic features of the English language are common to each of the varieties of English. For example, due to historical factors, the majority of Black English speakers are Black. However, due to social factors, not all Black individuals are Black English speakers.
ASHA Desk Reference Volume 3 Speech- Language Pathology among professionals regarding the role of the speech- language pathologist with reference to speakers of social dialects. Other speech- language pathologists have treated social dialects as though they were communicative disorders. It is the position of the American Speech - Language - Hearing Association (ASHA) that no dialectal variety of English is a disorder or a pathological form of speech or language. The speech - language pathologist may also serve in a consultative role to assist educators in utilizing the features of the nonstandard dialect to facilitate the learning of reading and writing in standard English.

January 23, 1997 Testimony submitted by William Labov, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, Past President of the Linguistic Society of America, member of the National Academy of Science.
I am testifying today as a representative of an approach to the study of language that is called "sociolinguistics, " a scientific study based on the recording and measurement of language as it is used in America today. I am now completing research supported by NSF and NEH that is mapping changes in the English language through all of North America, for both mainstream and minority communities. Since 1966, I have done a number of studies of language in the African American community, beginning with work in South Harlem for the Office of Education that was aimed at the question, "Are the language differences between black and white children responsible for reading failure in the inner city schools?"



- Brenda Marie Osbey says, "In reality, it is difficult to find any group of African Americans anywhere in the continental U.S. who ever employed either "I'se gwine" or "I'sa gwine." Both are the result of literary invention termed in African American literary circles "plantation dialect" created primarily for comic/derisive effect by 19th century white Southern authors of the so-called "plantation school." Because of the popularity of this usage, spelling and the related images it created of Southern racial typing, the earliest African American authors of fiction (e.g. Charles Waddell Chestnut) were compelled by (white) publishers to employ similar spellings in their own works. The poet/critic/literary historian Sterling Brown was the first to attempt to distinguish between this invented "plantation dialect" and what he termed "authentic Negro folk speech."

Florida's Official State Song by Stephen Foster, Titled "Old Folks at Home" -- not "Swannee (sic) River" --- And the OFFICIAL words are the original words by Stephen Foster, written in imitation dialect.



Signs of Identity, Signs of Discord: Glottal Goofs and the Green Grocer's Glottal in Debates on Hawaiian Orthography, by Suzanne Romaine.

Welcome to the Dialect Survey
uses a series of questions, including rhyming word pairs and vocabulary words, to explore words and sounds in the English language. There are no right or wrong answers; by answering each question with what you really say and not what you think is "right", you can help contribute to an accurate picture of how English is used in your community. Register The test is designed for speakers of North American English, but speakers of all varieties of English are welcome to take the test.


THE OLD PEDAGOGY - Chalk and Talk n.
Derogatory term used to describe the traditional model of classroom instruction, in which a professor delivers a monologue, punctuated by chalkboard scrawling, before a passive group of students.
Teaching Dialect Speakers, who do not know the language, to read, with phonics, whole language or a balanced-reading approach Phonics vs. Whole Reading Approach Decision and Resolution PDF while using culturally irrelevant material that has simple short sentences and small words, not real literature, has not raised reading levels or changed literacy statistics in the past 30 years. Neither has hoping that dialect speakers who are learning the alphabet will be able to decode not just the beginning of the word but also the middle and the end of the words nor hoping that somehow these students will learn to internalize the rules of language, that they don't speak. The schools have a strategy to test well enough to receive federal dollars by diagnosing more and more dialect speakers with learning disabilities and moving them into special education. Special-education children are exempt from the state assessment tests. Their absence improves the schools' scores. University departments of education and the textbook publishing industry all promote a failed pedagogy, but they have managed successfully to keep the supply- chain intact. It's business as usual for the past 50 years. University research departments get federal grant funds, but do not conduct research and develop materials that incorporate the new pedagogy.

Benefits of using online curriculum.

Integrate Music and Reading

Interdisciplinary connections between
Language, Music, Evolution, Reading
- rhythm syllables.

When you look at the seven intelligences,
it has been said that.. "High linguistic intelligence is over 80 percent of the formula for success in traditional schooling." (Kovalik, Susan ITI The Model Integrated Thematic Instruction, Page 60)

Why Using Cross-Curricular Thematic Reading Instruction Works

Domino by Karen Ellis Guavaberry Books Publisher
A cross curricular, interdisciplinary approach to PLAYING with dialect speakers, using the music of their indigenous playground poetry to teach reading, writing, spelling, and social studies.
60 Traditional Children's Songs, Chants, Games, Proverbs, and Culture Collected from the American Virgin Islands. 45 minute Live Sound Field Recording

Integrate Music Literacy and Technology into your Classroom. Capture Our Collective American Heritage in this public folklore project. How to collect indigenous playground poetry from your classrooms and use it for the Folksong Reading Module using the

The Historic Electronic Online Archive - Our Own American Repository and Public Folklore Project

Online Curriculum "Responsible Musicians, Artists and Behind the Scenes People Who Support Education" have a message for children in your classroom.Children build a Webquest - Let your class use the computer for this!

Folktales in Classroom


Hear Paisonics
See the Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy