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Bickerton posits the notion that some
former Creoles are beginning to merge with the standard language they received
their vocabulary from, in the post-colonial situation. Thus Jamaican Creole
has clearly merged with Standard Jamaican English---there is a continuum
of styles or levels from
- Basilect or the lowest prestige form. Usu. spoken by least
educated rural males; on plantations, ``field" hands.
- Mesolects or more prestigious forms than the Basilect; on
plantations, spoken by house servants/slaves.
- Acrolect, which is the highest prestige form and may even be
classified as a regional or social dialect of the donor language (e.g.
English). Influences and is influenced by regional (e.g. southern) SAE.
Take a look at some examples of the Creole
Continuum in this table.
Thus American Black English, seen as having a Creole origin similar
to Gullah or Jamaican Crl., is now supposedly a Post-Creole continuum, merging
at the acrolect level with `Standard' American English. In most Creole
situations, speakers control a number of levels and can shift up or down;
noone controls all levels. White (or Standard) speakers are never
confronted with basilect forms, only the ``highest" forms are shown to them.
Tue Mar 25 08:54:40 EST 1997