ANGUILLA AND THE CREOLE
This article was compiled by Jodi Phillips May 2014, for the Institute of Black Academics
concerning Black Under achievement.
PUBLISHED 09 MAY 2014 04:26
Anguilla, which is inhabited mainly by black Africans of mostly West African ancestry was originally the land of the aboriginal Amerindian Arawak (Caribs) people until Europeans sailor Christopher Columbus sited it alongside twin-islands of Kitts and Nevis. It is argued that, Anguilla may have first been discovered by the French in 1564 or 1565, but it was first colonized by English settlers from Saint Kitts, beginning in 1650.
As at May 2014, the population of Anguilla was estimated at standing at 14,500 people. Out of this number 90.08% are blacks, the descendants of slaves transported from Africa. Growing minorities include whites at 3.74% and people of mixed race (Mulattoes, Amerindians and other ethnic minorities) at 4.65%.
The number of white inhabitants are growing as a result of influx of large numbers of Chinese, Indian, and Mexican workers, brought in as labour in 2007 and 2008 for major tourist developments due to the local population not being large enough to support the labour requirements. According to tradition, Christopher Columbus gave the small, narrow island its name (Anguilla) in 1493 because from the distance it resembled an eel, or in Italian, anguilla. It is also possible that French navigator Pierre Laudonnière gave the island its name from the French anguille.
Anguillians speak standard British English and Anguillian Creole. Anguillan Creole is classified as a part of dialect of Leeward Caribbean Creole English spoken in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Montserrat, it is also similar to the British Virgin Islands and Saint Martin varieties of Virgin Islands Creole. The number of speakers of Anguillan Creole is below 10,000. Anguillan Creole does not have the status of an official language.
Other languages are also spoken on the island, including varieties of Spanish, Chinese and the languages of other immigrants. However, the most common language other than Standard English is the island’s own English-lexifier Creole language
(not to be confused with French Creole spoken in islands such as Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe). It is referred to locally by terms such as “dialect” (pronounced “dialek”), Anguilla Talk, or “Anguillian”. It has its main roots in early varieties of English and West African languages, and is similar to the dialects spoken in English-speaking islands throughout the Eastern Caribbean, in terms of its structural features and to the extent of being considered one single language. Linguists who are interested in the origins of Anguillian and other Caribbean Creoles point out that some of its grammatical features can be traced to African languages while others can be traced to European languages.
Three areas have been identified as significant for the identification of the linguistic origins of those forced migrants who arrived before 1710: the Gold Coast (Ghana), the Slave Coast, and the Windward Coast. Sociohistorical information from Anguilla’s archives suggest that Africans and Europeans formed two distinct, but perhaps overlapping speech communities in the early phases of the island’s colonisation. “Anguillian” is believed to have emerged as the language of the masses as time passed, slavery was abolished, and locals began to see themselves as “belonging” to Anguillian society [Source : http://www.exposingblacktruth.org/anguilla-island-caribbean-people-of-the-island-of-eel-and-beautiful-white-powdery-sands/#sthash.Ws0yQQ6W.dpuf].