You ain’t got principle, you ain’t got nothing
Verbal negation in Bahamian Creole
The present study investigates the system of verbal negation in Bahamian Creole and relates it to the respective systems of historically connected varieties in North America, i.e. contemporary as well as earlier varieties of African American Vernacular English and Gullah. Building on a corpus of roughly 98,000 words, the study provides a variable analysis of the all-purpose negator ain’t and its competitors and offers some remarks on invariant don’t, negative concord, and the preverbal past-tense negator never. It shows that in particular the syntactic and temporal distribution of ain’t, which have repeatedly been discussed in connection with the debate about the origins of African American Vernacular English, reveal striking similarities between Gullah and its immediate descendant Bahamian Creole, while confirming a more distant relationship with African American Vernacular English.
Keywords: Bahamian Creole, Gullah, African American Vernacular English, negation, ain’t , invariant don’t , negative concord, Varbrul multifactorial approaches, cluster analysis, logistic regression
Published online: 02 November 2018
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