British Black English


British Black English
   British Black English is used to describe the many strains of creole English spoken in Britain by immigrants from the Caribbean and their children. Particularly, it refers to the language used by the children of those who arrived in the 1950s and who have blended local varieties of English with the creole of their parents. Terms which cover similar areas are patois, creole and black English vernacular. Black youth culture, especially Rastafarianism and reggae, uses the mix as part of an aesthetic of black British identity, and there has also been a change wrought on ‘English’ literature to express black British experience. Many people switch from English to patois, and it is unclear whether these are separate speech systems or whether there is a spectrum of varieties linking the two. British Black English is spoken primarily in London, but also in Birmingham, Leeds and other major cities. Patois has also entered the speech of some whites. Many poets also use British Black English, notably Grace Nichols and Fred D’Aguiar.
   See also: black performance poets
   Further reading
    David Sutcliffe (1982) British Black English, Oxford: Blackwell.
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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