Westminster Creolistics Series

St Kitts and the Atlantic Creoles

The texts of Samuel Augustus Mathews in perspective

Edited by Philip Baker and Adrienne Bruyn, iv + 444 pages; maps, illustrations, indexes ISBN 1 85919 088 X. £20. March 1999. (Westminster Creolistics Series - 4)

"Without question, this book is one of the most important contributions to the field of Caribbean linguistics to appear in quite some time." Jeffrey P Williams, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Studies 16:175.

"A remarkable - in fact, unprecedented - approach to the analysis of textual attestations from earlier centuries, drawing on the insights and expertise of a cross-section of scholars and relating the findings to some of the central theoretical and methodological issues of the day. The texts themselves are unusually rich, and offer considerable insight into the late 18th- and early 19th-century linguistic situationin St Kitts and the Caribbean." John Rickford, Stanford University.

'The editing of Mathews' St Kitts Creole textsis superb, and, together with the accompanying studies, this book constitutes a major step forward in the development of the new and rapidly expanding field of "historical creolistics". The volume as a whole is a perfect illustration of the values of studying early Creole texts. In a few years' time, this book might well turn out to have formed the starting point for an entirely new scenario of Caribbean Creole genesis." Jacques Arends, University of Amsterdam.

It was on the small island of St Kitts in the 1620s that both the English and the French established their first colonies in the caribbean. And it was from St Kitts that both nations began to settle other islands in the region, while the Dutch colonization of nearby St Eustatius began in the 1630s. The St Kitts area is thus potentially the birthplace of the first English-, French- and Dutch-based Creole languages of the Caribbean. Despite this, the area has hitherto been largely ignored by Creolists.

The recent rediscovery of Samuel Augustus Mathews' writing in Kittitian English Creole, first published between 1793 and 1822, has provided Creolists with the opportunity of analyzing these texts and assessing their significance for the various theories which have been proposed to account for the striking similarities among the Atlantic English Creoles.


  • The texts of Samuel Augustus Mathews - Philip Baker, Adrienne Bruyn, Neville Shrimpton & Lise Winer - with a grammatical commentary on Mr Thompson - Alain Kihm
  • Samuel Augustus Mathews: his life and times - Victoria Borg O'Flaherty
  • The historical context of Moreton's attack on slavery and Mathews' response - Bridget Brereton
  • A short note on the peopling of English St Kitts - Mikael Parkvall
  • Sam Mathews' Kittitian: what is it evidence of? - Chris Corcoran & Salikoko Mufwene
  • Separating the wheat from the chaff - Philip Baker & Lise Winer
  • A note on ethnolectal variation in Mathews' texts - Anthony Grant
  • The orthography of Mathews' texts and what it tells us - Neville Shrimpton
  • The vowel system of 18th-century St Kitts Creole - Normal Smith
  • Where did Sranan's English base come from? - Ingo Plag
  • Past versus anterior in Mathews' texts - Derek Bickerton
  • Modelling an emergent grammar. Past temporal reference in St Kitts Creole - Sali Tagliamonte
  • Non-nominative subjects in early St Kitts Creole - Anand Syea
  • Créolisation et changement linguistique: à propos des "pronoms personnels" (de l'antillais ancien à l'haïtien) - Dominique Fattier
  • Marking specificity in Antillean Creole French - Guy Hazaël-Massieux
  • Early forms of question words and relativizers in Atlantic English Creoles - Adrienne Bruyn
  • Investigating the origin and diffusionof shared featuresamong the Atlantic ECs - Philip Baker
  • On the origin and diffusion of Atlantic ECs: first attestations from Krio - Magnus Huber
  • St Kitts: the launching pad for Leeward Islands Creoles - Vincent O Cooper
  • Negerhollands and the Atlantic English Creoles - Hans den Besten & Hein van der Voort