I came across something new to me, the language Papiamento, which is spoken in the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and the Caribbean Netherlands (which I think used to be called the Dutch Antilles)
It has a mixed heritage, Amerindian languages of the original peoples of the islands, Portuguese and Spanish from the colonists who invaded in the early sixteenth century, African languages from the slaves who were brought here Dutch from the 1630′s when the Netherlands won control of the islands from Spain, languages of South American countries, English and the language influence of Sephardic Jewish traders and merchants who were early inhabitants of the islands. With all these roots it must be a very rich and varied language.
There are nearly half a millions speakers of Papiamento, many people who have travelled from the Caribbean to other countries in America and Europe have taken their language with them. There is a link with the language and that spoken in the Cape Verde Islands… I confess an interest in this because my grandfather worked there for a while, maybe in the 1900′s or 1920′s; he certainly spoke Portuguese and other languages , so he may have spoken a version of Papiamento too.
I teach English to adults whose first language is something else, and they sometimes mention how confusing English is because it changes so inconsistently; we explain that it is because of all of the different languages which make up and have formed out language, the ancient tongues of Britain, Latin, Norse and other north German and Baltic languages, Anglo-Saxon, Norman French… plus all the loan words we’ve adopted from countries we have had connections with, either through conquest, trade or war.
Here is a delightful video about Papiamento by a beautiful and clever young girl, she’s very nervous but very sweet and you get some idea of her language:
and here is a children’s programme: