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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the history, role, and structural properties of English in the West African countries the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, the anglophone part of Cameroon, and the island of Saint Helena. It provides an overview of the historical phases of trading contact, British colonization and missionary activities and describes the current role of English in these multilingual countries. Further, it outlines the commonalities and differences in the vocabulary, phonology, morphology, and syntax of the varieties of English spoken in anglophone West Africa. It shows that Liberian Settler English and Saint Helenian English have distinct phonological and morphosyntactic features compared to the other West African Englishes. While some phonological areal features shared by several West African Englishes can be identified, an areal profile does not seem to exist on the level of morphosyntax.

Keywords: West African English, anglophone, phonology, Gambia English, Sierra Leonean English, Liberian Settler English, Ghanaian English, Nigerian English, Cameroonian English, Saint Helenian English

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