Books and audiobooks with creole?
February 23, 2015 6:45 AM   Subscribe

This may be a longshot question, but I am looking for books (and ideally audiobooks) with extensive and well-done use of English creole (eg Jamaican Patois, Sierra Leonian Krio, Gullah, etc) or Spanglish, as well as Haitian Creole, though I don't really speak it, and I'm open to other linguistic options.

My preference is for audiobooks since I've been doing a lot of highway driving lately and I have more time to listen than to read, but I know that may be too much to hope for. I am not interested in books where it is just used for occasional dialogue, and definitely not where it is done poorly or inaccurately.

I'm reading (well, listening to) Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings and I am loving his fluid shifting of language registers; I have also loved Junot Diaz's books.

I'm open to suggestions of books that use languages other than what I've listed (though my multilingualism is limited) -- if it is an amazing book and uses language in a complex and interesting way, I'd at least like to hear about it, so I'm trying to not limit the question too much.
posted by Dip Flash to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cyprian Ekwensi was a prolific Nigerian writer, his novels are popular fiction at it's best: racy, sympathetic, colloquial and packed with incident. He uses pidgin dialogue extensively. I think it would be too much to hope for to find an audio book though, even though he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and had work broadcast by the BBC.

You could see if you like Jagua Nana, which, "the story of a high-class Lagos prostitute, was vehemently attacked by the Catholic and Anglican churches for its sexually explicit language and was banned in several schools", and which won the 1968 Dag Hammarskjöld prize in literature. I didn't know that till I looked it up! It's a page turner of a novel, very sex- and woman- positive as far as I remember.

My google-fu isn't up to it, but the BBC World Service probably has an archive of spoken-word African performance in English going back decades - but how you get to it I don't know. Sorry for that link, by the way; it only takes you to a whole lot of page-not-founds.
posted by glasseyes at 7:27 AM on February 23, 2015

Jack London's "South Sea Tales" was my first real encounter (save for Bugs Bunny) with what is now called Pacific Pidgin English, a group of pidgins made from English, Dutch, and native Pacific islander language. Amazon has it on CD (out of stock) but it may be available from Audible or whatnot.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:36 AM on February 23, 2015

These Anancy stories also have a CD
Here you have 3 extracts from David Copperfield in Jamaican Patois, Spanglish and Hawaiian Pidgin
And for more Jamaican a link to Jumieka Langwij
posted by adamvasco at 3:15 PM on February 23, 2015

Have you considered listening to a youtube video?
posted by oceano at 3:32 PM on February 23, 2015

Thought of a couple more, but no audio, sorry.

The Palm Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola, which is written in an elaborate, rather high-flown, invented English, and Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa. The reviews will give you a fair impression of both books.

There is audio for The Palm Wine Drinkard on YouTube, it's awful, ignore it.
posted by glasseyes at 3:58 PM on February 24, 2015

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