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date: 17 April 2021

Cassidy, Frederic Gomes locked

(1907–2000), Jamaican and US dialectologist, lexicographer, and Creole linguist,
  • Hubert Devonish


was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 10 October 1907, to a Canadian father, Walter Clarence Cassidy, a car salesman, and his wife, Camilla (née Gomes-Casseres), of Kingston, Jamaica. Quoting from Frederic Cassidy’s unfinished memoir, his daughter, Claire, reports that although his grandmother died when he was only 6, “he never forgot her dialect, Papiamento …her tonality and accent as well” (Cassidy, 2002, p. 2). He was descended on his mother’s side from Portuguese Jews who settled in the Dutch possession of Curaçao in the Caribbean and were central to the development of Papiamentu, a Portuguese-lexicon Creole. He would have occasion to record the probable influence of these same Portuguese Jews on his native English-lexicon Jamaican Creole in words such as sabi (know) and pikni (child) from the Portuguese saber and pequenño respectively He had a lot of remembering to do Even though he left Jamaica the land ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.

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