Throne Ormament from The Miracle of St. James Hampton, by Mike Walsh


   The first and easiest to test hypothesis is that Hampton's writing is in Gullah, an English-based creole spoken by the blacks on the coast, sea islands, and offshore islands of South Carolina, U.S.A.  Hampton's birthplace, Elloree, S.C., is 45 miles/ 74 kilometers from the coast, so Gullah was probably not Hampton's native language, but he could easily have learned it.  It is certainly as tenable a hypothesis as Chamorro might have been.

   Lorenzo Dow Turner's Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect  is currently the author's only source on Gullah.  Turner devoted the greater part of his book to trying to show that much of the Gullah vocabulary is from West African languages, a hypothesis which this author is very suspicious of.  Turner did provide extensive samples of Gullah speech.  He used a phonetic notation of perhaps 60 signs to show how Gullah pronounciation differs from standard English.   The Hamptonese corpus transcribed and analyzed as of July 22, 2001,shows 13 vowels and 18 consonants, and the author knows that Hamptonese has still a few more symbols than this.  Once the whole Hamptonese alphabet is known, the author will have to map Turner's phonetic symbols onto the symbols of Hamptonese, as well as calculate Gullah statistics and compare them to those of Hamptonese.