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Old 04-16-2019, 10:52 AM
 
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I am reading a book published, believe it or not, in Haitian Creole. While most words are clearly French derived, a few are not, like kounyeya ("now") and grangou ("hunger" or "hungry").

Are there many/any words in Caribbean popular speech that come from African languages?

I know in Jamaica, they use duppy for ghost, but I'm not sure if that's African. But the Jamaican word nyam, which means "to eat", does come from Twi/Akan, a language spoken in Ghana. I bet the Surinamese Maroon language, Saramaccan, has a lot of African words, but what about other speech communities in the Caribbean?

Last edited by Schwartzmann; 04-16-2019 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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The word gumbo in Louisiana, which has come to represent an entire stew, originally comes from Africa and simply means "okra". When I was living in Puerto Rico whenever I came across okra it was labeled as quimbombó, which sounded African as hell to me.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post
The word gumbo in Louisiana, which has come to represent an entire stew, originally comes from Africa and simply means "okra". When I was living in Puerto Rico whenever I came across okra it was labeled as quimbombó, which sounded African as hell to me.
Gumbo comes from ngombo in Umbundu or kingumbo in Tshiluba. Both related Bantu languages from the Congo-Angola region.

I saw articles about Africanism on creole languages on Wikipedia:

List of Jamaican patois words of African origin

Haitian creole words of African origins
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smash XY View Post
Gumbo comes from ngombo in Umbundu or kingumbo in Tshiluba. Both related Bantu languages from the Congo-Angola region.

I saw articles about Africanism on creole languages on Wikipedia:

List of Jamaican patois words of African origin

Haitian creole words of African origins
Thank you! I didn´t know where exactly on the continent it came from.
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post
The word gumbo in Louisiana, which has come to represent an entire stew, originally comes from Africa and simply means "okra". When I was living in Puerto Rico whenever I came across okra it was labeled as quimbombó, which sounded African as hell to me.
Quimbombó sounds "hella" African.

I read that slaves from Africa hid okra seeds on their persons when they were handed over to the slavers and put on slave ships to the Americas... and, once settled, grew okra from these seeds on their own plots (some slaves in some colonies had their own small gardens).
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smash XY View Post
Gumbo comes from ngombo in Umbundu or kingumbo in Tshiluba. Both related Bantu languages from the Congo-Angola region.

I saw articles about Africanism on creole languages on Wikipedia:

List of Jamaican patois words of African origin

Haitian creole words of African origins
Thanks for the link to the Africanisms in Jamaican... there are surprisingly few African words for such a "black" language. The African influence is more in grammar and phonetics, it seems.

Here's a snippet from the New Testament in Jamaican (about when Joseph decides to put away Mary secretly because she was found with child and an angel appears to him):

Di ienjel se, "Juozif, Dievid pikni, no fried fi tek Mieri an marid ar, kaa di pikni we iina ar beli, a di Uoli Spirit put im de. Shi a-go av wan bwai pikni an yu fi kaal im Jiizas, kaa im a-go siev im piipl dem fram dem sin." (Matyu 2:20-21).

All the words except pikni are from English. Pikni comes from the Portuguese pequeno ("small" or "boy") and translates into Jamaican as "son" or "child."
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:32 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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In Colombia...

San Andres Creole




Palenquero

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Old 04-23-2019, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
In Colombia...

San Andres Creole




Palenquero

Both are awesome links. Yeah, that San Andrés Creole is a trip. My wife can understand standard English (North American variety anyway) fine, but couldn´t hardly make out a word of Creole when we went there. I could follow, but it wasn´t easy.

It´s amazing how bilingual, well really truly trilingual, most Raizal are (Caribbean Spanish with their own unique accent, Creole, Standard English). We ate at one of the countless roadside spots, and my wife asked, "Disculpe niña, ¿cuanto es?" and the girl turned to her mom and said something like, "Mami, so meh go so den dem wan saber how much dem pay.." and when she got her answer she turned back around and told us "once mil" without the slightest hesitation.

Anyone know why Portuguese got into the mix? My understanding is that most Raizal people are former Jamaican slaves who somewhat intermarried with white Puritan dissidents as well as Dutch pirates.
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:39 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post

Anyone know why Portuguese got into the mix? My understanding is that most Raizal people are former Jamaican slaves who somewhat intermarried with white Puritan dissidents as well as Dutch pirates.
The Portuguese had a near monopoly on the slave ship trade. It was largely the Portuguese that sold onto the Spanish, French, English, Dutch etc. than the former themselves getting involved in enslaving/transporting people from Africa, although this did of course happen also.

PS. It's a trip how diverse languages are in Colombia full stop, let alone the San Andres archipelago. Mesoamerican, Carib, Arawak, Chibcha, Quechua, Spanish-African creole, English-African creole all exist in the current territory of Colombia. Overall there are nearly 70 languages split into over 14 language groups.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartzmann View Post
Thanks for the link to the Africanisms in Jamaican... there are surprisingly few African words for such a "black" language. The African influence is more in grammar and phonetics, it seems.

Here's a snippet from the New Testament in Jamaican (about when Joseph decides to put away Mary secretly because she was found with child and an angel appears to him):

Di ienjel se, "Juozif, Dievid pikni, no fried fi tek Mieri an marid ar, kaa di pikni we iina ar beli, a di Uoli Spirit put im de. Shi a-go av wan bwai pikni an yu fi kaal im Jiizas, kaa im a-go siev im piipl dem fram dem sin." (Matyu 2:20-21).

All the words except pikni are from English. Pikni comes from the Portuguese pequeno ("small" or "boy") and translates into Jamaican as "son" or "child."
Given that enslaves peoples were drawn from lands stretching from Senegal to Angola it would have been difficult for specific words to survive. New arrivals had to shift their linguistic patterns if they were to communicate with others, so what remained was more grammar. There are grammatical similarities between broad stretches of African languages.
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