Gullah

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Gullah

(gŭl`ə), a creole languagecreole language
, any language that began as a pidgin but was later adopted as the mother tongue by a people in place of the original mother tongue or tongues. Examples are the Gullah of South Carolina and Georgia (based on English), the creole of Haiti (based on French), and
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 formerly spoken by the Gullah, an African-American community of the Sea IslandsSea Islands,
chain of more than 100 low islands off the Atlantic coast of S.C., Ga., and N Fla., extending from the Santee River to the St. Johns River. The ocean side of the islands is generally sandy; the side facing the mainland is marshy.
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 and the Middle Atlantic coast of the United States. The word is probably a corruption of the African Gola or Gora, names of African tribes living in Liberia, but it may also be derived from Angola, whence many of the Gullahs' ancestors came. The Gullah dialect, spoken now by only a few hundred people, is a mixture of 17th- and 18th-century English and of a number of West African languages (among them Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba). The African influence on Gullah can be seen in the phonology, vocabulary, and grammar. Some African words in Gullah have entered American English, including goober ("peanut"), gumbo ("okra"), and voodoo ("witchcraft"). Du Bose Heyward's novel Porgy (1925), upon which Gershwin's opera is based, was written in the Gullah dialect.

Bibliography

See M. Crum, Gullah (1940); L. D. Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1973).

References in periodicals archive ?
Traditional Gullahs (1st Circle): Traditional Gullahs are the modern descendants of the historic Gullah people who have remained in the low country region to the present day and continue with their traditional Gullah language and culture to one extent or another.
The Gullahs, a term used to refer both to the language and culture of the group of (former) African slaves who lived along the Carolina and Georgia coasts, remained a relatively homogenous group well into the twentieth century, largely escaping the culturally deracinating effects of dispersion among Americans of African descent.
19) This variety of Black English may be compared to what linguists refer to as "decreolized Gullah," the remnant of a once viable means of communication among black slave populations of predominant Southern provenance.
Slovenly and careless of speech, these Gullahs seized upon the peasant English used by some of the early settlers and by the white servants of the wealthier colonists, wrapped their clumsy tongues about it as well as they could, and, enriched with certain expressive African words, it issued through their flat noses and thick lips as so workable a form of speech that it was gradually adopted by the other slaves and became in time the accepted Negro speech of the lower districts of South Carolina and Georgia.
In one of the most recent and thorough studies of the Sea Island slave religions, Margaret Washington Creel emphasizes the relationship of conjurers--whom she calls "diviners" or "medicine specialists" (56-58)--to the priests and priestesses of African initiation societies, arguing that on the Sea Islands the Gullah elders are very similar to these ancient religious practitioners in their influence on their communities.
Bennett"), Denmark Vesey, Jesse, Monday Gell, Charles Drayton, John Horry, Harry Haig, and Gullah Jack--all of whom were found guilty--were chronicled; in addition, the trials of Stephen, Amherst, Samuel Guifford (one of "two free persons of color"), Robert Hadden (one of "two free persons of color"), Mathias, Mungo, Robert, Richard, John, Jim, Sandy, Friday, and Abraham--"all whom .
The distinctive Gullah heritage, that is both social and cultural, makes of the Sea Islands an actual and symbolic African presence, one rich with magico-religious beliefs .
Slovenly and careless of speech, these Gullahs seized upon the peasant English used by some of the early colonists and by the white servants of the wealthier colonists, wrapped their clumsy tongues about it as well as they could, and, enriched with certain expressive African words, it issued through their flat noses and thick lips as so workable a form of speech that it was gradually adopted by the other slaves and became in time the accepted Negro speech of the lower districts of South Carolina and Georgia.
After years of ignoring the Gullahs, it seemed the American mainstream was fascinated with my roots.
The Gullahs have made several visits to Bunce; prominent among them was the "homecoming" of Maty Moran and her family in 1997.
On the islands, you are likely to meet Gullahs, descendants of slaves who speak a mix of English and African languages after years of isolation.
At the turn of the century, Sea Island Gullahs, descendants of African Captives, remained isolated from the mainland of South Carolina and Georgia.