Taking a Look at the Garifuna Language Essay

Taking a Look at the Garifuna Language Essay

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The Garifuna Language

Day by day the World becomes more interconnected, we talk to people from other countries in languages that usually aren't our own, multi linguists now outnumber mono linguists and around 25% of the world's countries recognise two or languages as official (see Pearson). English has become the Lingua Franca of the world and native languages are starting to disappear. The fewer the number of speakers the quicker. One language that seems to have reversed the trend is the Garifuna language, indigenous to the Carribean coasts of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. Unique in the sense that, until recently, unlike other native languages in the Carribean Area, it did not form a creole. In the following I will give a brief overview of the origins of the language, the structure, it's current state and the reasons why it has been able to resists the phenomenon of language disappearence.

The origins of the Garifuna remain disputed. the most common narrative is that of two arfrican slave ships who sank in 1635 near the island of St. Vincent. The survivors who made is to shore shared food and huts with the indigenous population of Arawak-Caribs. Due to the Arawakan-Carib syncretism with, carib dominace, who invaded St. Vincent and exterminated all arawak men, the descendants of the africans were taught different languages. The boys were taught carib and the girls arawakan. This resulted in a mixed language communication among the african descendants. Unlike other former slaves around the carribean, they effectively rejected their african heritage altogether. These children progressivley evoled into the Garifunas (Balutansky 38).
Towards the end of the 18th century the british attempted to enslave the Garifuna, who ros...


... middle of paper ...


...e, Geneviève, and Armin Schwegler. Creoles, Contact, and Language Change: Linguistics and Social Implications. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub., 2004. Print.

Gomez, Anacelia. "The Garifuna Language." Online interview. 15 Nov. 2013.

Hill, Jane H., P. J. Mistry, and Lyle Campbell. The Life of Language: Papers in Linguistics in Honor of William Bright. Berlin [etc.: Mouton De Gruyter, 1998. Print.

Barret, Alice. "Garífuna Voices of Guatemala: Central America’s Overlooked Segment of the African Diaspora."Council on Hemispheric Affairs. N.p., 14 July 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Ruiz, Alvarez Santiago Jaime. "Preservation Strategies of the Garifuna Language in the Context of Global Economy in the Village of Corozal in Honduras." Diss. University of Florida, 2008. Abstract. (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
"Intangible Cultural Heritage."RSS. N.p., 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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