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BY Bridget Boakye, 1:14pm February 21, 2018,

3 Caribbean native languages borne out of Africa

Children at the Dominica Creole Fest -- Photo: Ozone Zone Books

Today, the world celebrates Mother Language Day, a day set aside by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to “promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism”.

The day was established in 1999 and formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution in 2008, which was declared the International Year of Languages.

Africa is one of, if not the continent, with the highest linguistic diversity in the world. Aside from official languages which are colonial imports, there are thousands of mother/native tongues. The influence of these African mother tongues in the Caribbean, especially with the movement of enslaved people during the Atlantic slave trade to the West, then, is to be expected.

In the Caribbean, five of the six official languages are European languages, with the exception of Haitian Creole. But despite the official languages, Creole and indigenous languages are widely spoken in the Caribbean. Creole, the mix of languages of the people on the land, has great African mother language influence.

Below are 3 specific Caribbean languages whose etymology can be directly traced back to the continent.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: March 16, 2018


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