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5 Caribbean mother tongues that developed from West African languages

February 21, 2019 at 01:00 pm | Diaspora Connect

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

February 21, 2019 at 01:00 pm | Diaspora Connect

Cover of language study book on Jamaica Patois

Africa and the Caribbean share a strong bond through history that has affected both lands. Today, close to 70% of people from the Caribbean trace their roots to Africa with the majority closely linked to West Africa, some parts of Central Africa and a smaller percentage from East Africa.

The Atlantic slave trade, which started in the 15th century lasting through to the 19th century saw aproximately 5 million, if not more Africans forced into slavery in the Caribbean alone.

The Africans forced into a new life in the New World took with them their traditions, culture, food and religious practices and languages which blended with the cultures of their new life – Western culture.

Several communities in the Caribbean and parts of South America remain 75-100% very African through their everyday practices .

The enslaved Africans spoke their languages in their new homes until they were stopped from doing so by their white masters. Nevertheless, they continued to speak it in secrecy until Maroon settlements began to develop where the languages were spoken all the time.

While trying to communicate with their masters, the enslaved Africans picked up several languages such as Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and English which eventually mixed with their languages developing new languages altogether.

Here are 5 Caribbean mother tongues that trace their origins to Africa.

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