T Nation

Geechee/Gullah Black Language...Interesting


Ya, so a while back I heard about Geechee and Gullah language, I'm not sure if they are same or related dialects. It is an English/West African Creole that developed on the Middle Passage between African groups who had been exposed to West African Pidgin English and French to varying degrees.

Imagine if people who all speak different languages are canned together like sardines in a ship with no light or movement, it is only reasonable that they will try to talk. It's so interesting to think there are blacks in the USA who still speak an African derived creole. I supposed Black English is in some ways a very weak evo or devolution of this speech.

Here is a Geechee Rapper,

Obviously, it is part Black English and Geechee.

So waht doyou guys think, any experiences with the Geechee or Gullah people?


When I was a kid, they had this TV show called Gullah Gullah Island.

I was a very multicultural toddler.


My mind is blown.


I'm deep.


When you think of Gullah, you think of the low country of South Carolina. Particularly Charleston and the islands. Savannah also has a pretty large population. I live in the Charleston area.

If you have ever been to Charleston, the ladies you see sitting and making sweetgrass baskets are Gullah. As well as the little kids that sell the little sweetgrass flowers.

Geechee has often had a pejorative connotation to it...some people take offense to the word. But I think over time it has become less negative. But it is the same people. Often times folks think that Gullah and Geechee are two different groups.

It is interesting to talk with them...trying to follow along. They will generally use a more correct English dialect when speaking to white folks, especially people who aren't from the low country. Those of us who grew up in the south tend to follow along better than say a guy from Connecticut. But a lot of their customers are white tourists, often from up north, so they'll buckle down and use their most proper English when speaking to them...still a strong accent, though. But when you listen to them talk to one another, it's definitely hard to keep up with the conversation.

They're good peoples, though. Hard working, disciplined people. They are trying to do what they can to preserve their heritage...but it gets more watered down as time moves on, from what I understand. Up until the last couple of decades, you still had Gullah communities that were completely self sustaining.


Black English? Your response in the Hofstra rape thread was also so very informative. What is even more interesting is that people will overlook your racist remarks here and respond in your threads anyway as if they can't follow the bouncing ball.


Well, wasn't following the other thread, so I don't know the history of the OP, but "Black English" is actually an officially recognized dialect in the linguistic community, except it's not called "Black English", it's called "AAVE" (African American Vernacular English).


Which means you think this thread was started to have a legitimate discussion about Ebonics and African related sub-cultures without a derogatory look at those cultures?

If you now did read his previous post, why focus your response on me at all?


Hmmm. . .just looked at the other thread, and I agree with you. So, yeah, considering the context, it made no sense to direct that other post at you. Welp, that's my mistake for lazy forum posting and not looking at the other thread. It's just that I'm a linguist, and I did a paper on the Gullah dialect, and I was excited to talk about the subject. Out of context, there's nothing wrong with saying "Black English", but you're right, AAVE isn't really the issue here.


Damn it, PX...you're going to make me go follow the trail of this damn bouncing ball...be right back.


Hmmmmm...that was pretty bad. Definitely some uncomfortable, cringing moments in that thread...courtesy of the OP.

Although this was pretty funny...

PX Wrote:
"I want everyone to pick up a complimentary hide-a-way camera (hidden in a fake bottle of Hennessy), 25 high quality Magnum condoms, and at least two business cards to lawyers with the last name ending in "Stein"."

Yeah, so having gone back and read that rape thread, that certainly puts this whole post into a different context.


Agree with you- very happy-go-lucky folks; but those sweetgrass baskets sold in the market are waaaaay over-priced! And boy do those women get the ASS if you try to haggle with them on the price. Seem to be a little cheaper the farther you head up 17N. I've also heard that Gullah is spoken almost exclusively on some of the smaller barrier islands- never strayed too far out there, though.


That was half sarcasm in that other thread.

"African American Vernacular English (AAVE)â??also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular (BEV), or Black Vernacular English (BVE)is an African American variety (dialect, ethnolect and sociolect) of American English. Non-linguists sometimes call it Ebonics (a term that also has other meanings or strong connotations)."

Seems like Black English is a pretty common neutral term for it and Ebonics is the more loaded term.


I was thinking about slavery in the other thread and it made me think about this.
I don't really understand, how people can diminish the veracity of white on black rape in the other thread, and then when I do the inverse for somewhat sarcastic effect, suddenly I'm some sickly racist.

There's nothing wrong with being a racist, most black people are racist, most koreans, racism is the belief that your race is at a better level than other races, that pretty much directly correlates with people's egos. One always thinks their self, and by extension their group is the most important and valid of all. Abnegation is a rare rare thing in the human condition.

Obviously, you think this thread is loaded, but it's not, I respect geechee and gullah for what it is, and leave the sarcasm in other thread for what it is and I respect blacks for what they are, just some people.

I'm sorry if I offended you in the other thread, but I got somewhat offended to and have a tendency to not attack the issue but just fire rounds off. Prof X is obviously a respectable guy, and I hope I didn't insult you deeply with my fangs and sarcasm.