Gullah language is common among the native residents of the islands in South Carolina and in Georgia. It is a language that is believed to have originated from the interaction of Africans with English people from Britain. This was during the period of slave trade whereby Africans from different dialects were sold into slavery to work in the plantations in America. This interaction led to formation and subsequent development of a Creole in the name of Gullah language. Although English-based, Gullah language contains unique features derived from the African languages. This article centres on the origin and development of Gullah language.
There are various theories that have been generated to explain the process of formation and development of Gullah language. Some of the researchers suggested that Gullah language did not originate from other languages, but rather on the basis of race. Nevertheless, dialectologists have criticized such beliefs regarding them as baseless claims. They have ascertained that Gullah language was systematically formulated from English language.
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One of the most remarkable characteristic of Gullah language is on its use of grammatical features. For example, the manner in which tense in verbs is marked in a different way. An extract that has been taken from the article illustrates how reference to time of the past is not evident in the tense. Furthermore, the pronominal system of the language presents some striking features. For example, considering Gullah language, pronoun e is used for his as found in one of the extracts from the article.
The distinctiveness of Gullah language has been retained since the time of Atlantic slave trade and plantation era in America. This was mainly due to the limited movement of people from the islands of the Caribbean to the mainland. Therefore the Gullah language not only represents the successor of the early slave trade Creole, but also it provides a remarkable component in the development of African-American English. Improved transport and communication facilities have allowed people from the islands and the mainland to intermingle often. This has resulted to integration of Gullah language with other dialects thereby posing a threat of its extinction in the future. Vigilance among the responsible people is needed in order to preserve the language for future generations.
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