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Tracing Language Movement in Africa$
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Ericka A. Albaugh and Kathryn M. de Luna

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190657543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190657543.001.0001

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The African Diaspora and Language

The African Diaspora and Language

Movement, Borrowing, and Return

(p.321) Chapter 15 The African Diaspora and Language
Tracing Language Movement in Africa

Maureen Warner-Lewis

Oxford University Press

Nowhere in the Americas is any African language used for routine communicative purposes. But fossilized spoken texts, songs, and chants are still performed for rituals, largely but not exclusively of a religious nature. Such events exist in non-mainstream cultural spaces. However, African lexical items and phrases have been retained in the lingua francas of the Americas, languages which have themselves been shaped by the confluence of African, European, and Native American language speakers. Most of these languages are considered “creoles.” They contain not only lexical but also syntactic, phonological, semantic, and idiomatic residues of various West African and West Central African languages. In a reverse movement of language diffusion, English-lexified creole speakers have influenced the formation of Krio in Sierra Leone and its offshoot “pidgins.”

Keywords:   lingua francas, slave trade, loan-word domains, Caribbean African-language texts, Afro-Caribbean/Cuban/Brazilian religions, proverbs, idioms

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