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Ashta
November 15, 2011 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Gullah—the African-influenced dialect of Georgia’s Sea Islands—has undergone few changes since the first slave ships landed 300 years ago, and provides a clear window into the shaping of African-American English. This classic PBS program traces that story from the west coast of Africa through the American South, then to large northern cities in the 1920s. Studying the origins of West African pidgin English and creole speech—along with the tendency of 19th-century white Southerners to pick up speech habits from their black nursemaids—the program highlights the impact of WWI-era industrialization and the migration of jazz musicians to New York and Chicago.
posted by cthuljew (12 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 

I remember seeing this with one of my favorite prof's classes. I don't honestly remember what specifically touched me but it was a great doc.
posted by fizzix at 7:48 AM on November 15, 2011


Gullah on MeFi previously and previouslier.
posted by lumensimus at 8:01 AM on November 15, 2011


What year was the show made? I wonder if it discusses Clarence Thomas.
posted by resurrexit at 8:02 AM on November 15, 2011


Ah, the older post does.
posted by resurrexit at 8:02 AM on November 15, 2011


Another great PBS doc that featured Gullah in one of its episodes was The Story Of English, which is free to watch. The book is pretty awesome too.
posted by Renoroc at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the post, cthuljew!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:32 AM on November 15, 2011


The Gullah bible.
posted by quodlibet at 8:45 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Renoroc: “Another great PBS doc that featured Gullah in one of its episodes was The Story Of English, which is free to watch. The book is pretty awesome too.”

That is, in fact, the documentary in the post. It seems pretty great, so I am thinking I should check out the other episodes.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the music tip, Lomax archive / Mississippi Records just (yesterday!) released a new LP of the Georgia Sea Island Singers...
posted by iamck at 9:21 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Might be wrong, but I thought Moonlight in Glory from the album My life in the bush of ghosts by Eno and Byrne uses the Sea Island Singers as the spoken/sung word part; a beautiful and haunting construction.
posted by el riesgo sempre vive at 11:04 AM on November 15, 2011


Let us not forget what is perhaps, the most important contribution on Gullah culture.
posted by _superconductor at 2:44 AM on November 16, 2011


C'mon, _superconductor, we're not that Gullahble.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2011


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