Some words with roots in Gullah

Friday, August 6, 2010

Linguistic scholar Lorenzo Dow Turner spent years researching the roots of Gullah words, connecting them to African languages. Here are a few words included and translated in the exhibit "Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities Through Language" at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum.

-- In Wolof: Bene = Sesame; In Gullah: Bene = Sesame; In English: Benne = Sesame

-- In Yoruba: Jiga = Insect; In Gullah: Jiga = Insect; In English: Flea jigger = Mite

-- In Kimbundu: Kingombo = Okra; In Gullah: Gambo = Okra; In English: Gumbo = Okra stew

-- In KiKongo: Ngoma = Drum; In Gullah: Goma = Drum; In Candomblé Portuguese: Ingoma = Drum

-- In KiKongo: Tota = To pick up; In Gullah: Tot = To carry; In English: Tote = To carry

-- In Kimbundu: Nguba = Peanut; In Gullah: Guba = Peanut; In English: Goober = Peanut

-- In Fon: Dada = Elder sister; In Gullah: Dada = Elderly woman; In Candomblé Portuguese: Dadá = Female deity

Source: Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum

"Word, Shout, Song" opens Monday and runs until March 27. The museum, at 1901 Fort Place SE, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. A free shuttle service will be offered from the Mall to the museum on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend. Visit

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