A strong bond of history binds Africa and the Caribbean as over 70% of the people in the Caribbean can trace their roots to Africa. Over 5 million Africans were moved as slaves from Africa to the Caribbean during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade of the fifteenth century.
Despite the fact the Africans were forced to adopt a new way of life, most of them retained the culture of their homelands. They even found ways of mixing their culture, especially language, food, and religion, with that of the Westerners. Slaves were prevented from speaking their native languages by their masters but they spoke in secret till the Maroon settlements were formed.
As slaves began learning the languages of their masters, new languages were formed. In this article, we shall discuss five that can be traced to Africa.
Spoken by over 10 million individuals worldwide, this is the most spoken form of Creole spoken. It was developed by the slaves in the seventeenth century when contact was made with the Spanish and French. The language blends African languages Fon, Yoruba, Igbo, Kan, and Ewe with a bit each of Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The language became the official language of Haiti in 1987.
This language, linked to the Maroons, is the third official language of the people of Jamaica. It related to the Ghanaian people of Akan and Ashanti. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, the language was adopted as a measure to keep of westernization. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was majorly used as a means of communicating with the ancestors. There is a possibility the language is named after Kormantse, a Fanti town close to Cape Coast.
Without a shade of doubt, Patois, or Patwa, is the most imitated language in the world today. it is most imitated in music, movies, and other forms of spoken art. It is fondly referred to as the Jamaican Creole and it was developed by slaves who worked on plantations as a means of coding their communication. It is a mix of English with Yoruba and Akan from West Africa.
This form of Creole is majorly spoken among the people of Curacao and Aruba in the Caribbean. These areas are mainly Dutch-speaking so the language is a mix of Dutch and Spanish along with the indigenous languages of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Papiamento was developed in the fifteenth century and has evolved tremendously ever since.
This language is spoken as the official tongue of Suriname. It is known as Sranan Tongo, translated to Surinamese tongue. Quite similar to the Haitian Creole, it is a blend of African languages with English and Dutch. It was developed in the early sixteenth century.