Porgy: A Gullah Version

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PORGY

A Gullah Verison

Since Gullah is a creole language which was never intended to be written, there are no concrete rules governing its grammar. But since it is English-based, its vocabulary is mostly English, with only a few African words reminiscent of its early pidgin status.

There are, however, many syntactical features in common with West African English-derived creoles, and a certain flavor of the ...

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Overview

PORGY

A Gullah Verison

Since Gullah is a creole language which was never intended to be written, there are no concrete rules governing its grammar. But since it is English-based, its vocabulary is mostly English, with only a few African words reminiscent of its early pidgin status.

There are, however, many syntactical features in common with West African English-derived creoles, and a certain flavor of the West African Coast in its intonation and stress. Gullah is spoken softly, with a rolling rhythm. As Gullah people speak, you can almost hear the wind ruffling the marsh grasses. The words sway like the moss that hangs from the live oak trees.

Having lived among the Gullah people for the greater part of my life, I find no difficulty in understanding their language and in reproducing on paper the sounds that fall so easily from the Gullah tongue. Besides an interesting and extensive vocabulary, this language is rich in idiomatic expressions. The frequent use of idioms is one of the most attractive features of Gullah, and at the same time, the feature which makes the language so difficult to comprehend.

In the preparation of this Gullah version of Porgy, I have in no way altered the theme of the play. The changes I have made have to do with the dialogue, and apply to idiom, orthography, and sentence structure. To facilitate the reader's understanding and appreciation of this book, I have provided a glossary and an explanation of some word usages.

My primary purpose in this work, and in all my work with Gullah, is to increase public awareness of the language and to generate more interest in the preservation of this unique contribution to our American heritage from the Afro-American people.

from the Forward by Virginia Mixson Geraty

Virginia Mixson Geraty lived for over fifty years in the Yonges Island/Edisto are of Lowcountry, South Carolina, where she studied the language and culture of the Gullah people. She is one of very few people in the country who can speak, read and write this unique, English-derived creole language.

Mrs. Geraty is a translator for a Gullah edition of the Bible and served as a dialect coach and consultant for the BBC production of The Story of English. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780941711111
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 4/1/1990
  • Pages: 130
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.52 (d)

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Before the rise of each curtain, the bells of St. Michael's, adjacent to the Negro quarter of old Charleston, chime the hour.

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