Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue to Memory

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A deeply informed Afrocentric view of language and cultural retention under slavery.

Maureen Warner-Lewis offers a comprehensive description of the West African language of Yoruba as it has been used on the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. The study breaks new ground in addressing the experience of Africans in one locale of the Africa Diaspora and examines the nature of their social and linguistic heritage as it was successively retained, modified, and discarded in...

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Overview


A deeply informed Afrocentric view of language and cultural retention under slavery.

Maureen Warner-Lewis offers a comprehensive description of the West African language of Yoruba as it has been used on the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. The study breaks new ground in addressing the experience of Africans in one locale of the Africa Diaspora and examines the nature of their social and linguistic heritage as it was successively retained, modified, and discarded in a European-dominated island community.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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“An important and innovative contribution to several related fields of study ranging from social sciences to African and creole linguistics. . . . Carefully researched and well written.”

American Speech

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“Challenges hitherto untested assumptions concerning the preservation of African languages in the New World.”

Mid-America Folklore

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“Warner-Lewis argues that the inimical conditions of slavery, rather than leading to deprivation of culture, led culture bearers of central African descent to resolutely hold onto aspects of their cultural identity. . . . [This book] contains a wealth of information for any scholar.”

Latin American Research Review

Booknews
Offers a comprehensive description of the West African language of Yoruba as it has been used on the island of Trinidad, addressing the experience of Africans in Trinidad and examining the nature of their social and linguistic heritage as it was modified and discarded in the European-dominated island community. Explains linguistic structures, analyzing Trinidad Yoruba as a distinct dialect of African Yoruba, and discusses the creolization process. Includes a Yoruba lexicon. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817355821
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2009
  • Series: Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Maureen Warner-Lewis is professor of African-Caribbean languages and orature at the University of the West Indies, Mona. She is the author of four books, including Guinea's Other Suns: The African Dynamic in Trinidad Culture.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note on Ethnonyms
Orthographic Guide
Phonological Symbols
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Yoruba of Trinidad: Historical Background and Sociolinguistic Behavior
1 The Yoruba and Transatlantic Slavery 17
2 First-Generation Trinidad Yoruba Society 34
3 Language Attitudes of Second- and Third-Generation Africans 54
4 Residual Language Domains: Names and Ritual 73
Pt. 2 Trinidad Yoruba: Linguistic Structures
5 Phonology 99
6 Syntax 116
7 Lexicon 140
Pt. 3 The Dialectics of Obsolescence and Creolization
8 Language Recession within a Creolized Context 173
9 Creolization Processes in Broader Perspective 188
Appendix: Trinidad Yoruba Lexicon in Alphabetical Order 215
Notes 237
References 257
Index 275
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