- Language: Garifuna
- Alternate names: Caribe, Central American Carib, Black Carib, Garífuna
- Language code: cab
- Language family: Arawakan, Caribbean Arawakan, Antillean Arawakan, Ineric, Island Carib-Garifuna
- Number of speakers: 191974
- Vulnerability: risk [Read more...]
- Script: Latin script
Garifuna is an Arawakan language spoken in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize by the Garifuna people. Historically it was referred to as Carib or Black Carib and Igñeri by Europeans. One interesting feature of Garifuna is a vocabulary split between terms used only by men and terms used only by women. This does not however affect the entire vocabulary but when it does, the terms used by men generally come from Carib and those used by women come from Arawak.
Stages of Garifuna
- Proto-Garifuna (1492-1635) was spoken by the indigenous of St. Vincent. During this time of European contact, the indigenous language accepted French and Spanish words into its vernacular, and also possessed some native words that confirms African involvement in their society.
- Early Garifuna (1635-1797) was the indigenous language acquired by the Africans and modified to reflect African native pronunciation. During this stage there is widespread bilingualism in French among the Garífuna, allowing the infusion of hundreds of French nouns and verb stems into Garífuna language.
- Middle Garifuna (1797-1985) was spoken during a period when the Garífuna had settled into different sections of Central America, disjointing a fairly unified language into separate but mutually intelligible variations (Belizean Garífuna, Guatemalan Garífuna, Honduran Garífuna, Nicaraguan Garífuna). Contact with indigenous, Spanish, English and other Afro-descent groups further modifies each variation.
- Modern vernacular Garifuna (1985-). Each variation of Garífuna can be readily identified by the other due to prolonged contact with speakers of other languages in their respective countries. Garínagu now face the problem of language maintenance and must confront the realities of incorporating a successful language planning program for survival.
On the Garifuna verb, the grammatical categories tense, aspect, mode, negation, and person (both subject and object) are expressed by means of affixes, partly supported by particles.
The paradigms of conjugation are very numerous.
One special feature of the verb is that the inflection differs based on whether the speaker that is referred is male or female.
Sample verb: alîha
|Present continuous||Present simple|