Gullah

Gullah, also known as Geechee, is primarily an oral and rural phenomenon. It is largely confined to a corridor along the coast of Southeastern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Northeastern Florida in the United States. There is a small diaspora elsewhere in Florida and in Texas. Gullah is in a continuum relation with surrounding varieties of American English. It is not part of any official census and functions primarily in a close-knit community so that it is difficult to come up with precise speaker numbers. There are quite certainly no more than 10,000 monolinguals, but perhaps as many as a couple hundred thousand persons with some competency in the language in addition to varieties of English. The basilectal end of the spectrum is the default lect documented in APiCS. Linguistic material for the default lect description is taken mainly from Turner (1949) but also from Cunningham (1992) and the 2005 New Testament translation (De Nyew Testament). Data from the works of Hopkins (1994), Mufwene (2004), and Weldon (2003) were used as well, supplemented by examples from the author’s field research.

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the APiCS editors for critical peer commentary and to the Faculty Development Committee at Georgia Southern University for financial support to participate in the First APiCS Conference (5-8 November 2009).

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Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

mbprenasalized voiced bilabial plosive - Exists only in loanwords
ɹvoiced dental/alveolar approximant - Exists (as a major allophone)
ʌlower central unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɒlow back rounded vowel - Exists only as a minor allophone

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
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