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krazeeboi

Gullah culture in Charleston/the Lowcountry

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Ran across this article in USA Today about Gullah culture in Charleston and just thought I'd share:

South Carolina's Gullah preserve unique culture

Question: do you guys think the younger generation in the Lowcountry is as concerned with preserving its Gullah heritage? It really doesn't seem like it to me. Many move away, never to look back and don't really seem to care what happens in this regard.

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Ran across this article in USA Today about Gullah culture in Charleston and just thought I'd share:

South Carolina's Gullah preserve unique culture

Question: do you guys think the younger generation in the Lowcountry is as concerned with preserving its Gullah heritage? It really doesn't seem like it to me. Many move away, never to look back and don't really seem to care what happens in this regard.

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When I was going to Myrtle Beach Grade School, it was taught as part of the local culture of SC. There wasn't a lot taught about it, but an attempt was made to make sure that all students know about the Gullah culture and they would usually have people come up and give demonstrations of the language, food, customs and have demonstrations. As a kid I thought it was fascinating.

I would be surprised if they did anything like this today in the public schools which is unfortunately as it is never too early to engage children in these sorts of things. I think the earlier the better because by the time they are teenagers, you have lost them for quite some time. Because of my experiences, I have known about the Gullah culture most of my life and I was surprised when I got older, how many South Carolinians where clueless about it. I would hope the culture is preserved as it is one of the things that keeps the Low Country unique.

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Question: do you guys think the younger generation in the Lowcountry is as concerned with preserving its Gullah heritage? It really doesn't seem like it to me. Many move away, never to look back and don't really seem to care what happens in this regard.

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Most Geechee/Gullah charlestonians are clueless about theyre own culture. Outsiders know about it more than we do.The average kid in Charleston has no clue what Gullah is. Even though they live and speak it everyday. You also have 70-80+ year old people who have been Gullah all their life and have no clue what Gullah is or means.

With the current generation there has been a little more awareness through the Geechee Gear clothing line and certain things dealing with rap music, the younger generation is starting to become more informed on there history culture and its importance though.

Like other dude said, growin up we always knew it was something different about us, we just didnt know what it was specifically. I can remember growing up when we would go to visit our family in Greensboro, NC. They had "brick" houses and everybody seemed so nice, and all the neighborhoods looked like suburbs. They spoke different. And most importantly they ACTED different. So as kids we would laugh about it all the time. Because we could even notice the difference between North Carolina and Charleston. We lived in a 2 story wooden house shotgun house wit peeling paint, everybody spoke different where we were from, the neighborhoods looked grimier, the people were different.

It wasnt until I got older and went to college that I was able to put a term with an understandng and definition to this difference. We just knew we were from Charleston and it was different.

Theres an inherent pride we have that Im not sure where it comes from. But we have a pride in our city and our people that is unmatched and not really seen anywhere else. People from Charleston love Charleston and half the time we dont even know our full importance.

I can say though being Geechee has many many plusses. I get so many favors and love from people just simply because of the way I speak, and women LOVE our accent. Anytime I start talking and a girl says "Where are you from?"

I already know I got her. Its amazing. People are more fascinated by us than we are of ourselves. Far as I knew I spoke American English just like everybody else until I went off to college.

I could be standing in a circle with a person from California, Africa, New York, and New Orleans. And guaranteed 10 times out of 10 they would ask me "Where you from" before they asked anybody else. Our accent is that strange to these people.

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To the contrary, our culture and language was historical, unique, and distinct, much like our cousins in New Orleans..so we were not alone. To be honest with you, I grew up in downtown Charleston which is not at all isolated from anything, so relating to the whole Gullah farm idea without running water is a big stretch for me and for many others.

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There is definitely a disconnect for young black adults in the urban areas of Charleston from their Gullah heritage. And like Donny said even older folks don't know the connection they have to Gullah culture so they can't directly pass on the meaning of what it is to be Gullah to their relatives. It should have more emphasis placed on it in grade school. It's a very unique and special heritage to have and should be embraced.

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Most Geechee/Gullah charlestonians are clueless about theyre own culture. Outsiders know about it more than we do.The average kid in Charleston has no clue what Gullah is. Even though they live and speak it everyday. You also have 70-80+ year old people who have been Gullah all their life and have no clue what Gullah is or means.

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In a way, that's a sign of a real culture. If you're living it everyday, and nothing's threatening it from the outside, you don't have to be aware of it. It's just a part of life, like water and the sky.

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Some Gullah people's accents are a bit thicker than others'. For instance, it took me a few days to realize that one of my co-workers in Charlotte was from Charleston; her accent wasn't readily noticeable to me. However, two friends of one of my good friends had a very thick accent, and I picked up on it right away.

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But she actually thought I was talkin another language. And I wasnt even speaking Gullah like that. I was talkin Geechee. She thought I was speaking a French Creole or somethin. Its crazy.

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Yeah and no. They say Gullah are South Carolinians and Geechees are Georgians, but thats more of a technical definition than anything. What Im talking about is in Charleston, where Geechee is more of the city talk. Mostly English, and its spoken slower.

Gullah, you find more people that live on the islands or in the country, Johns, James Island, Wadmalaw, Edisto, Hollywood, parts of Mount Pleasant, etc.... they speak faster, use a few words different, and its harder to understand. Geechee is English for the most part just with an accent and a few Gullah words here and there. Gullah is its own language though.

For instance we say INNIT in Geechee when we agree with somebody or want somebody to agree with us. In Gullah its INNEE or ENTY. Slight differences. True Gullah is almost identical to the Krio language of Sierra Leone.

Where a Geechee person would say "the white man etc......" My great-grandmama, who only spoke Gullah, would say "The Buckra etc......." Where Buckra is a old Gullah/African word for white man.

I can make a list but Im in a rush for time right now. I'll make it soon as I get back though.

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Interesting. So Geechee is more of a dialect of English, rather than a dialect of Gullah?

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Gullah, you find more people that live on the islands or in the country, Johns, James Island, Wadmalaw, Edisto, Hollywood, parts of Mount Pleasant, etc.... they speak faster, use a few words different, and its harder to understand. Geechee is English for the most part just with an accent and a few Gullah words here and there. Gullah is its own language though.

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Downtown is more gutter. More ebonics and city slang. But when you compare the speech of the country to the city, the country is spoken faster, and closer to true Gullah than Geechee, spoken in the city. I got plenty family in Mount Pleasant. The old village, 41, etc..etc...Some of them people over there did speak more understandable. But they were an exception. Im talkin about people from the country that speak Geechee/Gullah.

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You were saying how the Geechee use the word INNIT... They use that term a lot in Northeast PA and supposedly in England and South Wales. I think it's called a tag question or something...

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Yeah and no. They say Gullah are South Carolinians and Geechees are Georgians, but thats more of a technical definition than anything. What Im talking about is in Charleston, where Geechee is more of the city talk. Mostly English, and its spoken slower......

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No I mean Georgia. Any official definition you read on Gullah Geechee people call the people that live on the Sea Islands off the Georgia coast Geechee (Ogeechee River is in Savannah) and people off the SC coast Gullah.

You were saying how the Geechee use the word INNIT... They use that term a lot in Northeast PA and supposedly in England and South Wales. I think it's called a tag question or something...

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