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Gari-History » A CARIBBEAN VOCABULARY COMPILED IN 1666
Jul 05, 2002

A CARIBBEAN VOCABULARY COMPILED IN 1666

Retrieved and translated by Clifford J. Palacio
This list of Garifuna words was compiled in St. Vincent (Yurumein) in 1666. Over the past three hundred years many of these words have undergone major changes and modifications, but Garifuna speakers of today still use many of them. More than two dozens of them have remained unaltered. After repeating the sounds of the words several times, the Garifuna speaker will begin to recognize the word.

The existence of this list is indeed a very powerful testimony to the fact that our ancestors learnt, adapted and used the Garifuna language on the island of St. Vincent. This evidence validates and strengthens our claim to the history of the Garifuna in St. Vincent (Yurumein).

Here is in part an answer given in response by Nancy Gonzalez to the following questions: ÔÇťWhat African language is Garifuna most similar to? Have any Garinagu gone to Africa and studied similarities and differences? Is there any documentation available?ÔÇ?

ÔÇťDear friends,
The Garifuna language has been extensively studied by linguists, and is basically of the South American Arawak family, with numerous words taken from the Carib family, also from South America. It has also borrowed heavily from French, English, and Spanish. No more than five possible loan words from African languages have ever been found, and these are not confirmedÔÇŽ My work, starting in 1955, has been oriented toward the ethnography and ethno-history of the GarifunaÔÇŽ The language, as well as most of the technology, much of the religious ritual, and the agricultural and fishing complex derive not from Africa, but from South AmericaÔÇŽDonÔÇÖt let yourselves lose sight of this unique heritage. There is no other group in the world with your culture because it is a product of your unique history! It has changed through time as the people have faced new challenges, but its core, largely due to the language, has remained firmly in place. Best wishes for the holiday season and beyond. Nancie GonzalezÔÇ?

     
WORDS USED IN
YURUMEIN IN 1666
  WORDS USED IN
DIASPORA IN 1999
THE PARTS OF MANÔÇÖS BODY
Nokobou The body N├║gubu
Nora My skin Nura
Nabo My bones Nabu
Nillagra My veins N├şlag├╝le
Lillagra His veins Lileg├╝le
Nitta My blood Nita
Nilibouri My hair N├şdiburi
Nicheuke My head Nich├╝g├╝
Nakou-ora My eye-lid Lidáü nagu
Nakou-iou The hair of the eyelid Liu nagu
N├ęr├ębe My forehead Nerebe
Nichibou My face Nigibu
Nichiri My nose N├şgiri
Niouma My mouth Niuma
Nioumarou My lip Niumáru
Nari My tooth Nari
Narikae My ear Narigei
Nouboyoubou My temples Nubuyubu
Nitigne My cheeks Nid├şen
Nouri My breast Nuri
Neche My shoulder Nege
Narreuna My arm Nar├╝na
Neugueumeueuke My elbow N├║g├╝n├╝g├╝
Noucabo My hand N├║habu
Noubara My nail N├║bara
Nanichirokou My stomach Naniguogu* (gau)
Niouanni (f) My heart (Soul) Nuáni Nanichi(m)
Noubana My liver Nubána
Noulakae My belly (entrails) Nuragei* (ai)
Nauba My side Nauba
Nanagane My lower back Nanaganebu
Narioma My navel Nari
Nagagirik My knee Nagach├╝r├╝g├╝
Nichaoa-chaoua My ham Nichawachawa
Nourna My leg Núruna, Niáda
Nourna-aboulougou My shin N├║runa
Namourgouti My ankle Namurugute
Nougouti My foot Nugudi
Nougouti-rokou Sole of my feet Nugudirugu
KINDRED AND ALLIANCE
Baba Baba (Speaking to him) Baba
Noukouchili My father (Speaking of) Nuguchi
Yao My uncle Yau
Niraheu My son Nira├╝
Hibali My grandchild (one) Nibari
Nibagnem My grandchildren Niba├▒an
Niboukayem My elder brother N├şbuga├▒an Namouleem
Hibali moukou My son-in-law Nibarimu
Liani His wife Liani
Naguette My grandmother Nag├╝t├╝
Niraheu My daughter Nirou
Nitou My sister Nitu
Tamoulelouan Her younger sister Tamulelua
Nibache My niece Nibase
CONDITIONS AND QUALITIES
Ouekelli Man W├╝g├╝ri
Ouekeliem Men W├╝g├╝ri├▒an
Eyeri Man Eyeri
Eyerium Men Eyeri├▒un
Inarou Woman Hi├▒anru
Innouyum Women Hi├▒anri├▒un
Ouelle Woman W├╝ri
Ouekelli-raeu Little boy W├╝g├╝ri irah├╝
Ouelle-raeu Little girl W├╝ri irah├╝
Ouaiali An old man W├ęyali* Waiali
ACTIONS AND PASSIONS
Jacaba, Noubara Stay for me. Reideiba lidan nubara
Emenichiraba Hope in him. Hemenigiba luagu
Emenichira Hope Emenigi
Nemenichiraeu My hope Nemenigira
Lamanatina I am hungry. Lamadina
Nacrabatina I am thirsty. Mágürabutina
Natoni boman Give me some drink. Nata buma.
Baika. Eat. Baiga* Beiga
Aika To eat Aiga,* Eiga
Kouraba You drink. Guraba
Natiem I drink. Natu├▒an
Nacharouatina I have drunk. Bacharuadina
Hac-yete Come here. ├?h├╝-ye
Ariangaba Speak. Ariengaba, ari├▒egaba
Maniba Hold your peace. Maniba
Niorouba Sit down. ├Ĺunruba
Raoignaba Lie down on the ground. Rounba murougu
Raramaba Stand up. Raramaba
Arikaba Look. Arihaba
Akambabae Hear. Agambabai
Aochabae Taste it. Houchabai
Kouroubae Touch it. Gurubai
Bayoubaka Go Baibuga
Nayoubakayem I go Naibuga
Hehemba Run Henunba
Babenaka Dance Babinaha
Nabinakayem I dance Nabinaha├▒an
Choubakouba Leap Chubaguaba
Choubakou naibou I am going to leap. Chubaguana
B├ę├ęrraka Laugh Beheraha
Naou├źrekoyem I laugh Nouwegu├▒an
Ayakouaka Weep Ayahuaha
Baronka Sleep Barumuga
Akakotou├Ąba Awake Agaguduaba
Nemervoni Rest Nemeragua
Aouraba banichi Refresh thy heart Awaraguata banigi
Phouba├ź Blow Fubai
Chou├źba Spit Sueba
Hymba Cough Hinba
Homoura To ease oneself ├?mura
Chibaba Wash thyself Chibaguaba
Akao bouka Go to wash thyself. Agawa bungua
Napouloukayem I swim Nabuluha├▒an
Niarakou├Ąli He was choked. ├Ĺanraguali
Talaba Open Daraba
Aloukaba Seek Alugaba
Hamamba Fly Hamaba
Batikeroyen You fall Bachugeregu├▒an
Kebeciketaba├ź Sell it Gebegig├╝dabai
Akani An enemy ├?gani
Oubao- bonon An islander Ubouhuna
Balanagl├ę A man who comes by sea Baranag├╝le
(Christians or Europeans)
Tamon A servant or absolute slave Idamuni
Inouti High In├▒uti
Onabouti Low ├ťnabuti
Ouliliti Deep Huliliti
Taboub├ęreti Broad Dabubereti
Mouchinagouti Long Miginaguti
Chiririti Round Giririti
Nioulouti Soft ├Ĺunluti
T├ęreti Hard Dereti
Kouchakouali Moist Gucharati
Alouti White Haruti
Ouliti Black W├╝riti
Ponati Red Funati
Youalouti Thief Hiweruti
Oulimateti An adulterer Ounliduati
Oulibati Evil W├╝ribati
Nianouanti Evil Ha├▒anwariti
Iroponti Good Irufuguti
Leuleuti ao A fool L├╝l├╝tau
Talouali ao A fool (He who has no light) Daruguati lau
Imouemeti Sad Uwedemeti
Chouchouti Piquant or tart in taste Chou chou ti
Natiakayem I fish. Nadiaha├▒an
Abourricaali He is coming into the port. Ab├╝r├╝gaali
Naromankayem I sing a song. Narumanha├▒an
Ichoatoati tao He is in love with her. Ichuahati tuma
Chouba nioumolou- Kiss me. Chuba niuma
Kinchinti lon├ę He loves him. Hisienti lun
Yerekati lon├ę He hates him. Iyereguti lun
Liuetimali Drunkenness Luedifun
Baikoaba Strike, beat Baiguabai
Abaichagl├ę Whip or wand Abaichag├╝lei
Apparaba├ź Beat him. Afarabai
Atouattienly He is well. Atuaditi
Naneteiti He is sick. Gan├╝tariti
Hilaali He is dead. Hilaali
Bonamba├ź Bury him (it, plant) Bunabai
THINGS RELATED TO HOUSEKEEPING AND TRADE
Toubana An ordinary house Tuban
Maina Garden Mainabu
Nichari My garden Nichari
B├ęna A door B├ęna
Amac, Nekera A bed N├╝g├╝ra
Halaheu A seat Haláü
Takae A vessel Tagai
Tauba A half vessel made of gourd Tauba wira
Ritta A drinking cup Rida
Keoue A hook G├╝wein*, G├╝wi
Akoucha A needle Agusa
Alopholer A pin (Harpoon) Arufun
Catoli A basket Gadouri
Aribelet Roast meat Alibele
Eberitina Merchandise Ebegidinou
Couliala A small vessel Guriara
Ibitarrou A cord Ifitaru
Ankouroute An anchor Ounguru
Couchique A knife Gusi├▒u
Chirachi Scissors Isiresi
Anhan Yes An an
Oua Nay, No Uá
Alouka Tomorrow Haruga
Mabou├ź Good morning Mabuiga
Huican Farewell Awisaha
ORNAMENTS AND ARMS
Narikaela Pendants for the ear Narigaila* Narigeila
Chibouchi A looking glass Isibusei
Echoubara A sword Isubara
Rakabouchou Musket Aragabusu
Kaloon Great guns Gal├║n
Laboulougou The point of it Labulugu
Lirana The middle Liranagua
Tiona The end Tiuna
Chimala A bow Gimara+
Ibitarrou The string of the bow Ifitaru
Narikaela Pendants for the ear Narigaila* Narigeila
Chibouchi A looking glass Isibusei
Echoubara A sword Isubara
Rakabouchou Musket Aragabusu
Kaloon Great guns Gal├║n
Laboulougou The point of it Labulugu
Lirana The middle Liranagua
Tiona The end Tiuna
Chimala A bow Gimara+
Ibitarrou The string of the bow Ifitaru
LIVING CREATURES
Anly A dog Aunli
Oulle anly A female dog W├╝ri aunli
Bouirokou A swine Buiruhu
Alouata An ape or monkey Arawada
Ouayamaka The great lizard Wayamaga
Karattoni A mouse Garad├║n
Mechou A cat Mesu
Maker├ę The soldier, a kind of snail Mag├╝re
H├ęhu├ę A serpent Hewe
Akourou A scorpion Aguru
Huer├ę-huer├ę A fly Were-were
Cogouyou A glittering fly Uhuyu, Wadigidigi
Tonolou A bird Dunuru
Ouekelli-pikaka A turkey-cock W├╝g├╝ri figaga
Kayou An ordinary hen Gayu
Kanarou A duck Ganaru
Koulehuee A parrot Gurewegi
Ouakoukoua A pigeon Wagugua
Toubanna A feather, a leaf Tubana
Tarreuna Wing or arm Tar├╝na
Tiouma A beak or mouth Tiuma
Tougouti A foot or claw Tugudi
TREES AND PLANTS
Huehue Tree Wewe
Ninanteli A plant Ninadiri
Illehu├ę A flower ├?lewei
Toubanna A leaf Tubana
Arabou A forest ├?rabu
Youli Tobacco Iy├║ri
Battia Melon Badia
Maboulou A cane or reed Mab├║ru
Kaniche Sugar-cane Gániesi
Kanichira Juice of the cane L├şra g├íniesi
Choure Sugar Sugara
THINGS ELEMENTARY AND INANIMATE
Oualoukouma A star Waruguma
Huyeyou The Sun Weyu
Kati The moon Hati
Lalloukone Light Larungounga
Ariabou Night ├?riebu
Bourreli Darkness Luburiga
Haloukaali It is day. Harugougali
Boureokaali It is night. Buruwougaali
Naouaragle Air Nawaragun
Bebeit├ę The wind Bebeidi
Ouattou Fire Watu
Balliffi Ashes Baligi
Konobou Rain Gunubu
Liromouli Summer Irumurugu
Lamoyeli Cold Hamuyeli
Loubacha Heat Lubacha
Yehumeti It is foul weather Yegumeti dan
Oualou ouyoulou Thunder Wayuhuyuru
Ourogan A tempest Huragan
Alamoulou A rainbow Heremuru
Ouebo A mountain W├╝b├╝
Tona Water, River Duna
Chiekati A well Chigati
Balanna The sea Barana
Itika Excrement Idiga├╝
Saccao Sand Sagoun
Ema A way ├ťma
Tebou A stone D├╝b├╝
Oubao An island Ubouhu
Huehue Wood or tree We we
Crabou Iron G├╝rabu


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