Languages

Garifuna

Fact corner

  • Language: Garifuna
  • Alternate names: Caribe, Central American Carib, Black Carib, Garífuna
  • SIL-code: Ethnologue:cab
  • Language family: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean
  • Number of speakers: 191,974
  • Script: Latin script

Introduction

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.

The verb

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
Sg.1 n\-alîha\-ña alîha\-tina
Sg.2 b\-alîha\-ña alîha\-tibu
Sg.3 masculine l\-alîha\-ña alîha\-ti
Sg.3 feminine t\-alîha\-ña alîha\-tu
Pl.1 wa\-lîha-ña alîha\-tiwa
Pl.2 h\-alîha\-ña alîha\-tiü
Pl.3 masculine ha\-lîha-ña alîha\-tiñu
Pl.3 feminine alîha\-tiña

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