Gullah Glossary | GullahNet

benne wafer ( wa.fer) n. - a cookie made with sesame seeds and eaten for good luck; introduced by slaves from West Africa.


cast (cast) v. - to throw or fling.

chaff (chaff) n. - lightweight, dry coverings that are separated from the rice grain during threshing.

Civil War ( war) n. - the war in the United States between the Union and Confederacy that lasted from 1861 to 1865; also, any war within a country.

coiled (coiled) adj. - an African technique for making baskets; a coil of fibers is sewn together by hand to make a basket or container.

craft (craft) n. - a job or activity needing skill and experience, especially in making objects like baskets or quilts.

cultivate (cul.ti.vate) v. - to grow a crop.

cultural heritage (her.i.tage) n. - things handed down from generation to generation, such as traditions and languages that have cultural importance.

culture (cul.ture) n. - the customs, beliefs, laws and ways of living that belong to a people.


descendant (de.scen.dant) n. - a person whose ancestry can be traced to a particular person or group.


endangered (en.dan.gered) adj. - likely to be harmed, damaged or destroyed.

export (ex.port) n. - something that is sent to another country for trade or sale.


fanner (fan.ner) n. - a large flat basket used to toss threshed rice in the air so that the wind blows away the chaff, leaving behind the heavier grains of rice.

folklore (folk.lore) n. - the traditional stories, sayings and culture of a group of people.

folktale (folk.tale) n. - a traditional story that often teaches a lesson that has been handed down by the people of a country or region from one generation to the next.

folkway (folk.way) n. - a practice, custom or belief shared by the members of a group as part of their common culture.


Gullah (gul.lah) n. - one of a group of people of African ancestry that live in the Sea Islands and coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida; the creolized language of the Gullahs, based on English and several other African languages and spoken in Sea Island communities.


historian ( n. - a person who studies or writes about history.

hoppin' John ( john) n. - brown field peas cooked with rice; eaten for good luck.

hull (hull) n. - the hard, outer shell of a rice grain.


indigo (in.di.go) n. - a plant used to make blue dye; historically grown on plantations.


melody (mel.o.dy) n. - a tune or song.


Native American (na.tive a.mer.i.can) n. - a descendant of any of the peoples who lived in North, Central or South America before European explorers and colonists arrived.

Native Islander (na.tive n.  -  one of the original inhabitants or lifelong residents of the Sea Islands.


origin (o.ri.gin) n. - where something begins or comes from.


plantation (plan.ta.tion) n.  -  a large farm or estate on which crops are grown and harvested by workers who often live there; plantations in the Sea Islands grew indigo, rice, and cotton.

port (port) n. - a town or city with deep water where ships can dock and load or unload cargo.

praise house (praise house) n. - a meeting place for slaves on plantations; served as a center for worship and community leadership.

preserve (pre.serve) v. - to keep something the same or prevent it from being damaged or destroyed.


religious (re.lig.ious) adj. - relating to the belief in, or worship of, a god or gods.

rhythm (rhythm) n. - a regular, repeating pattern of sound.


scholar ( n. - a person who has a great deal of knowledge, usually about a particular subject.

Sea Islands (sea is.lands) - a group of islands off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and North Florida.

shout (shout) n. - a rhythmic song sung during prayer meetings that uses foot stomping and handclapping.

Sierra Leone (sier.ra n. - a country on the coast of West Africa.

slave (slave) n. - a person who is owned by someone else and works without pay.

spirituals (spir.i.tu.als) n. - religious songs created by slaves while they were in church or working in the fields.

storytelling ( n. - the art of telling or writing stories, usually of historical or cultural value.

sweetgrass (sweet.grass) n. - a long-stemmed plant that grows near the ocean and is used to make baskets; the development of the Sea Islands has depleted the supply of sweetgrass.

sweetgrass basket (sweet.grass bas.ket) n. - a coiled, handmade basket made of sweetgrass.


tourism (tour.ism) n. - the business of providing services for tourists, including organizing their travel, hotels, entertainment, etc.

traditions (tra.di.tions) n. - customs, beliefs and ways of life that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

tribe (tribe) n. - a group of people who live together, share the same culture, language and history; and have a traditional way of life.

trickster (trick.ster) n. - a figure in myth or folklore, often an animal, that deceives people as a joke or form of entertainment.


West Africa (west - the region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea.

West Indies (west in.dies) - a group of islands between North and South America that includes the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles.




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