Project Title

The Semantics Behind Saltwater Geechee

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Jeanne Bohannon

Abstract (300 words maximum)

As technology expands and people move farther from their place of birth, languages and cultures specific to small, often marginalized groups of people are assimilated into the mainstream and lose their distinctiveness. Sapelo Island, Georgia has a unique geographical location, and as a result Saltwater Geechee, the Island’s historic language, is still spoken by some of the inhabitants. This preservation of language has assisted in sustaining the Saltwater Geechee culture. However, the population that speaks the language is dwindling, and the once vibrant culture is fading. Through a textual analysis of Cornelia Walker Bailey’s book, God, Dr. Buzzard and the Bolito Man, this presentation will describe the semantic meanings of words, phrases, and cultural practices specific to the people of Sapelo Island. Not only does the number of people who speak Saltwater Geechee and practice its culture continue to grow smaller, one of the leaders of the fight to preserve the language and culture, Cornelia Walker Bailey, recently passed away. While I acknowledge the fact that I have not lived on or spoken to the people of Sapelo Island, and therefore do not have an intimacy with the language and culture, I have conducted thorough, scholarly research on the Saltwater Geechee dialect. Current and additional research that analyzes linguistic information about Saltwater Geechee helps keep the language and culture alive. This makes the research I have done on this topic and my presentation stemming from it worthy of attention.

Keywords: God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man, Saltwater Geechee

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

The Semantics Behind Saltwater Geechee

As technology expands and people move farther from their place of birth, languages and cultures specific to small, often marginalized groups of people are assimilated into the mainstream and lose their distinctiveness. Sapelo Island, Georgia has a unique geographical location, and as a result Saltwater Geechee, the Island’s historic language, is still spoken by some of the inhabitants. This preservation of language has assisted in sustaining the Saltwater Geechee culture. However, the population that speaks the language is dwindling, and the once vibrant culture is fading. Through a textual analysis of Cornelia Walker Bailey’s book, God, Dr. Buzzard and the Bolito Man, this presentation will describe the semantic meanings of words, phrases, and cultural practices specific to the people of Sapelo Island. Not only does the number of people who speak Saltwater Geechee and practice its culture continue to grow smaller, one of the leaders of the fight to preserve the language and culture, Cornelia Walker Bailey, recently passed away. While I acknowledge the fact that I have not lived on or spoken to the people of Sapelo Island, and therefore do not have an intimacy with the language and culture, I have conducted thorough, scholarly research on the Saltwater Geechee dialect. Current and additional research that analyzes linguistic information about Saltwater Geechee helps keep the language and culture alive. This makes the research I have done on this topic and my presentation stemming from it worthy of attention.

Keywords: God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man, Saltwater Geechee