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Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time, by Maureen Warner-Lewis

By Maureen Warner-Lewis

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Alienation from a previous identity would have been caused by the dislocation of war or by migration, necessitated by ecological vicissitudes, communal or family disagreements, or provoked by forced or even pragmatic alterations in political and economic allegiances. The adoption of new identities fostered the acceptance of new ideological perspectives, sanctioned new exogamous relationships, and created links between peoples who were once strangers or even hostile groups. One result of physical population shifts and expanded sexual access was miscegenation (Harms 1981, 30).

Yet despite cultural variation in Africa, I wish to suggest that a culture zone approach is underpinned by the working validity of a Caribbean as against a specific island identity and culture, or for that matter, the concept of European as opposed to English, French or Russian reality. If one can speak of European dress, food and culture, despite ethnic divergences, why then can one not speak of similar African applications? While acknowledging cultural xxix Introduction differentiation as a given, then, for purposes of analysis, those regions which constitute a culture zone are recognized as sharing a particular type of historical formation, are usually geographically adjacent, and/or through culture contact over substantial periods share aspects of their culture forms.

Fn. Fr FrCr gen. GuadKo GuyKo imp. indef. JC JaKo Ko m. Mb MKo My N n. NE neg. pers. pi. Po pr. Bembe Cuban Koongo dialect emphatic English feminine footnote French French Creole genitive Guadeloupe Koongo Guyana Koongo imperative indefinite Jamaican Creole Jamaica Koongo Koongo masculine Mbundu Martinique Koongo Mayombe northern Koongo noun north-eastern Koongo negator person plural Portuguese pronoun xxxiii Abbreviations Pr2 Pr3 S SB sg. Sp subj. TE TKo Urn Vi W Y xxxiv second-person pronoun third-person pronoun Southern southern Bembe singular Spanish subject Trinidad English Trinidad Koongo Umbundu Vili Western Koongo Yoruba Svni>@tf < > ~ + [] // ~ n g 8 0 derived from becomes/became variant of, alternating with followed by phonetic pronunciation phonemic representation nasalized vowel ny, as in "near:" ng, as in "sm^" mid front vowel, as in "set" as in "0r" XXXV Vrtk9tr*,ikic &M( Tyl®tr&ikic *3*r&ctic€ In this text, Central African words, whether confirmed or putative, are in bold type, though they may not be so rendered in quotations which did not demarcate these words by special type.

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