Caribbean Talk… 1000 proverbs and sayings from the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora (2003)

Julian H.A. Neijorst’s 139-page book captures 1000 proverbs and sayings from rich African oral history traditions in the Caribbean. The book starts by explaining the history of the linguistic developments that took place as a result of Black enslavement in European colonies – Dutch, French, Spanish, English, and Portuguese. The resulting speech patterns became Creoles, which include, but are not limited to, Papiamento in the former Dutch colonies and Patwa in Jamaica. The inter-generational transmission of verbally relayed messages signals the passing along of survival techniques and the wisdom of elders. From a diverse array of languages, the proverbs here are translated into English and their origin countries are identified. Each country has a chapter that begins with a brief history of the country and the linguistic cultures that developed as a result of colonialism. There is even a chapter that covers sayings that appear throughout the region and that appear to be historically traceable to specific language groups from the African continent. Passed down from generation to generation, these expressions are timeless capsules that preserve Afro-Caribbean oral histories. Excerpts from the Surinamese traditions are available here.