Gullah is spoken primarily along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. It probably emerged through a process of language contact between African and English varieties spoken during the Atlantic slave-trading era. During this time, African slaves, speaking a variety of mutually non-intelligible languages, would have had an urgent need to communicate with one another and those that enslaved them. In response to this need, they are believed to have formed contact varieties which drew upon the English vocabulary of the British slave traders and plantation owners, while retaining phonological and grammatical features from their own West African languages.

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