A Crash Course On The Garifuna Language & Words To Learn

by Caribbean Lifestyle Editorial Team

In Belize, November 19th is a public holiday that commemorates the arrival of the Garifuna people to the country’s southern shores. In the 17th century, British and French slave traders brought Sub-Saharan African slaves to the islands of the Lesser Antilles. There, those slaves intermarried with native Island Carib and Arawak people and gave birth to the vibrant Garinagu.

garifuna people

Re-enactment of Yurumein. Photo by iTravelBelize

Moreover, the seamless mixture of traditions, together with, their unique language and music stems from a deep-rooted appreciation and acknowledgment of who they are as people. Persecuted and exiled from Caribbean islands like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Garinagu made their way to Roatan and then Belize to find refuge and a new beginning. While in Belize, try your best at a greeting in the Garifuna language with this quick crash course on Garifuna words to learn!

  1. Numada = Friend
  2. Builti = Good
  3. Nuguya = Me
  4. Seremien = Tahnks
  5. Ugundani = Felicitation
  6. Buiti Achüluruni = Welcome
  7. Buiti Binafi = Good Morning
  8. Buiti Raaban Weyu = Good Afternoon
  9. Buiti Guñoun = Good Night
  10. Ayi = Yes
  11. Igabunun = Come Here
  12. Buguya = You
  13. Nisanimy = Son/Daughter
  14. Eyeri = Man
  15. Iñaru = Woman
  16. Echuni = Tradition
  17. Inebesei = Respect
  18. Pantaü = Pride

Happy Garifuna Settlement Day! As you celebrate at home, here’s a crash course on the Garifuna language and words to learn. After all, Garifuna is just one of the languages spoken in Belize.

Header photo by Duarte Dellarole

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