Afro-Seminole Creole

Afro-Seminole Creole (ASC) is a dialect of Gullah spoken by Black Seminoles in scattered communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Northern Mexico.[2][a]

Afro-Seminole Creole
Native toUnited States, Mexico
EthnicityBlack Seminoles
Native speakers
(200 in Mexico cited 1990)[1]
English Creole
  • Atlantic
    • Eastern
      • Northern
Language codes
ISO 639-3afs
Glottologafro1254
Linguasphere52-ABB-ac

Afro-Seminole Creole was first identified in 1978 by Ian Hancock, a linguist at the University of Texas. Before that, no one in the academic world was aware of its existence. ASC arose when enslaved Gullah speakers from the South Carolina and Georgia coastal region, later called "Black Seminoles," escaped from slavery on rice plantations and fled into the Florida wilderness. This process began in the late 1600s, and continued into the 1830s. In Florida, the Black Seminoles built their own independent communities, but established a close partnership with the Seminole Indians. That alliance helped protect both groups during the First and Second Seminole Wars.[2]

The present-day speakers of Afro-Seminole Creole live in Seminole County, Oklahoma and Brackettville, Texas in the United States, and in Nacimiento de los Negros, Coahuila, Mexico. ASC is threatened with extinction as there are only about 200 native speakers today.[2] The speakers of ASC are all descendants of the Black Seminoles who settled in Florida and then, through a series of wars and other threats, were driven first to what is now Oklahoma and Northern Mexico, and later into Texas after the Civil War. The speakers of ASC are all 65 years of age or older, so unless actions are soon taken, ASC will likely be extinct in one or two decades.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Black Seminoles have also been known as Seminole Maroons or Seminole Freedmen and were a group of free blacks and runaway slaves who joined with a group of Native Americans in Florida after the Spanish abolished slavery there in 1793.[3]

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