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Why isn't there any African terms in the English language like it is in the Spanish language.?

I havent come across any african words in the American dialect. Like I have in the puerto rican dialect. Why were african Americans so strip of their African roots?

I mean, puerto ricans, domnicans have less African mixture then African Americans. Why do they have Afican influences on their dancing, words, and foods more then African Americans?

I just don't understand.

10 Answers

  • Mike K
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    There are lots: This is a list of English language words that come from any of the Sub-Saharan African languages. It excludes placenames except where they have become common words.

    aardvark - Afrikaans word, meaning earth (or ground) pig

    apartheid - Afrikaans policy of separate development/living

    banana - West African, possibly Wolof banana

    banjo - probably Bantu mbanza

    basenji- breed of dog from the Congo

    biltong - from Afrikaans - cured meat (often used in South African English)

    bongo - West African boungu

    braai - from Afrikaans - barbecue (often used in South African English)

    buckra - from Efik and Ibibio mbakara "master"[1]

    bwana - from swahili

    chachacha possibly from Kimbundu, onomatopoeia for ringing bells or rattles worn around the legs of a female dancers.

    chigger - possibly from Wolof and Yoruba jiga "insect")

    chimpanzee - from a Bantu language, possibly Tshiluba kivili-chimpenze

    cola - from West African languages (Temne kola, Mandinka kolo)

    coffee - disputed; either from the Ethiopian region/Kingdom of Kaffa, where coffee originated, or Arabic kahwa

    conga - feminized form of Congo through Spanish

    dengue - possibly from Swahili dinga

    djembe from West African languages [2]

    fandango- possibly from the kikongo empire[3]

    Geranuk - Somali: Gerenuk means "giraffe-necked" in the Somali language

    gnu - from Bushman !nu through Hottentot i-ngu and Dutch gnoe

    goober - possibly from Bantu (Kikongo and Kimbundu nguba)

    gumbo - from Bantu (Kimbundu ngombo meaning "okra")

    indaba - from Xhosa or Zulu languages - 'meeting' (often used in South African English)

    jambalaya possibly from tshiluba

    jamboree possibly from swahili "jambo".

    jazz - from West African languages (Mandinka jasi, Temne yas)

    jive - possibly from Wolof jev

    jumbo - from Swahili (jambo or jumbe or from Kongo nzamba "elephant")

    juju - Yoruba

    juke, jukebox - possibly from Wolof and Bambara dzug through Gullah


    Kwanzaa - from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits".

    kwashiorkor - from Ga language, Coastal Ghana meaning "swollen stomach"

    impala - from Zulu im-pala

    lapa - from Sotho languages - enclosure or barbecue area (often used in South African English)

    macaque - from Bantu makaku through Portuguese and French

    mamba - from Zulu or Swahili mamba

    mambo - possibly West African through Haitian Creole

    marimba - from Bantu (Kimbundu and Swahili marimba, malimba)


    merengue (dance) possibly from Fulani mererek i meaning to shake or quiver

    mumbo jumbo - uncertain West African etymology

    mojo - from Fula moco'o "medicine man" through Louisiana Creole French or Gullah

    obeah - from West African (Efik ubio, Twi ebayifo)

    okra - from Igbo ókùrù

    okapi - from a language in the Congo

    safari - from Swahili travel, ultimately from Arabic

    samba from an African language through Brazilian Portuguese [4][5], carnaval website

    sambo - Fula sambo meaning "uncle"

    sangoma - from Zulu - traditional healer (often used in South African English)

    tango - probably from Ibibio tamgu

    tsetse - from a Bantu language (Tswana tsetse, Luhya tsiisi)

    trek - from Afrikaans - move (often used in South African English)

    ubuntu - Bantu languages

    voodoo - from West African languages (Ewe and Fon vodu "spirit")

    yam - West African (Fula nyami, Twi anyinam)

    zebra - possibly from a language in the Congo

    zombie - Central African (Kikongo zumbi, Kimbundu nzambi


    Michael Kelly

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  • Lynn
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Because, althought Native Americans were here first, the United States of America, as a country the one you are in now, was founded by people whose language was English. They founded the nation, and they set the rules. And, if you haven't noticed yet, even Native Americans learned and speak English in addition to their native language. This not the Babel Tower this the USA, love it or leave it....

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  • 8 years ago

    Africa is a continent with many languages which we were unable to retain on our journey here...slaves were beaten to keep them from using their languages for fear of communications that the slavers could not comprehend..remember they carried their guns everywhere even to church in anticipation of uprisings. However, the slang of African Americans has permeated our language like : 24/7, ho, swag, wassup, groove, hook up, getting down, tight, and so on. Not mention the way people dress, dance, sing, and eat...I don't eat grits or chitlins' but I know whites who love that we have more than 'come up' as the saying goes.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    There was a far larger population in places like the Dominican Republic, seeing as the population has never been that larget because it is an island. Also, the English language tries to stick to original English words, except in slang.

    and there are far more than you might think,('okay', 'banana', 'jazz', 'zombie') you didn't consider them and just assumed that there weren't many in the English language:

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    There are, in fact, many of them Swahili..

    banana -

    bogus -

    bongo -

    bozo -



    chigger -

    cola -





    jive -


    kwashiorkor -

    mambo - possibly West African through Haitian Creole


    merengue (dance)

    mumbo jumbo



    okay - disputed origins

    okra -



    tango -

    tote -



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  • Mark
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I'd have to disagree with you on this. Jazz, okra, voodoo, trek, savannah (that's even the name of a major US CITY!), yam, and hundreds of others (and they literally belong to ALL genres) are of African origin. And then there are English words that are directly translated to make terms like "bad-mouth" and so forth...

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  • pab
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Because English and Spanish are both latin based languages.

    Similarly, there's not a lot of Russian or oriental words in the English language.

    Source(s): why do i waste my time answering you factually?
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  • 8 years ago

    i was about to ask the same question. lol

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    because black people had no such thing as last names

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