Garifuna Language

20 Phrases to Chit-Chat in Garifuna!

Southern Belize is the hotspot during November to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day! With a series of live performances, competitions, and parties, locals and travelers gather to commemorate the Garinagu’s’ arrival in Belize on November 19, 1823, after being exiled from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A blend of Carib, Arawak, and West Africans, the Garifuna is a vibrant culture rich with language, tradition, cuisine, music, and proud people! 

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The Garifuna language easily resonates with your ears, whether you’re listening to a conversation or a song. However, it is becoming quite a rarity due to modernization and intermarriage with other cultures. In 2001, the UNESCO Atlas of endangered languages listed the Garifuna language. In the same year, UNESCO proclaimed the language, music, and dance among the masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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The Garinagu is known for preserving the rhythmic language through melodious songs like Punta Rock and Paranda. Legends such as Andy Palacio, Paul Nabor, Pen Cayetano, The Garifuna Collectives, and Supa G have graced stages, evoking the hearts and spirits of people globally. The Garifuna language is a unique piece of art that attracts the interest of many who travel to Belize.

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Photo Credit: Garifuna Collective

As you travel around Southern Belize to immerse in the spirit of the Garifuna culture, here are a few phrases in the Garifuna Language to use when you meet and mingle with locals!

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20 Phrases in the Garifuna:

Good morning – Buíti binafi

Good afternoon – Buíti gúyoun

Hello – Maburiga

Good afternoon – Buíti ranbá weyu

Goodbye – Ayóu

Thank you – Seremei

Yes – Ayi

No – Ino

Excuse me – Ferudu

How are you? – Ida biangi?

What is your name? – Ka biri?

What time is it? – Ka ora?

What day is today? – Ka weyu uguñe? 

What will you do today? – Ka ba badüga uguñe?

What are you doing? – Ka badaguboun?

Where are you going? – Halia badibu?

Where do you live? – Halia baganawa?

Do you speak Garifuna? – Ariengatibu Garifuna?

Say it again, please – Ariengayabei, fulesi

I don’t understand – Úwati gunfarándaná

Get a first-hand experience of the Garifuna culture when you stay and catch up with your friends in Belize for the Garifuna Settlement Day celebration! 

20 Phrases to chi chat in the Garifuna Language
Garifuna Culture- Drumming