Lucumí language

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Native to Cuba
Native speakers
(liturgical language)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 luq
Glottolog lucu1238[2]

Lucumí is a Yoruba dialect and the liturgical language of Santería in Cuba.[3][4] It is sometimes known as Yorùbá.[5] It is the language of the Yoruba people, brought to the New World by African slaves, and preserved in Santería, Candomblé, and other transplanted African religions. The Yoruba descendents in these communities, as well as non-descendents that have adopted one of the Yoruba-based religions in the diaspora, no longer speak any of the Yoruba dialects with any level of fluency. And the liturgical usage also reflects the compromise of the language whereby there isn't an understand of correct grammar nor proper intonation. Spirit possession by the Yoruba deities in Cuba shows that the deity manifested in the devotee at a Cuban orisa ceremony delivers messages to the faithful in Bozal, a type of Spanish-based creole with some words of Yoruba language as well as those of Bantu origin with an inflection similar to the way Africans would speak as they were learning Spanish during enslavement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lucumí at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lucumi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ George Brandon. Santeria from Africa to the New World. Indiana University Press. p. 56. 
  4. ^ Wirtz, Kristina. 2014. Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-11905-2
  5. ^ "Lucumi: A Language of Cuba (Ethnologue)". Retrieved 10 March 2010.