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 creolized Yoruba dialect and the liturgical language of Santería in Cuba.[3][4] It is sometimes known as Yorùbá.[5] It was brought to the New World by Yoruba slaves, and preserved in Santería, Candomblé, and other transplanted African religions. It has been heavily influenced by Spanish, and has also taken influence from Bantu languages, some of which were spoken by other slaves.

The Yoruba descendants in these communities, as well as non-descendants 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. Its status as a liturgical language also means that there isn't an understanding of correct grammar nor proper intonation. Santería practicioners claim that spirit possession in Cuba shows that it manifested in the devotee at a Cuban orisa ceremony speaking in Bozal.

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.