The Garifuna Mass

New York City, this article says, is the most linguistically diverse city in the world. In a few cases it’s easier to find speakers of endangered languages there than in the languages’ home regions.

At a Roman Catholic Church in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mass is said once a month in Garifuna, an Arawakan language that originated with descendants of African slaves shipwrecked near St. Vincent in the Caribbean and later exiled to Central America. Today, Garifuna is virtually as common in the Bronx and in Brooklyn as in Honduras and Belize.

from “The Lost Languages, Found in New York,” by Sam Roberts,, 28 April 2010

Originally published at

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