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'Geechee 101' video goes viral, helps keep language alive

Geechee 101 video on Facebook. (Facebook)

It's gotten 358,000 plus views and counting.

A Facebook video is helping keep the Geechee language alive.

It's a language spoken by Gullah people, which are an African-American population living in coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia

"Just to see the response we've been getting is amazing," said Akua Page, one of the two people featured in the video from the Facebook page Geechee Experience.

"I believe a lot of people still use it, but they don’t understand it as they’re speaking," said Christopher Cato, also featured in the video. "A lack of understanding is going to make it where it’s disappearing."

"For so long we been taught that if you talk Geechee, it’s bad, it’s ignorant, makes you seem uneducated," Page said. "We speak a variation of English, it doesn’t mean we’re dumb."

They said people unfamiliar with the language often have to listen closely to understand them.

"At public places, sometimes I'd have to turn it off to make sure people could hear and understand what I have to say," Cato said.

Page said Geechee is an offshoot of the Gullah language and is spoken more in the city, while Gullah is spoken more on the islands.

"In Georgia, the Gullah speakers are called Salt Water Geechee and Geechee speakers are called Fresh Water Geechee," she said. "Saltwater refers to the islands closest to the water, while the fresh water refers to the rivers that flow through the inner city."

Page said it's unclear exactly how many people still speak either language, as they're spoken aloud far more than written.

Check out the video below or click here.


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