Like others, Africans brought with them their culture to the New World. In the British colonies and the USA, those cultures did not land in a receptive soil so that which was not usable for survival was lost. But many argue the existence of African survivals, an argument which is less convincing for the USA than the Caribbean and Latin America, places that had a greater tolerance for difference than Protestant (and puritanical) America.
Africans who spoke the same language were often separated from one another to suppress insurrections. There remain, some believe, verbal and nonverbal African communications in American culture:
1. The nonverbal sounds Americans used to say “yes” (um hum), “no,” and “I don’t know.”
2. Certain exclamatory sounds which indicate delight or disgust such as “umph, umph, umph!”, smells good “um,” smells bad “um” with different intonations.
3. Intonations of exclamatory words (the manner and the style of the exclamation rather than the words themselves are African survivals) “lawd!”, “chile.”
4. Carryovers of specific words from various African languages, including goober nut, gumbo, tote, yam, okay (or OK), jitterbug, jazz, dig, honkie, and so forth.
With their own language patterns, Africans came to this country and learned the English and the French vocabularies, using them often to the dictates of their own language patterns. This carryover also occurs, it is argued, in American pidgin and Creole:
1. In several African languages, urgency is expressed by repetition. In Wolof, the word “now” is leegi, pronounced “legi.” Consequently, to express “right now” in Wolof, one says leegi, leegi. In pidgin English this feeling of urgency is expressed by saying “now, now.”
2. In several African languages no distinction is made between the letter “L” and the letter “R.” Consequently, “fried” potatoes in pidgin becomes flied potatoes.
3. Few African languages have a th sound; consequently, “that” and “those” become dat and dose.
There are Africanisms, too, in American folklore. American classics such as Uncle Remus and the Tar Baby contain stories that some claim are of West African origin and with not very much transformation. These stories, they point out, have maintained plot, sequences, and events identical to those in West African folklore.