USCB to Host Presentation
on the Gullah Language May 28 in Beaufort


BEAUFORT, S.C. (May 25, 2015) – Dr. David Frank, a senior linguistics consultant, will deliver an address at a meeting of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission May 28 at 4 p.m. at the Beaufort College Building on the Historic Beaufort campus of the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

His presentation, entitled “An Overview of Gullah as a Language,” is sponsored by the commission.

“The Gullah Geechee Commission has chosen to meet at the Historic Beaufort campus because Dr. Frank’s presentation is scholarly and because of the historic nature of the Beaufort College Building,” says Gordon K. Haist, Ph.D., USCB’s interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “It is an honor to host the commission. Dr. Frank’s paper has much historical and cultural relevance for educators as well as residents of the area where Gullah continues to survive as a lived language and culture.”

A linguist with the nonprofit organization SIL International since 1982, Dr. Frank earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics at the University of Georgia in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1983. He and his wife moved to the island of St. Lucia the following year, and he devoted the next 17 years to working with the French Creole language. The couple’s three children were born and raised on St. Lucia.

After helping to translate the Bible into St. Lucian Creole, which was published in 1999, Dr. Frank moved to North Carolina in 2001 and served as a consultant on a project to translate the Bible into Gullah. The Gullah Nyew Testament came out in 2005. He has been a member of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission since its inception in 2007.

Gullah is a creole language spoken by the Gullah/Geechee African-American people who inhabited the Sea Islands and the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida. Dialects of the same language are spoken in the Bahamas. While based on English, the language reflects the strong influence of West African and Central African languages.

“Gullah is not just English with some different pronunciations and words borrowed from African languages,” Dr. Frank says. “What makes Gullah a distinctive language is the fact that it is structurally distinctive, with its own grammatical rules and linguistic categories.”

Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 600), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,800 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. It is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information on the University of South Carolina Beaufort and its academic programs, contact Lynn McGee, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Advancement and External Affairs, at 843-208-8240 or