Words like "gumbo" and "chigger" have roots in African words long ago, but those connections might have been lost if not for one of the first black linguists.
Lorenzo Dow Turner's research in the 1930s was first to show that people of African heritage retained and passed on their cultural identity and language, despite slavery.
The Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum is staging the first major exhibit on Turner's work. It’s called “Word, Shout, Song.” The museum hosts a symposium Friday and Saturday and the exhibit is on view through July 2011.
The exhibit includes Turner's early studies at Howard University, his bulky recording device and rare recordings of Gullah speech.