Gumbo, a favorite food in the southern United States, particularly in the Louisiana area, is a variation of popular west African (including Yoruba) stews in which similar ingredients, such as okra and spicy peppers, are served over a starchy substance. In west African stews the starch is usually yam or cassava; in gumbo it is usually rice. West African language patterns have also merged with the English language over time. For example, the Yoruba language does not conjugate verbs. Therefore, the English “I am,” you are,” he/she/it is,” translates into Yoruba simply as “emi ni,” iwo ni,” and “oun ni” respectively. Scholars equate this lack of conjugation with colloquial African-American speech patterns that would conjugate the same phrase in English as “I be,” “you be,” he/she/it be,” representing the retention of African language patterns over time and space….
From A History of Nigeria by Falola and Heaton.