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Creole language
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Creole language

A creole is a language descended from a pidgin that has become the native language of a group of people. Study of Creole languages around the world (in particular by Derek Bickerton) has shown that they display remarkable similarities in grammar, lending support to the theory of a Universal Grammar. The majority of creole languages are based on English and other Indo-European languages (their superstrate language), with local or immigrant languages as substrate languages.

Pidgins are rudimentary languages improvised by non-native speakers; when pidgins creolize, however, they develop fully-formed and stable grammar structures, usually as a result of the pidgin being natively learned by children. (see Nicaraguan Sign Language.) In some cases the group of people who speak such a language are called Creoles.

Below are described some of the better-known creoles.

Table of contents
1 Arabic creoles
2 Cree creoles
3 English Creoles
4 French Creoles
5 German Creoles
6 Malay Creoles
7 Portuguese Creoles
8 Spanish Creoles

Arabic creoles


An Arabic-based creole spoken by descendants of Sudanese soldiers mainly in Kenya and Uganda, formed in the nineteenth century from a Sudanese Arabic-based pidgin used for intercommunication among southern Sudanese ethnic groups. See also Varieties of Arabic.

Juba Arabic

A major language of inter-ethnic communication in Equatoria (southern Sudan), creolized from the same pidgin Arabic as Ki-Nubi.

Babalia Creole Arabic

A Shuwa Arabic-based creole spoken in 23 villages of the Chari-Baguirmi Prefecture in southwestern Chad; the substrate language was Berakou.

Cree creoles

Chinook Jargon

was used as a trade language by Native Americans prior to, and shortly after, contact with Europeans. It contains elements of Cree and many neighboring Native American languages. After European contact, it also began incorporating elements of French and English. While not strictly speaking a creole (it had no native speakers), it had well-defined grammar, phonology, and vocabulary, and thus can be placed in the category of creoles.

English Creoles


Bislama (older Bêche-la-mar) is an English-based creole, and is the national language of Vanuatu.

Hawaiian Creole English

Hawaiian Pidgin began as a pidgin jargon used in the early European colonization of the Hawaiian Islands. English served as the superstrate language, with Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Hawaiian elements incorporated. Children started using it as a lingua franca, and by the 20's it had creolized and become the dominant language of Hawaii, as it still is today.


is spoken in Liberia, and has English and French as superstrate languages, with several Bantu languages as substrate languages.


Also known as Roper River Creole, has become the major non-English language among Aboriginal Australians with over 10,000 first language speakers.

Pitcairnese, Norfuk

Spoken exclusively by the inhabitants of the Pitcairn Islands and Pitcairnese migrants in Norfolk Island, an 18th century dialect of English is spoken with the Tahitian language to form the Creole language known as Pitcairnese, or Norfuk in Norfolk Island.

Sranang Tongo

In Suriname.

Tok Pisin

is spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. English is the superstrate language, with various Papuan languages providing grammatical and lexical input.

Torres Strait Creole

Spoken by Torres Straits Islanders.

French Creoles

Haitian Creole

is a language spoken primarily in Haiti. French is its superstrate language, with numerous African languages and some local indigenous languages providing substrate input.

Kreyol Lwiziyen

Louisiana creole, spoken mainly by African American Creoles in Louisiana.

Mauritian Creole

Spoken as the lingua franca in Mauritius

Seychellois Creole

Also known as Seselwa, Seychellois Creole is an official language, along with English and French, as well as the lingua franca of the Seychelles.

German Creoles


or Rabaul Creol German. Unserdeutsch means "our German". It is a language spoken primarily in Papua New Guinea and the northeast of Australia and almost extinct. It was formed among the New Guinean children residing in a German-run orphanage. Only a few native speakers are still alive. ISO-Code 639-2: crp

Malay Creoles

For further information, see on Malay Creole

Portuguese Creoles

For information on Portuguese-based Creole languages, see Portuguese Creole.

There are several Portuguese Creoles:


Also known as Sri Lanka Portuguese (Creole). Spoken in Sri Lanka, local languages are the substrate.

Creoles of Cape Verde

Spoken in Cape Verde, at least, two creoles. Some locals refer 9 different creoles, one for each inhabited island. Several African substrate languages.

Creoles of India

Various creoles were largely spoken in India, the remaining are under threat: Crioulo de Diu, Crioulo de Vaipim, Língua da Casa and Kristi.

Creoles of São Tomé and Príncipe

Three different Creole languages are spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe, all based in Portuguese: Forro, Lunguyê and Lungua N'golá, several African languages work as substrate. Lunga N'Golá is based on Bantu languages.

Fá d'Ambô

Language of the island of Annobón, Equatorial Guinea, related to Forro from São Tomé and Príncipe.


Ancient creole and the first Portuguese creole. Also known as Crioulo it is spoken in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal the local African languages are the substrate. Divided into three dialectal groups. It is the Lingua franca of Guinea-Bissau.

Macaista Chapado

Spoken in Macao, China and, until early 20th century, in Hong-Kong. Chinese, Malay and Indian languages as substrate.

Papiá Kristang

Spoken in Malacca, Malaysia. Malay is substrate.


Spoken in Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, the Dutch West Indies. Spanish influenced.


Also known as Saramaccan. Spoken in some areas of Suriname. English influenced.

Spanish Creoles

For information on Spanish-based Creole languages see Spanish Creole.