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English-based creole languages

English-based creole languages

An English-based creole language (often shortened to English creole) is a creole language for which English was the lexifier, meaning that at the time of its formation the vocabulary of English served as the basis for the majority of the creole's lexicon. Most English creoles were formed in British colonies, following the great expansion of British naval military power and trade in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The main categories of English-based creoles are Atlantic (the Americas and Africa) and Pacific (Asia and Oceania).

Over 76.5 million people globally are estimated to speak an English-based creole. Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, and Singapore have the largest concentrations of creole speakers.


It is disputed to what extent the various English-based creoles of the world share a common origin. The monogenesis hypothesis posits that a single language, commonly called proto–Pidgin English, spoken along the West African coast in the early sixteenth century, was ancestral to most or all of the Atlantic creoles (the English creoles of both West Africa and the Americas).


Table of creole languages


  • Bonin English, sometimes considered a mixed language
  • Iyaric ("Rastafarian")
  • Jamaican Maroon Spirit Possession Language


Not strictly creoles, but sometimes called thus:

  • Bay Islands English
  • Cayman Islands English

See also

  • List of English-based pidgins
  • Middle English creole hypothesis
  • World Englishes
  • Belter Creole
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Further reading

  • Holm, John A., ed. (1983). Central American English. Heidelberg: Julius Groos Verlag. ISBN 3-87276-295-8.
  • Holm, John A. (1989). "English-based varieties". Pidgins and Creoles. Vol. 2, Reference Survey. Cambridge University Press. pp. 405–551. ISBN 978-0-521-35940-5.
  • Holm, John A. (2000). An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-58581-1.
  • Schreier, Daniel; Trudgill, Peter; Schneider, Edgar W.; Williams, Jeffrey P., eds. (2010). The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-48741-2.
  • Arends, Jacques; Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (1995). Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 90-272-5236-X.

External links

  • Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: English-based creole languages by Wikipedia (Historical)