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French Guianese Creole

French Guianese Creole

French Guianese Creole (Kriyòl; also called variously Guianan Creole, Guianese Creole in English and Créole guyanais in French) is a French-based creole language spoken in French Guiana, and to a lesser degree, in Suriname and Brasil. It resembles Antillean Creole, but there are some lexical and grammatical differences between them. Antilleans can generally understand French Guianese Creole, though there may be some instances of confusion. The differences consist of more French and Brazilian Portuguese influences (due to the proximity of Brazil and Portuguese presence in the country for several years). There are also words of Amerindian and African origin. There are French Guianese communities in Suriname and Brazil who continue to speak the language.

It should not be confused with the Guyanese Creole language, based on English, spoken in nearby Guyana.


French Guianese Creole was a language spoken between slaves and settlers. But the conditions of French Guianese Creole's constitution were quite different from the Creole of the West Indies, on the one hand because of the conflicts between French, English, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish, and French dialects such as the Caen have greatly influenced French Guianese Creole, which has made it significantly different from the Creoles of Martinique, Haiti, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe.

There are, therefore, in French Guianese Creole many words in common with the Creoles of the West Indies. However, a number of words differentiate them significantly.

In addition, in French Guiana, the letter 'r' is mostly preserved in onset position, whereas in the West Indies the pronunciation of 'r' tends rather to approximate the semi-vowel /w/.

Possessive determiners are placed before the noun:

Orthography and phonology

French Guianese Creole is largely written using the French alphabet, with only a few exceptions. 'Q' and 'X' are replaced by 'k' and 'z' respectively. 'C' is not used apart from in the digraph, ch, where it stands for [ʃ] (the word for horse is chouval, similar to French's cheval). Otherwise, it is replaced by 'k' when it stands for [k] (Standard French's comment (how) is written kouman) and 's', when it stands for [s]. Silent 'h' is never written, unlike in Standard French, where it remains for etymological reasons. The diphthong 'OU' is replaced by 'w' when it stands for [w]. The diphthong 'OI' is replaced by 'we', but by 'o' in the words "mo" and "to".



Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: French Guianese Creole by Wikipedia (Historical)