Antillean Creole French
|Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois|
|Native to||French Antilles, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago|
|Native speakers||1.2 million (2001)|
gcf – Guadeloupean Creole
acf – Saint Lucian / Dominican Creole
scf – San Miguel Creole French (Panama)
51-AAC-cc (varieties:51-AAC-cca to -cck)
Antillean Creole is a creole language with a vocabulary based on French. It is spoken primarily in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and vocabulary also include elements of Carib and African languages.
Antillean Creole is related to Haitian Creole, but has a number of distinctive features; however, they are both mutually intelligible. The language was formerly more widely spoken in the Lesser Antilles, but its number of speakers is declining in Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. While the islands of Dominica and Saint Lucia are officially English-speaking, there are efforts in both countries to preserve the use of Antillean Creole, as well as in Trinidad & Tobago and its neighbour Venezuela. In recent decades, it has gone from being seen as a sign of lower socio-economic status, banned in school playgrounds, to a mark of national pride.
Since the 1970s there has also been a literary revival of Creole in the French-speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles, with writers such as Raphaël Confiant and Monchoachi employing the language. Edouard Glissant has written theoretically and poetically about its significance and its history.
Dominican, Grenadian, Trinidadian and Venezuelan speakers of Antillean Creole call the language Patois. Antillean Creole is spoken, to varying degrees, in Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Îles des Saintes, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy (St. Barts), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela (mainly in Macuro, Güiria and El Callao). Antillean Creole has approximately 1 million speakers.
It is a means of communication for migrant populations travelling between neighbouring English- and French-speaking territories.
Antillean Kwéyòl was born out of the slavery era, when different tribes from Africa were assigned to the same slavery plantations in the French Antilles; it was a time when the French of their slave masters and their native tongues were somewhat useless as a method of communication since they themselves spoke different tribal languages. As a result, they were forced to develop a new form of communication that they could use to convey messages to each other by relying on what they heard from their colonial masters and their fellow tribesmen. Sporadically (at irregular intervals), they would use words they thought they heard their colonial masters speak and combine them with their African lexis (expressions) and sentence structure; thus, new words were wrought (fashioned) and given meaning. Gradually, this new method of communication amongst the slaves spread summarily across the regions of the Caribbean. This “Creole” language, which is French for indigenous, progressively grew into a more recognizable phraseology (language).
- Good morning-Bonjou /bonzu/.
- Please-Souplé /su plɛ/.
- Thank you-Mèsi /mɛsi/.
- Excuse me-eskizé mwen.
- Rain is falling-Lapli ka tonbé / Lapli ap tonbe (Haitian).
- Today is a nice/beautiful day-Jodi-a sé an bel jounin / yon bel jou Jodi-a bel.
- How are you/how are you keeping-Ka ou fè? (Guadeloupe) / Sa ou fè (Martinique) Sa k ap fet (Haitian).
- Anne is my sister/mother/wife-Ann sé sè/manman/madanm (an) mwen
- Andy is my brother/father/husband-Andy sé fwè/papa/mari (an) mwen
- He is going to the beach-I ka alé bodlanmè-a/laplaj
Text Sample 
Below is a sample of St. Lucian Creole French taken from a folktale.
Pwenmyé ki pasé sé Konpè Kochon. I di, "Konpè Lapen, sa ou ka fè la?"
Konpè Lapen di'y, "Dé ti twou yanm ng'a (=mwen ka) fouyé bay ich mwen pou mwen bay ich mwen manjé."
Konpè Kochon di, "Mé, Konpè, ou kouyon, wi! Ou vlé di mwen sa kay fè yanm?"
An inaccurate English translation from the same source:
First to pass was Konpè Kochon (Mister Pig). He said, "Konpè Lapen (Mister Rabbit), what are you doing there?"
Konpè Lapen told him, "I am digging a few holes to plant yams to feed my children."
Konpè Kochon said, "But, Konpè, you're too foolish! You mean to tell me you can grow yams there?"
- Ethnologue codes Guadeloupean Creole French (spoken in Guadeloupe and Martinique) and Saint Lucian Creole French (spoken in Dominica and Saint Lucia) distinctly, with the respective ISO 639-3 codes: gcf and acf. However, it notes that their rate of comprehension is 90%, which would qualify them as dialects of a single language.
- Guadeloupean Creole at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
Saint Lucian / Dominican Creole at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
San Miguel Creole French (Panama) at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Guilbault, Jocelyne (1993). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. University of Chicago Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-226-31041-1. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Languages of Dominica. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, SIL International, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.
- Konpè Lapen mandé on favè = Konpè Lapen asks a favor: a Saint Lucian folk tale. 1985. Vieux-Fort, Saint Lucia: SIL. 10 p.
- Antillean Creole Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh list appendix)