English-based creole languages

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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.[1] 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 estimated globally speak some form of 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[2][3] 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[edit]

Name Country Number of speakers[4] Notes


Western Caribbean[edit]

Bahamian Creole  Bahamas 400,000 (2017)
Turks and Caicos Creole English  Turks and Caicos 10,700 (1995)
Jamaican Patois  Jamaica 2,670,000 (2001)~3,035,000
Belizean Creole  Belize L1 Users: 170,000 (2014) L2 Users: 300,000 (2014)
Miskito Coast Creole  Nicaragua 30,000 (2001) Dialect: Rama Cay Creole
Limonese Creole  Costa Rica 55,500 (1986)
Bocas del Toro Creole  Panama 268,000 (2000)
San Andrés–Providencia Creole  Colombia 33,000 (1995)

Eastern Caribbean[edit]

Virgin Islands Creole  US Virgin Islands

 British Virgin Islands

 Sint Maarten


 Sint Eustatius


52,300 (1980)~76,500
Anguillan Creole  Anguilla 11,500 (2001)
Antiguan Creole  Antigua and Barbuda 67,000 (2001)~147,520
Saint Kitts Creole  Saint Kitts and Nevis 39,000 (1998)
Montserrat Creole  Montserrat 3,820 (2011)
Vincentian Creole  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 138,000 (1989)
Grenadian Creole  Grenada 89,200 (2001)
Tobagonian Creole  Trinidad and Tobago 300,000 (2011)
Trinidadian Creole  Trinidad and Tobago 1,000,000 (2011)
Bajan Creole  Barbados 256,000 (1999)
Guyanese Creole  Guyana 650,000~682,000
Sranan Tongo  Suriname L1 users: 67,300 (2013)~410,700 L2 users: 300,000
Saramaccan  Suriname 14,100 (2013)~17,100
Ndyuka  Suriname 21,700 (2013)~39,700. Dialects: Aluku, Paramaccan
Kwinti  Suriname 200 (2005)

United States[edit]

Gullah (Afro-Seminole Creole)  United States 350 (2010) Ethnic population: 250,000

West Africa[edit]

Krio  Sierra Leone L1 users: 830,000 (2022)[5][6] L2 users: 7,470,000 (2022)[5][7]
Kreyol  Liberia 1,500,000 (L2; 1984)
Ghanaian Pidgin  Ghana 5,000,000 (2011) L2 users: 2,000 (1990)
Nigerian Pidgin  Nigeria 30,000,000 (2005)
Cameroonian Pidgin  Cameroon 2,000,000 (L2; 1989)
Equatorial Guinean Pidgin  Equatorial Guinea 6,000 (2011) L2 users: 70,000 (2011)


Hawaiian Pidgin  Hawaii 600,000 (2012) 100,000 on the US mainland. L2 users: 400,000
Ngatikese Creole  Micronesia 700
Tok Pisin  Papua New Guinea 122,000 (2004) L2 users: 9,000,000 (likely as of 2020)
Pijin  Solomon Islands 24,400 (1999) L2 users: 307,000 (1999)
Bislama  Vanuatu 10,000 (2011) L2 users: 200,000
Pitcairn-Norfolk  Pitcairn

 Norfolk Island

430 (2011)~532 Almost no L2 users. Has been classified as an Atlantic Creole based on internal structure.[8]
Australian Kriol  Australia 4,200 (2006) L2 users: 10,000 (1991)
Torres Strait Creole  Australia 6,040 (2006)
Bonin English  Japan Possibly 1,000–2,000 (2004)
Singlish  Singapore 2,000,000–3,000,000
Manglish  Malaysia 3,000,000-5,000,000



Not strictly creoles, but sometimes called thus:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Velupillai, Viveka (2015). Pidgins, Creoles and Mixed Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 519. ISBN 978-90-272-5272-2.
  2. ^ Hancock, I. F. (1969). "A provisional comparison of the English-based Atlantic creoles". African Language Review. 8: 7–72.
  3. ^ Gilman, Charles (1978). "A Comparison of Jamaican Creole and Cameroon Pidgin English". English Studies. 59: 57–65. doi:10.1080/00138387808597871.
  4. ^ Simons, Gary F; Fennig, Charles D, eds. (2017). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (20th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  5. ^ a b "CIA World Factbook (2022)". www.cia.gov.
  6. ^ "Sierra Leone Population (LIVE)". www.worldometers.info.
  7. ^ "Translators without borders: Language data for Sierra Leone". www.translatorswithoutborders.org.
  8. ^ Avram, Andrei (2003). "Pitkern and Norfolk revisited". English Today. 19 (1): 44–49. doi:10.1017/S0266078403003092. S2CID 144835575.

Further reading[edit]

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