French Guianese Creole

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French Guianese Creole
Kriyòl Gwiyannen [1]
Native toFrench Guiana
Native speakers
250,000–300,000 (2016)
French Creole
  • French Guianese Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3gcr
Glottologguia1246[2]
Linguasphere51-AAC-cd (varieties: 51-AAC-cda to -cdd)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
French Guiana, where French Guianan Creole originates.

French Guianese Creole (Creole by its speakers, also called variously Guianese French Creole, Guyanais (in both English and French), Guyanese French Creole) is a French-based creole language spoken in French Guiana, and to a lesser degree, in Suriname and Guyana. It resembles Antillean Creole, but there are some lexical and grammatical differences between them. Antilleans can generally understand French Guianese Creole, though the notable differences between the French creole of French Guiana and those of the rest of the Atlantic may cause 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 Guyana who continue to speak the language.

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

History[edit]

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 a great 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/.

Vocabulary Pronunciation in French In Guianan Creole Pronunciation in English
Riz Ri Douri Rice
Dormir Dormir Dronmi Sleep

Possessive determiners are placed before the noun:

In French Ma maison Leurs enfants Sa femme
In French Guianese Creole Mo kaz Yé timoun So fanm/So madanm
In English My house Their children His/her wife

Orthography and phonology[edit]

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 diagraph, 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 purposes.

Examples[edit]

French Guianese Creole (IPA) Metropolitan French English
Bonswè /bonswɛ/ Bonsoir Good evening
Souplé /suːplɛ/ S'il vous plaît Please
Mési /mɛsi/ Merci Thank you
Mo /mo/ Moi, me, je Me, I
To /to/ Toi, te, tu You
Li /li/ Lui, le, la Him, her
Roun /ruːn/ Un, une One
Eskizé mo /ɛskize mo/ Excusez-moi Excuse me, pardon me
Lapli ka tonbé /laˈpliː ka tombɛ/ Il pleut It's raining
Jod-la a roun bèl jou /ʒodˈla a ruːn bel ʒu/ Aujourd'hui, il fait beau Today is a beautiful day
A kouman to fika? /a kumã to fika/ (Comment) ça va? How are you?
Ann a mo manman /an a mo ˈmãmã/ Anne est ma mère Anne is my mother
Andy a to frè /andi a to frɛ/ Andy est ton frère Andy is your brother
I ka alé laplaj /i kaːle laˈplaʒ/ Il va à la plage He's going to the beach
Mo pa mélé /mo pa mele/ Je m'en moque I don't care

References[edit]

  1. ^ (in French) How to write French Guianese Creole in the language, with a lexicon of French Guianese words.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Guianese Creole French". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.