French Guianese Creole

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French Guianese Creole
Kriyòl gwiyannen,[1] kréyòl (gwiyanè) [2] [3] [4]
Native toFrench Guiana
Native speakers
134,000 (2019)[5]
French Creole
  • French Guianese Creole
Official status
Official language in
French Guiana
Language codes
ISO 639-3gcr
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 an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
French Guiana, where French Guianese Creole originates.

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 Brazil. 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/.

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

Possessive determiners are placed before the noun:

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


French Guianese Creole phrases making the shape of French Guiana
French Guianese Creole (IPA) Metropolitan French English
Bonswè /bõswɛ/ Bonsoir Good evening
Souplé /suːple/ S'il vous plaît Please
Mèsi /mɛsi/ Merci Thank you
Mo /mo/ Moi, me, je Me, I
To /to/ Toi, te, tu You
I, L, Li /i, l, li/ Lui, le, la He, She, Him, Her, It
Roun /ʁuːn/ Un, une One
Eskizé mo /ɛskize mo/ Excusez-moi Excuse me, pardon me
Lapli ka tonbé /laˈpliː ka tõbe/ 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?
Mari a mo manman /maʁi a mo mãˈmã/ Marie est ma mère Marie is my mother
Rodolf a to frè /ʁodolf a to frɛ/ Rodolphe est ton frère Rudolph 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


  1. ^ (in French) How to write French Guianese Creole in the language, with a lexicon of French Guianese words.
  2. ^ Honorien, Louis. 2009. "La Langue kréyol" in Langues de Guyane. Odile Renault-Lescure & Laurence Goury (eds). IRD Éditions: Marseille.
  3. ^ Armande-Lapierre, Odile & Annie Robinson. 2004. Zété kréyòl. Matoury: Ibis Rouge Éditions: Marseille.
  4. ^ Pfänder, Stefan. 2013. "Guyanais". in The Survey of Pidgin & Creole Languages, Volume II: Portuguese-based, Spanish-based, and French-based Languages . London: Oxford UP.
  5. ^ French Guianese Creole at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon