Guinea-Bissau Creole

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Guinea-Bissau Creole
guinensi, kriyol, purtuguis’kriolo’
Native toGuinea-Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia
Native speakers
1.0[1] (2006–2007)[2]
L2 speakers: 600,000 in Guinea-Bissau (no date)[3]
Portuguese Creole
  • Afro-Portuguese Creole
    • Upper Guinea Creole
      • Guinea-Bissau Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3pov

Guinea-Bissau Creole is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in Guinea Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia. It is also called by its native speakers as guinensi,[5] kriyol,[6] or portuguis.

It is a Portuguese-based creole language, closely related to Cape Verdean creole language. Guinea-Bissau Creole is spoken as a first creole language by approximately 15% (190,000) of Bissau-Guineans[2] and as a second creole language by approximately 50%, as of some time before 1992,.[3]

A dialect of Guinea-Bissau Creole is also spoken in southern Senegal, mainly in the region of Casamance, a former Portuguese colony, which is known as Portuguis Creole or Casamance Creole. Creole is the majority language of the inhabitants of the Casamance region and is used as a creole language of commerce.[7]

Guinea-Bissau Creole is still expanding but with growing interference from Portuguese (decreolization): due to television, literacy, prestige and emigration to Portugal, and the African languages: through migration of speakers of native African languages to the main urban centres where the creole is prevalent. Standard Portuguese is the official language of Guinea-Bissau, but Guinea-Bissau Creole is the creole language of trade, informal literature and entertainment. It is not used in news media, parliament, public services and educational programming.[8]


Upper Guinea creoles are the oldest Portuguese-based creoles, first appearing around the Portuguese settlements along the northwest coast of Africa. Guinea-Bissau Creole is therefore among the first Portuguese Creoles. Portuguese merchants and settlers started to mix with locals almost immediately; this became a rule among Portuguese explorers and the main reason for the large number of Portuguese Creoles throughout the world. A small body of settlers called lançados ("the thrown out ones"), contributed to the spread of the Portuguese language and influence by being the intermediaries between the Portuguese and natives.

There are three main dialects of this Creole in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal:

  • Bissau and Bolama
  • Bafata
  • Cacheu–Ziguinchor

The Creole's substrate language is the language of the local peoples: Mandingas, Manjacos, Pepéis and others, but most of the lexicon (around 80%) comes from Portuguese.

The Portuguese-based dialect of Casamance, known as Portuguis Creole or Casamance Creole, similar to the one of Cacheu (Guinea-Bissau) has some influence of French. Fijus di Terra (Filhos da Terra, English: Children of the Land) and Fijus di Fidalgu (Port. Filhos de Fidalgo, Eng. Children of Nobles) speak it, all of them are known, locally, as Purtuguis because they adopt European habits, are Catholics and speak a Creole. They are descendants of Portuguese men and African women. Most of them have Portuguese surnames, such as da Silva, Carvalho or Fonseca. The former Kingdom of Casamance made a friendship alliance with the Portuguese and the local king adopted European lifestyle and there were Portuguese in his court. In 1899, the city was ceded to France and in the middle of the 20th century, the language spread to the surrounding area. After Senegal's independence from France, the Creole people were seen as friends of the French, and discrimination by the more numerous northern Wolof speaking community started, which has caused Casamance to struggle for independence since 1982. Today, although they continue to struggle, the movement is more placid and learning Portuguese is popular in Casamance because they see it has a link to their past. It is also learned across Senegal since the independence of the country from France.[7] In Senegal, the Creole is the first language of at least 46,500 people (1998), it is mainly spoken in Ziguinchor but there are also speakers in other Casamance cities and in The Gambia. In 2008, Senegal was admitted as an observer country of the Portuguese-speaking commonwealth in the VII CPLP Summit.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Tudu pekaduris ta padidu libri i igual na balur suma na diritus. Suma e dadu kapasidadi di pensa, e tene tambi konsiensia, e dibi di trata nutru suma ermons.[9]


  1. ^ The remainder of the population listed in Ethnologue 18 appears to be Cape Verdean Creole, as per Ethnologue 12.
  2. ^ a b Guinea-Bissau Creole at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ a b Upper Guinea Crioulo at Ethnologue (12th ed., 1992).
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Upper Guinea Crioulo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ Scantamburlo, Luigi. (2019). Dicionário do Guineense (2a. ed.). Lisboa: Colibri. ISBN 9789896898106. OCLC 1091114509.
  6. ^ Kihm, Alain. (1994). Kriyol syntax : the Portuguese-based Creole language of Guinea-Bissau. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins. ISBN 9789027276674. OCLC 772227357.
  7. ^ a b José Horta (12–25 April 2006). "A Língua Portuguesa no Senegal" [Portuguese language in Senegal] (in Portuguese). Instituto Camões. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Situação Sociolinguística da Guiné-bissau" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 8, 2014.
  9. ^ "OHCHR |".