English-based creole languages

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An English-based creole language (often shortened to English creole) is a creole language derived from the English language – i.e. for which English is the lexifier. 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).


It is disputed to what extent the various English-based creoles of the world share a common origin. The monogenesis hypothesis (Hancock 1969, Gilman 1978) 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).




Lower Guinea


A Ndyuka letter written in the Afaka syllabary


South East Asian


  • Australian Kriol: Also known as Roper River Creole, has become the major non-English language among Aboriginal Australians with over 10,000 first language speakers.
  • Related English-based creoles Bislama, spoken in Vanuatu; Pijin, in the Solomon Islands; Torres Strait Creole, spoken by Torres Straits Islanders, neighbouring Papuans (formerly as far as Port Moresby) and Cape York Peninsular in Australia. Tok Pisin, spoken throughout Papua New Guinea, has English as its superstrate language and various Papuan languages providing grammatical and lexical input.
  • Bonin English: A creole of the Bonin Islands with strong Japanese influence.
  • Pitkern, spoken by the inhabitants of the Pitcairn Islands and Pitcairnese migrants to Norfolk Island, formed from an 18th-century dialect of English with 5% of its vocabulary taken from the Tahitian language.
  • Ngatikese Creole: Also called Ngatik Men's creole, is a creole spoken by the inhabitants of Sapwuahfik (formerly Ngatik) atoll of Pohnpei. It developed as a result of the 1837 Ngatik Massacre during which the island's male population was wiped out by the crew of Australian captain C.H. Hart and Pohnpeian warriors. Some of the Europeans and Pohnpeians settled and repopulated the island, taking the local women as wives. The island formed a new culture and language, a mixture of English and the Sapwuahfik dialect of Ponapean.


See also


  1. ^ Ethnologue Web site: Jamaican Creole
  2. ^ Ethnologue report for the English language
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