English-based creole languages

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

Name Country Number of speakers[4] Notes


Western Caribbean

Bahamian Creole  Bahamas 330,000 (2018)
Turks and Caicos Creole English  Turks and Caicos 34,000 (2019)
Jamaican Patois  Jamaica 3,000,000 (2001)
Belizean Creole  Belize 170,000 (2014)
Miskito Coast Creole  Nicaragua 18,000 (2009) Dialect: Rama Cay Creole
Limonese Creole  Costa Rica 55,000 (2013) Dialect of Jamaican Patois
Bocas del Toro Creole  Panama 270,000 (2000) Dialect of Jamaican Patois
San Andrés–Providencia Creole  Colombia 12,000 (1981)

Eastern Caribbean

Virgin Islands Creole  US Virgin Islands

 British Virgin Islands

 Sint Maarten


 Sint Eustatius


90,000 (2019)
Anguillan Creole  Anguilla 12,000 (2001) Dialect of Leeward Caribbean English Creole
Antiguan Creole  Antigua and Barbuda 83,000 (2019) Dialect of Leeward Caribbean English Creole
Saint Kitts Creole  Saint Kitts and Nevis 51,000 (2015) Dialect of Leeward Caribbean English Creole
Montserrat Creole  Montserrat 5,100 (2020) Dialect of Leeward Caribbean English Creole
Vincentian Creole  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 110,000 (2016)
Grenadian Creole  Grenada 110,000 (2020)
Tobagonian Creole  Trinidad and Tobago 300,000 (2011)
Trinidadian Creole  Trinidad and Tobago 1,000,000 (2011)
Bajan Creole  Barbados 260,000 (2018)
Guyanese Creole  Guyana 720,000 (2021)
Sranan Tongo  Suriname 670,000 (2016–2018) Including 150,000 L2 users
Saramaccan  Suriname 35,000 (2018)
Ndyuka  Suriname 68,000 (2018) Dialects: Aluku, Paramaccan
Kwinti  Suriname 250 (2018)

North American Mainland

Gullah (Afro-Seminole Creole) South Carolina,  United States 390 (2015) Ethnic population: 250,000

West Africa

Krio  Sierra Leone 8,200,000 (2019) Including 7,400,000 L2 speakers
Kreyol  Liberia 5,100,000 (2015) Including 5,000,000 L2 speakers
Ghanaian Pidgin  Ghana 5,000,000 (2011)
Nigerian Pidgin  Nigeria 120,000,000 Including 120,000,000 L2 users
Cameroonian Pidgin  Cameroon 12,000,000 (2017)
Equatorial Guinean Pidgin  Equatorial Guinea 200,000 (2020) Including 190,000 L2 users (2020)


Hawaiian Pidgin[5] Hawaii,  United States 1,000,000 (2012) Including 400,000 L2 users
Ngatikese Creole  Micronesia 700 (1983)
Tok Pisin  Papua New Guinea 4,100,000 Including 4,000,000 L2 users (2001)
Pijin  Solomon Islands 560,000 (2012–2019) 530,000 L2 users (1999)
Bislama  Vanuatu 13,000 (2011)
Pitcairn-Norfolk  Pitcairn

 Norfolk Island

1,800 Almost no L2 users. Has been classified as an Atlantic Creole based on internal structure.[6]
Australian Kriol  Australia 17,000 Including 10,000 L2 users (1991)
Torres Strait Creole  Australia 6,200 (2016)
Bonin English  Japan Possibly 1,000–2,000 (2004)
Singlish  Singapore 2,100,000
Manglish  Malaysia 10,000,000



Not strictly creoles, but sometimes called thus:

See also


  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. Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2022). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (25th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  5. Holm, John A. (2000). An introduction to pidgin and creoles. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780521584609.
  6. Avram, Andrei (2003). "Pitkern and Norfolk revisited". English Today. 19 (1): 44–49. doi:10.1017/S0266078403003092. S2CID 144835575.

Further reading

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