Antillean Creole

Antillean Creole
Antillean Creole
Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patwa
Spoken in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy - all French Antilles, Dominica, Saint Lucia.
Native speakers 1,205,585[1]  (date missing)
Language family
French Creole
  • Antillean Creoles
    • Antillean Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3 either:
gcf – Guadeloupean Creole French
acf – Saint Lucian Creole French

51-AAC-cc (varieties:

51-AAC-cca to -cck)

Antillean Creole is a creole language with a vocabulary based on French. It is spoken primarily in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and vocabulary also include elements of Carib and African languages. Antillean Creole is related to Haitian Creole, but has a number of distinctive features; they are mutually intelligible. The language was formerly more widely spoken in the Lesser Antilles, but it has mostly vanished from Tobago and its number of speakers is declining in Grenada. While the islands of Dominica and Saint Lucia are officially English-speaking, there are efforts in both countries to preserve the use of Antillean Creole. In recent decades, it has gone from being seen as a sign of lower socio-economic status, banned in school playgrounds,[2] to a mark of national pride.

Since the 1970s there has also been a literary revival of Creole in the French-speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles, with writers such as Edouard Glissant and Raphaël Confiant employing the language.

Dominican speakers of Antillean Creole call the language patois.[3] Antillean Creole is spoken, to varying degrees, in Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy (St. Barts), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago. Antillean Creole has approximately 1 million speakers.
It is a means of communication for migrant populations traveling between neighbouring English- and French-speaking islands.



Road sign in residential area in Guadeloupe. Slow down. Children are playing here.
  • Good morning-Bonjou /bonzu/.
  • Please-Souplé /su plɛ/.
  • Thank you-Mèsi /mɛsi/.
  • Excuse me-eskizé mwen.
  • Rain is falling-Lapli ka tonbé / Lapli ap tonbe (Haitian).
  • Today is a nice/beautiful day-Jodi-a sé an / yon bel jou Jodi-a bel.
  • How are you/how are you keeping-Ka ou fè? (Guadeloupe) / Sa ou fè (Martinique) Sa k ap fet (Haitian).
  • Anne is my sister/mother/wife-Ann sé sè/manman/madanm (an) mwen
  • Andy is my brother/father/husband-Andy sé fwè/papa/mari (an) mwen
  • He is going to the beach-I ka alé bodlanmè-a/laplaj

Text Sample

Below is a sample of St. Lucian Creole French taken from a folktale.[4]

Pwenmyé ki pasé sé Konpè Kochon. I di, "Konpè Lapen, sa ou ka fè la?"

Konpè Lapen di'y, "Dé ti twou yanm ng'a (=mwen ka) fouyé bay ich mwen pou mwen bay ich mwen manjé."

Konpè Kochon di, "Mé, Konpè, ou kouyon, wi! Ou vlé di mwen sa kay fè yanm?"

An English translation from the same source:

First to pass was Konpè Kochon (Mister Pig). He said, "Konpè Lapen (Mister Rabbit), what are you doing there?"

Konpè Lapen told him, "I am digging a few holes to plant yams to feed my children."

Konpè Kochon said, "But, Konpè, you're too foolish! You mean to tell me you can grow yams there?"


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  1. ^ [1] [2]. Ethnologue codes Guadeloupean Creole French (spoken in Guadeloupe and Martinique) and Saint Lucian Creole French (spoken in Dominica and Saint Lucia) distinctly, with the respective ISO 639-3 codes: gcf and acf. However, it notes that their rate of comprehension is 90%, which would qualify them as dialects of a single language.
  2. ^ Guilbault, Jocelyne (1993). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. University of Chicago Press. p. 12. ISBN 0226310418, 9780226310411. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  3. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Languages of Dominica. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, SIL International, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.
  4. ^ Konpè Lapen mandé on favè = Konpè Lapen asks a favor: a Saint Lucian folk tale. 1985.‭ Vieux-Fort, Saint Lucia: SIL. 10 p.

External links

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