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 globally are estimated to speak an English-based creole. Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Suriname 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).

List of languages


Name Country Number of speakers[4] Notes

Western Caribbean[edit]

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[edit]

Virgin Islands Creole 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 America[edit]

Gullah  United States 390 (2015) Ethnic population: 250,000
Afro-Seminole Creole 200 (1990)[10][11][a] Dialect of the Gullah language

West Africa[edit]

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)


Name Country Number of speakers[4] Notes
Hawaiian Pidgin[b] 600,000 (2015) Including 400,000 L2 users[14][15][16][17]
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 1,800 Almost no L2 users. Has been classified as an Atlantic creole based on internal structure.[18]
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)[citation needed] Sometimes considered a mixed language[19]
Singlish  Singapore 2,100,000[citation needed]
Manglish  Malaysia 10,000,000[citation needed]



Not strictly creoles, but sometimes called thus:

See also


  1. ^ According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Black Seminoles have also been known as Seminole Maroons or Seminole Freedmen and were a group of free blacks and runaway slaves who joined with a group of Native Americans in Florida after the Spanish abolished slavery there in 1793.[12]
  2. ^ Although Hawaii is part of the United States, Hawaiian Pidgin is mostly considered a Pacific rather than Atlantic creole language, which is further discussed in John Holm's An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles.[13]


  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. ^ a b Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2022). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (25th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  5. ^ "Virgin Islands English Creole". Ethnologue. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  6. ^ Villanueva Feliciano, Orville Omar. 2009. A Contrastive analysis of English Influences on the Lexicon of Puerto Rican Spanish in Puerto Rico and St. Croix
  7. ^ "Virgin Islands Creole English". Find a Bible. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  8. ^ Staff Consortium. "What Does the USVI and Puerto Rico Have in Common? A Summary of a Stimulating Discussion on Self-Determination in the Virgin Islands". The Virgin Islands Consortium. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  9. ^ Sprawe, Gilbert A. "About Man Betta Man, Fission and Fusion, and Creole, Calypso and Cultural Survival in the Virgin Islands" (PDF). Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Afro-Seminole Creole". Ethnologue. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Creoles in Texas – 'The Afro-Seminoles'." Kreol Magazine. March 28, 2014. Accessed April 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Kuiper, Kathleen. "Black Seminoles." In: Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed April 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Holm, John A. (2000). An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge University Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780521584609.
  14. ^ Sasaoka, Kyle (2019). "Toward a writing system for Hawai'i Creole". ScholarSpace.
  15. ^ Velupillai, Viveka (2013). "Hawai'i Creole". In Michaelis, Susanne Maria; Maurer, Philippe; Haspelmath, Martin; Huber, Magnus (eds.). The Survey of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 252–261. ISBN 978-0-19-969140-1.
  16. ^ "Hawai'i Pidgin". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  17. ^ Velupillai, Viveka (2013), "Hawai'i Creole structure dataset", Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online, Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, retrieved 2021-08-20
  18. ^ Avram, Andrei (2003). "Pitkern and Norfolk revisited". English Today. 19 (1): 44–49. doi:10.1017/S0266078403003092. S2CID 144835575.
  19. ^ Long, Daniel (2006). "English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands". American Speech. Publication of the American Dialect Society, 91. 81 (5). American Dialect Society (Duke University Press). ISBN 978-0-8223-6671-3.

Further reading