A Creole language comes from a mixture of various different languages. The language is stable and natural and has a fully developed grammar and vocabulary system. Nearly one hundred Creoles have developed from 1500, most of which are based on European languages including Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.
A brief overview
A Creole develops from a pidgin language which, after it was developed by adults, is adopted by their children as an indigenous language. This process is called nativization. Most of the currently known Creoles were developed in the late 500s due to European colonization. Most of the Creoles that have taken root in the European colonies are now extinct due to stigma. The academic and political changes in recent years have led to the improvement of Creole status. Many Creoles have also achieved semi-official or official status in specific political territories. Some scholars have pointed out that pidgin and Creole arise independently of one another.
The origin of the word Creole can be traced back to the Latin word “create” which means to produce or create. The particular meaning of the word arose in the 16th and 17th centuries as the vast expansion of European maritime trade and power led to the creation of European colonies. The words crioulo and criollo were initially qualifications used to differentiate the individuals of an ethnic group grown locally from those people who immigrated as adults to the Portuguese and Spanish colonies. The terms and their various derivatives were subsequently adopted as the name of the many different ethnic groups that were born from the immigrant communities. The term “Creole language” was initially used to refer to the languages of any Creole society.
Geographical distribution of Creole languages
European colonial business models have facilitated the development of Creoles of European origin in the coastal regions of the equatorial world, including West Africa, Southeast Asia, the Americas and Goa in western India. Although most of those languages are extinct, some are still in use in Australia, the eastern and northern coasts of South America, the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The Creole languages of the Indian Ocean also have elements of Malagasy language and probably other Asian languages. The Creole Atlantic languages have African and Amerindian elements. Some Creoles like Sango and Nubi are based on non-European languages.
Examples of Creole languages
Jamaican Creole arose in the 17th century, when the central and western African enslaved people learned and later nativized the varant of the English language spoken by their slavers, namely Hiberno-English, British English and Scottish. The language, also called Jamaican Patois, has more than three million speakers and is the language spoken in Jamaica. The Krio language is used by 97% of the population of Sierra Leone. The language is indigenous to Krios, which was a society of almost descendants of 300,000 former slaves freed from Britain, the West Indies and the United States. The language has been adopted as a second language by the rest of the population of different native tribes. Krio has yet to obtain official status in Sierra Leone.