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960699.  Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:17 pm Reply with quote

Krio is an English-based creole language in the Sierra Leone Peninsula. It is especially interesting among pigins and creoles, in that it is the product of native languages, and already formed creoles from resettled slaves. However, on a more specific level, there are differing theories of its origins. Although Ian Hancock believes that much of Krio developed around English settlements on the Guinea Coast in the 1600s, Magnus Huber thinks that it developed from the creoles spoken by successive waves of relocated slaves arrived in the Sierra Leone Peninsula (SLP) combined with native languages and creoles developed in Africa. Some of the main groups were2:

The Nova Scotians:
Some slaves, freed because of loyalty to the British during the American Revolutionary War, were moved to Nova Scotia and then to the SLP, c. 1782-1797.2
The Gullahs:
West African slaves working on plantations in the American South developed a creole based mainly on English, but with intonation and idioms from West African languages. Gullah bears many similarities with Krio, and Dr. Ian Hancock suspects a “significant slave trade connection between Sierra Leone and the Gullah area.4”
The Maroons:
A group of Jamaican Maroons (escaped slaves) were sent to Nova Scotia in 1796 because of an unsuccessful riot. In 1800 they were moved to the SLP. Jamaican Creole is significantly similar to Krio.2
Other linguistic input:
When the slave trade was declared illegal in Britain, the British Navy began patrolling the West African waters, intercepting slavers, and returning the captives to West Africa. Most of the captives spoke one of the Kwa languages, especially Yoruba.2

Varieties of Krio:
There are several varieties of Krio, the main difference being the amount of English influence. As English is the official, and prestige language in Sierra Leone, the more Anglicized varieties are deemed desirable. Sadly, some people view it as an incorrect or “debased” form of English, but several Krio linguists have begun encouraging varieties of Krio that are not as influenced by English.2

Although there are three tones (“ ó ” high, “ò” and “ ô ” falling), but the only I cannot find any more information with a general internet search.5

1 Ethnologue
3 Huber, Magnus. Ghanaian Pidgin English in Its West African Context
4 The Gullah: Rice, Slavery, and the Sierra-Leone-American Connection
6. Burgess, Anthony. A Mouth Full of Air.

960715.  Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:17 pm Reply with quote

What a great first post! Welcome, wordish.
There are quite a few here who will be very interested.

960718.  Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:46 pm Reply with quote

Welcome wordish - that's an interesting post indeed.

960722.  Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:22 pm Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcomes!

960754.  Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:51 am Reply with quote

It certainly is interesting - posts about languages that I know little or nothing about always are!

Most Creole languages of Africa are, like Krio, based on English. The grammar shows a tendency to adopt features from local languages over time, but the basic structures are those of English.

Vocabulary is more complicated. There has been a lot of work put into the question of how a creole community "decides" when to borrow from English and when to borrow from indigenous languages.

That work is incomplete and different researchers have contradicted each other to an alarming extent, but a couple of basic principles are clear - greetings and terms for immediate family usually come from indigenous languages, while neologisms are usually from English.

So for instance, Krio uses kar for a car, but uses words from local languages for the flora and fauna of the area where it is spoken. Unusually, its words for mother and father are from Europe (mama and papa), although its word for a pretty girl is local. (Oh yes it is! That that word happens to be titi is but a coincidence!)

There are a couple of African creoles which are based on indigeous languages. kiTuba of the Congos is one (with its more recent vocabulary mostly from French and Swahili), and Sängö of the Central African Republic is another (again, much of the recent vocabulary is French). This is easy to explain as regards Sängö, since it existed before European colonization of the region; quite why kiTuba evolved the way that it did is a bit of a mystery.

Whether Swahili is itself a creole is the sort of topic that you could raise if you wanted to start a fight at a linguistics conference! Some assert that it's an Arabic-based creole with lots of Bantu words, and others that it's a Bantu-language-based creole with lots of Arabic words. Others assert - and this is the mainstream opinion - that it's a Bantu language (not a creole at all), but with an abnormally large proportion of loan words (notably from Arabic, and more recently also from English and French).

Africa also has Arabic and Portuguese based creoles, although - and perhaps surprisingly - there were only ever a couple based on French, and they are by now extinct.

961033.  Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:26 pm Reply with quote

Wow, thanks for the amazing reply! On the subject of how a creole decides from which language to take vocab from for what (surely I could have constructed that sentence better), I would imagine it has to do with super/substratum languages? More political words coming from the superstratum, etc. Although there is that thing about "mama" and "papa," isn't there. I can't pretend to know much about this. I just find it fascinating.

The only thing I've heard about Swahili is an offhand remark from my highschool history text, saying that it was "a language with Bantu grammar and Arabic vocabulary." If I ever need to make a quick getaway at a linguistics conference, I'll have to remember to mention this!

961209.  Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:35 pm Reply with quote

Just hope that, as you run away, they don't shout after you "What about Maltese?"!

When all is said and done, Maltese is a divergent dialect of Arabic. The grammar is mostly Arabic, except that Romance loanwords tend to have Italianate -i plurals (even if they are feminine), and there's a bit of a trend towards Englishate -s plurals. The common verbs are all Arabic, but many of the common nouns are Sicilian.

Oh, and a person who would swear blind that she is speaking Maltese is actually speaking English about 10% of the time, without even knowing that she is doing it.

All the usual "rules" would suggest that Maltese should be moribund by now, because the population would have switched to English - albeit an English with lots of Arabic and Italian loanwords.

But it isn't. While nearly all Maltesers can speak English, over 90% say that Maltese is their first language, and that it is their usual language at home. (Only about 70% say that Maltese is their usual language at work. That's because the financial services sector, the civil service, and the grammar schools and the university are mostly English-speaking.)

The Maltese bus network used to be run by a co-operative of several hundred drivers who owned their own buses, some of them seventy years old and desperately unroadworthy, and agreed among themselves which routes each would operate.

Malta eventually decided that this system had had its day, and invited proper bus companies to tender for the network. That contest was won by Arriva, a British company, and it started to run the buses in 2011.

Why do I digress thus? Because a lot of the old self-employed drivers initally refused to apply for Arriva's jobs, and so the company found itself with a serious shortage of drivers. It resolved that problem by seconding drivers from England - and there was absolute outrage among the Maltese public that the new operator was thus using drivers who could not speak Maltese.

961240.  Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:04 pm Reply with quote

It looks to me as if the name Krio is a phonetic rendering of 'creole' as spoken by a southern english speaker, with that toothless 'l' sound.


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