|150,000 (2013) |
Second language: over 200,000
Belize Kriol (also Kriol or Belizean Creole) is an English-based creole language closely related to Miskito Coastal Creole, Jamaican Patois, San Andrés-Providencia Creole, Bocas del Toro Creole, Colón Creole, Rio Abajo Creole and Limón Coastal Creole.
An English-based creole language is a creole language derived from the English language, for which English is the lexifier. 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 and Pacific.
Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-based creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora; it is spoken by the majority of Jamaicans as a native language. Patois developed in the 17th century, when slaves from West and Central Africa were exposed to, learned and nativized the vernacular and dialectal forms of English spoken by the slaveholders: British English, Scots and Hiberno-English. Jamaican Creole exhibits a gradation between more conservative creole forms that are not significantly mutually intelligible with English, and forms virtually identical to Standard English.
Bocas del Toro Patois, or Panamanian Patois English, is a dialect of Jamaican Patois spoken in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. Bocas del Toro Patois is a dialect of Jamaican Patois similar to Central American varieties such as Limón Coastal Patois. It does not have the status of an official language. It was pejoratively known as "guari-guari."
Population estimates are difficult; virtually all of the more than 70,000 Creoles in Belize speak Kriol. In the 2010 Belize Census, 25.9% claimed Creole ethnicity and 44.6% claimed to speak Kriol.Possibly as many as 85,000 Creoles have migrated to the United States and may or may not still speak the language. This puts the number at over 150,000. Kriol is the lingua franca of Belize and is the first language of some Garifunas, Mestizos, Maya, and other ethnic groups. It is a second language for most others in the country.
Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Belizean Creoles, also known as Kriols, are Creole descendants of Black Africans, enslaved and brought to Belize by English and Scottish log cutters, who were known as the Baymen. Over the years they have also intermarried with Miskito from Nicaragua, Jamaicans and other West Indians, Mestizos and East Indians, who were brought to Belize as indentured laborers. These varied peoples have all mixed to create this ethnic group.
A lingua franca, also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.
When the National Kriol Council began standardizing the orthography for Kriol, it decided to promote the spelling Kriol only for the language but to continue to use the spelling Creole to refer to the people in English.
An orthography is a set of conventions for writing a language. It includes norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation.
Belize Kriol is derived mainly from English. Its substrate languages are the Native American language Miskito, and the various West African and Bantu languages which were brought into the country by slaves. These include Akan, Efik, Ewe, Fula, Ga, Hausa, Igbo, Kikongo and Wolof.
Miskito is a Misumalpan language spoken by the Miskito people in northeastern Nicaragua, especially in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, and in eastern Honduras.
The Bantu languages technically the Narrow Bantu languages, as opposed to "Wide Bantu", a loosely defined categorization which includes other "Bantoid" languages, are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Akan is a Central Tano language that is the principal native language of the Akan people of Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of Ghana, by about 80% of the population, and among 41% of the population of Ivory Coast.
There are numerous theories as to how creole languages form. A language emerged from the contact of English landowners and their West African slaves to ensure basic communication. The Baymen first began to settle in the area of Belize City in the 1650s. Decker (2005:3)proposes that the creole spoken in Belize previous to 1786 was probably more like Jamaican than the Belize Kriol of today. By the Convention of London in 1786 the British were supposed to cease all logwood cutting operations along the Caribbean coast of Central America, except for the Belize settlement. Many of the settlers from the Miskito Coast moved to Belize, bringing their Miskito Coast Creole with them. The immigrants outnumbered the Baymen five to one. The local Kriol speech shifted to become something more like the Miskito Coast Creole.
The Baymen were the earliest European settlers along the Bay of Honduras in what eventually became the colony of British Honduras.
The Convention of London, also known as the Anglo-Spanish Convention, was an agreement negotiated between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain concerning the status of British settlements on the Mosquito Coast of Central America. It was signed on 14 July 1786.
Mískito Coast Creole or Nicaragua Creole English is an English-based creole language spoken in coastal Nicaraguan region of Mosquito Coast on the Caribbean Sea; its approximately 30,000 speakers are spread over a number of small villages. The region is today administratively separated into two autonomous regions: North Caribbean Coast and South Caribbean Coast. Mosquito is the nickname that is given to the region and earlier residents by early Europeans who visited and settled in the area. The term "Miskito" is now more commonly used to refer to both the people and the language.
Today, Belize Kriol is the first or second language of the majority of the country's inhabitants. Many of them speak standard English as well, and a rapid process of decreolization is going on. As such, a creole continuum exists and speakers are able to code-switch among various mesolect registers between the most basilect to the acrolect ("Mid-Atlantic") varieties. It should be noted that the acrolect, much like the basilect, is rarely heard.
Decreolization is a postulated phenomenon whereby over time a creole language reconverges with one of the standard languages from which it originally derived. First proposed by Keith Whinnom at the 1968 Mona conference, the concept has come under fire in recent years from such linguists as Derek Bickerton and John R. Rickford since at its inception it sought to overturn long-held elements of the theory of creole continua.
In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals, speakers of more than one language, sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.
A 1987 travel guide in the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported that Belize Kriol is “a language that teases but just escapes the comprehension of a native speaker of English.”
English taught in the schools of Belize is based on British English. However, this is often influenced by the teachers' Kriol speech. The 1999 Ministry of Education: School Effectiveness Report (p. 84) notes “Creole is spoken as the first language in most homes.” Kriol is “di stiki stiki paat” that holds Belize together. Belizean people speak English, Kriol, and often Spanish, while learning the English system of writing and reading in schools. It is a slightly different system of communication from the standard forms.
Kriol shares phonological similarities with many Caribbean English Creoles as well as to English, its superstrate language.Pidgin languages have a general tendency to simplify the phonology of a language in order to ensure successful communication. Many Creoles keep this tendency after creolization. Kriol is no exception in this point.
Kriol uses a high number of nasalized vowels, palatalizes non-labial stops and prenasalizes voiced stops. Consonant clusters are reduced at the end of words and many sylables are reduced to only a consonant and vowel.
1. Like most creole languages, Kriol has a tendency to an open syllabic structure, meaning there are many words ending in vowels. This feature is strengthened by its tendency to delete consonants at the end of words, especially when the preceding vowel is unstressed.
2. Nasalization is phonemic in Kriol, caused by the deletion of final nasal consonants. The nasal feature is kept, even if the consonant has been dropped.
3. Many Kriol speakers tend to palatalize the velar consonants /ɡ/ and /k/ preceding /ɑː/. Sometimes they also palatalize alveolar consonants, such as /t/, /d/, and /n/.[ in which context? ]
4. Like all other creoles, Kriol also has a tendency to reduce consonant clusters no matter where they occur. Final consonant clusters are almost always reduced by dropping the second consonant. Initial and medial occurrences are reduced much less consistently.
5. When /r/ occurs finally, it is always deleted. When it occurs in the middle of a word, it is often deleted leaving a residual vowel length.
6. Although its superstrate language, English, makes extensive use of dental fricatives (/θ/ /ð/), Belizean Kriol does not use them. It rather employs the alveolar stops /t/ and /d/. However, due to the ongoing process of decreolization, some speakers include such dental fricatives in their speech.
7. Unstressed initial vowels are often deleted in Kriol. Sometimes this can lead to a glottal stop instead.
8. Vowels tend to be alternated for the ones used in English, f.i. /bwɑi/ or /bwoi/ (boy) becomes /boi/, /ɑnɡri/ (angry) becomes /ænɡri/ and so on.
9. Stress is evenly distributed across syllables, meaning that the prosody of Kriol is different than its lexifier. It is reserved mainly for content words an appears to only have High and Low tones
|High long |
|Mid long |
|Low long |
Some of these sounds only appear as allophones of phonemes.
Kriol uses three voiced plosives (/b/ /d/ /ɡ/) and three voiceless plosives(/p/ /t/ /k/). The voiceless stops can also be aspirated. However, aspiration is not a constant feature, therefore the aspirated and non-aspirated forms are allophonic. The language employs three nasal consonants, (/m/ /n/ /ŋ/). It makes extensive use of fricatives and, both unvoiced (/f/ /s/ /ʂ/) and voiced (/v/ /z/ /ʐ/. Its two liquids, /l/ and /r/, are articulated alveo-palatally. The tongue is more lax here than in American English, its position is more similar to British English. Kriol's glides /w/, /j/, and /h/ are used extensively. Glottal stops occur rarely and inconsistently. Kriol makes use of eleven vowels; nine monophthongs, three diphthongs and schwa [ə]. The most frequently occurring diphthong, /ai/ is used in all regional varieties. Both /au/ and /oi/ can occur, but they are new additions and are viewed as a sign of decreolization. The same is perceived of four of the less productive monophthongs.
Unlike most creoles, Kriol has a standardized orthography.
Consonants: b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, sh, t, v, w, y, z, zh
|/a/||bak||"back of body"|
The symbol choices for lengthened vowels come from ways those vowels are spelled in English, not the International Phonetic Alphabet.There is a dictionary for Kriol with over 5000 entries, including sample sentences for each word.
The present tense verb is not marked overtly in Kriol. It also does not indicate number or person. As an unmarked verb, it can refer both to present and to perfective. The English past tense marker |d| at the end of the verbs indicates acrolectal speech. However, there is the possibility to mark past by putting the tense marker |mi| before the verb. Overt marking is rare, however, if the sentence includes a semantic temporal marker, such as "yestudeh" (yesterday) or "laas season" (last season).
The future tense is indicated by employing the preverbal marker wa or a. Unlike the marking of past tense, this marking is not optional.
The preverbal marker di expresses the progressive aspect in both past and present tense. However, if the past is not marked overtly (lexically or by using mi), an unambiguous understanding is only possible in connection to context. di is always mandatory. In past progressive, it is possible to achieve an unambiguous meaning by combining mi + di + verb.
Progressive action in the future can be expressed by using bi in conjunction with wɑ. The correct combination here would be wɑ + bi + verb.
Kriol does not have a habitual aspect in its own right. Other creoles have a general tendency to merge the habitual with completive, the habitual with progressive, or the habitual with future. Kriol however, does not clearly merge it with anything. Thus, we can only assume that the habitual is expressed through context and not through morphological marking.
The completive aspect is expressed either without marking, that is, by context only, or by the use of a completive preverbal markers, such as don or finiʂ.
The conditional mood is expressed through the conditional verbs wuda, mi-wa, and mia. The short version, da, is employed only in the present tense; past tense requires the longer forms.
There is no overt lexical marking of active and passive in Kriol. It is only the emphasis of a sentence which can clarify the meaning, together with context. Emphasis can be strengthened by adding emphatic markers, or through repetition and redundancy.
There are four forms of "be" in Kriol: de, two uses of di, and the absence of a marker. The equative form di is used as a copula (when the complement of the verb is either a noun or a noun phrase). de is the locative form which is used when the verb's complement is a prepositional phrase. No overt marking is used when the complement is an adjective. di, finally, is used in the progressive aspect.
The verb "to go" is irregular in Kriol, especially when set in the future progressive. It does not use the progressive marker di but is exchanged by the morpheme and ɡwein. In past tense, this is similar: instead of employing mi, it uses the lexical item ɡaan.
A verb which is used extensively in each conversation is mek. It can be used like a modal in casual requests, in threats and intentional statements, and, of course, like the standard verb "to make".
Plurals are usually formed in Kriol by inserting the obligatory postnomial marker de. Variations of this marker are den and dem. As decreolization is processing, the standard English plural ending -s occurs far more frequently. Sometimes, the de is added to this form, f.i. in "shoes de" – shoes.
The absence of a plural marker occurs rarely.
Many Spanish, Maya, and Garifuna words refer to popular produce and food items:
The construction of sentences in Kriol is very similar to that in English. It uses a Subject-Verb-Object order (SVO). All declarative and most interrogative sentences follow this pattern, the interrogatives with a changed emphasis. The construction of the phrases follows Standard English in many ways.
Locatives are more frequently used in Kriol and much more productive than in Standard English. The general locative is expressed by the morpheme da ("at" or "to"). It is possible to use to or pɑn ("on") instead. This is an indication of either emphasis or decreolization. Another morpheme which is more specific than dɑ is inɑ ("into"). It is used in contexts where dɑ is not strong enough.
Together with the verb "look", however, dɑ is not used and denoted as incorrect. To express "to look at", it is wrong to say "luk da". The correct version would be "luk pan".
In a noun phrase, Kriol can employ a structure of both noun and pronoun to create emphasis. The ordering then is noun + pronoun + verb (f.i. "mista filip hi noa di ansa" – Mr Philip knows the answer).
Adjectives are employed predicatively and attributively. They can be intensified either by the postposed adverb modifier bad, by iteration, or by the use of the adverb modifier onli. Iteration is here the usual way. Comparatives and superlatives are constructed according to morphosyntactic rules. A comparative is made by adding -a to the stem ("taal" – "taala" – tall). The morpheme den is employed to form comparative statements, f.i. "hî tɑlɑ dan shee" – He is taller than she. Superlatives are created by adding -es to the stem. In all cases, the use of the definite article di is obligatory. The copula is present if the superlative is used predicatively. An example could be: "She dah di taales" – She is the tallest.
Adverbs are used much as they are in Standard English. In almost all cases, they differ from adjectives not in form but in function. There are, however a few exceptions, such as "properli" (properly), "errli" (early) or "po:li" (poorly). Adverbs can be intensified by reduplication.
Most Kriol conjunctions are very similar to English and employed in the same way. The main difference is that Kriol allows double negation, so that some conjunctions are used differently. Some examples for Kriol conjunctions are: "an" (and), "but" (but), "if" (if), "o:" (or) etc.
Questions usually take the same form in Kriol as they do in Standard English: question word + subject + verb. The "do-support" does not occur here either. The rising intonation at the end of the sentence may increase even more if no question word is necessary. Thus, most declarative sentences can become interrogative with the right intonation. "Which" has various translations in Kriol. If the speaker means "which", he uses witʂ, but he can also use witʂ wan for "which one".
The tense/aspect system of Kriol is fundamentally unlike that of English. There are no morphological marked past tense forms corresponding to English -ed -t. There are three preverbial particles: "mi" and "did" for the past, "di" as an "aspect marker", and a host of articles to indicate the future ("(w)a(n)", "gwein", "gouɲ"). These are not verbs, they are simply invariant particles which cannot stand alone like the English "to be". Their function differs also from the English.
The progressive category is marked by /di~de/. Past habitual is marked by /doz/ or /juustu/. Present habitual aspect is unmarked but can be indicated by "always", "usually", etc. (i.e. is absent as a grammatical category). Mufwene (1984) and Gibson and Levy (1984) propose a past-only habitual category marked by /juustu doz/ as in /weh wi juustu doz liv ih noh az koal az ya/ ("where we used to live is not as cold as here")
For the present tense, an uninflected verb combining with an iterative adverb marks habitual meaning as in /tam aalweiz noa entaim keiti tel pɑn hii/ ("Tom always knows when Katy tells/has told about him").
Like many other Caribbean Creoles /fi/ and /fu/ have a number of functions, including:
The pronominal system of Standard English has a four-way distinction of person, number, gender and case. Some varieties of Kriol do not have the gender or case distinction, though most do; but it does distinguish between the second person singular and plural (you).
The question words found in Kriol are:
Contrast of Copula Forms
Copula = helping verb forms of “be”
Kriol: Ai da di teecha
English: I am the teacher.
Kriol: Yu da di teecha.
English: You are the teacher
Kriol: Ih da di teecha.
English: He/She is the teacher.
Kriol: Ah da-mi di teecha
English: I was the teacher
Kriol: Yu da-mi di teecha
English: You were the teacher.
Kriol: She/Ih da-mi di teecha.
English: She/He was the teacher.
In linguistics, a copula is a term for a word that links the subject of a sentence to a subject complement, such as the word is in the sentence "The sky is blue." The word copula derives from the Latin noun for a "link" or "tie" that connects two different things.
In grammar, a frequentative form of a word is one that indicates repeated action, but is not to be confused with iterative aspect. The frequentative form can be considered a separate but not completely independent word called a frequentative. The frequentative is no longer productive in English, but still is in some language groups, such as Finno-Ugric, Balto-Slavic, Turkic, etc.
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The past tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to place an action or situation in past time. In languages which have a past tense, it thus provides a grammatical means of indicating that the event being referred to took place in the past. Examples of verbs in the past tense include the English verbs sang, went and was.
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