Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as their substantial lexifier. The most widely spoken creole influenced by Portuguese is the Cape Verdean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole and Papiamento.
Portuguese overseas exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries led to the establishment of a Portuguese Empire with trading posts, forts and colonies in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Contact between the Portuguese language and native languages gave rise to many Portuguese-based pidgins, used as linguas francas throughout the Portuguese sphere of influence. In time, many of these pidgins were nativized, becoming new stable creole languages.
As is the rule in most creoles, the lexicon of these languages can be traced to the parent languages, usually with predominance of Portuguese; [ citation needed ]
These creoles are (or were) spoken mostly by communities of descendants of Portuguese, natives, and sometimes other peoples from the Portuguese colonial empire.
Until recently creoles were considered "degenerate" dialects of Portuguese unworthy of attention. As a consequence, there is little documentation on the details of their formation. Since the 20th century, increased study of creoles by linguists led to several theories being advanced. The monogenetic theory of pidgins assumes that some type of pidgin language — dubbed West African Pidgin Portuguese — based on Portuguese was spoken from the 15th to 18th centuries in the forts established by the Portuguese on the West African coast. According to this theory, this variety may have been the starting point of all the pidgin and creole languages. This may explain to some extent why Portuguese lexical items can be found in many creoles, but more importantly, it would account for the numerous grammatical similarities shared by such languages, such as the preposition na, meaning "in" and/or "on", which would come from the Portuguese contraction na, meaning "in the" (feminine singular).
The Portuguese word for "creole" is crioulo, which derives from the verb criar ("to raise", "to bring up") and a suffix -oulo of debated origin. Originally the word was used to distinguish the members of any ethnic group who were born and raised in the colonies from those who were born in their homeland. In Africa it was often applied to locally born people of (wholly or partly) Portuguese descent, as opposed to those born in Portugal; whereas in Brazil it was also used to distinguish locally born black people of African descent from those who had been brought from Africa as slaves.
In time, however, this generic sense was lost, and the word crioulo or its derivatives (like "Creole" and its equivalents in other languages) became the name of several specific Upper Guinean communities and their languages: the Guinean people and their Kriol language, Cape Verdean people and their Kriolu language, all of which still today have very vigorous use, suppressing the importance of official standard Portuguese.
The oldest Portuguese creole are the so-called crioulos of Upper Guinea, born around the Portuguese settlements along the northwest coast of Africa. Portuguese creoles are the mother tongues of most people in Cape Verde. In Guinea-Bissau, the creole is used as lingua franca among people speaking different languages, and is becoming the mother tongue of a growing population. They consist of two languages:
Another group of creoles is spoken in the Gulf of Guinea, in São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea.
Many other Portuguese creoles probably existed in the former Portuguese feitorias in the Gulf of Guinea, but also in the Congo region.[ citation needed ]
Portuguese pidgins still exist in Angola and Mozambique.[ citation needed ]
The numerous Portuguese outposts in India and Sri Lanka gave rise to many Portuguese creole languages, of which only a few have survived to the present. The largest group were the Norteiro languages, spoken by the Norteiro people, the Christian Indo-Portuguese in the North Konkan. Those communities were centered on Baçaim, modern Vasai, which was then called the “Northern Court of Portuguese India” (in opposition to the "Southern Court" at Goa). The creole languages spoken in Baçaim, Salsete, Thana, Chevai, Mahim, Tecelaria, Dadar, Parel, Cavel, Bandora (modern Bandra), Gorai, Morol, Andheri, Versova, Malvan, Manori, Mazagão, and Chaul are now extinct. The only surviving Norteiro creoles are:
These surviving Norteiro creoles have suffered drastic changes in the last decades. Standard Portuguese re-influenced the creole of Daman in the mid-20th century.
The creoles of the Coast of Coromandel, such as of Meliapor, Madras, Tuticorin, Cuddalore, Karikal, Pondicherry, Tranquebar, Manapar, and Negapatam, were already extinct by the 19th century. Their speakers (mostly the people of mixed Portuguese-Indian ancestry, known locally as Topasses) switched to English after the British takeover.
Most of the creoles of the Coast of Malabar, namely those of Cananor, Tellicherry, Mahé, Cochin (modern Kerala), and Quilon) had become extinct by the 19th century. In Cananor and Tellicherry, some elderly people still spoke some creole in the 1980s. The only creole that is still spoken (by a few Christian families only) is Vypin Indo-Portuguese, in the Vypin Island, near Kerala.
Christians, even in Calcutta, used Portuguese until 1811. A Portuguese creole was still spoken in the early 20th century. Portuguese creoles were spoken in Bengal, such as at Balasore, Pipli, Chandannagore, Chittagong, Midnapore and Hooghly.
Significant Portuguese creoles flourished among the so-called Burgher and Kaffir communities of Sri Lanka:
In the past, Portuguese creoles were also spoken in Myanmar and Bangladesh.[ citation needed ]
The earliest Portuguese creole in the region probably arose in the 16th century in Malacca, Malaysia, as well as in the Moluccas. After the takeover of those places by the Dutch in the 17th century, many creole-speaking slaves were taken to other places in Indonesia and South Africa, leading to several creoles that survived until recent times:
The Portuguese were present in the island of Flores, Indonesia since the 16th century, mainly in Larantuka and Sikka; but the local creole language, if any, has not survived.[ citation needed ]
Other Portuguese creoles were once spoken in Thailand (In Kudi Chin and Conception) and Bayingy in Burma.[ citation needed ]
The Portuguese language was present in Portugal's colony Macau since the mid-16th century. A Portuguese creole, Patua, developed there.
A few Portuguese creoles are found in South America:
Papiamento (spoken on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao in the Caribbean) is closely related to the Upper Guinea Creoles:Guinea-Bissau Creole and especially with Cape Verdean Creole. Papiamento has a Portuguese basis, but has undergone a large Spanish and considerable Dutch influence. The language has a growing number of speakers.
There is no consensus regarding the position of Saramaccan, with some scholars classifying it as Portuguese creole with an English relexification. Saramaccan may be an English creole with Portuguese words, since structurally (morphology and syntax) it is related to the Surinamese creoles (Sranan, Ndyuka and Jamaican Maroon), despite the heavy percentage of Portuguese origin words. Other English creole languages of Suriname, such as Paramaccan or Kwinti, have also Portuguese influences.[ citation needed ]
Although sometimes classified as a creole, the Cupópia language from the Quilombo do Cafundó, at Salto de Pirapora, São Paulo, discovered in 1978 and spoken by less than 40 people as a secret language,is better classified as a Portuguese variety since it is structurally similar to Portuguese, in spite of having a large number of Bantu words in its lexicon. For languages with these characteristics, H. H. do Couto has forged the designation of anticreole , which would be the inverse of a creole language, as they are seen by the non-European input theories (i.e.: creoles = African languages grammar + European languages lexicon; anticreoles = European languages grammar + African languages lexicon).
There is a Portuguese dialect in Helvécia, South of Bahia that is theorized as presenting signs of an earlier decreolization. Ancient Portuguese creoles originating from Africa are still preserved in the ritual songs of the Afro-Brazilian animist religions (Candomblé)[ citation needed ].
It has been conjectured that the vernacular of Brazil (not the official and standard Brazilian Portuguese) resulted from decreolization of a creole based on Portuguese and native languages; but this is not a widely accepted view. Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese is continuous and mutually intelligible with European Portuguese, and in fact quite conservative in some aspects.Academic specialists compiled by linguist Volker Noll affirm that the Brazilian linguistic phenomena are the "nativização", nativization/nativism of a most radically Romanic form. The phenomena in Brazilian Portuguese are Classical Latin and Old Portuguese heritage. This is not a creole form, but a radical Romanic form. Regardless of borrowings and minor changes, it must be kept in mind that Brazilian Portuguese is not a Portuguese creole, since both grammar and vocabulary remain "real" Portuguese and its origins can be traced directly from 16th century European Portuguese. Some authors, like Swedish Parkvall, classify it as a semicreole in the concept defined by Holm: a semicreole is a language that has undergone “partial restructuring, producing varieties which were never fully pidginized and which preserve a substantial part of their lexifier’s structure (...) while showing a noticeable degree of restructuring”. Nevertheless, scholars like Anthony Julius Naro and Maria Marta Pereira Scherre demonstrated how every single phenomenon found in Brazilian Portuguese can also be found in regional modern European Portuguese and 1500s and 1600s European Portuguese, such as the epic poetry of Luís de Camões, as well as other Romance languages such as Aranese Occitan, French, Italian and Romanian, classifying these phenomena as a natural Romance drift. Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese is continuous with European Portuguese and its phonetics is more conservative in several aspects, characterizing the nativization of a koiné formed by several regional European Portuguese variations brought to Brazil and its natural drift.
Creole people are ethnic groups which originated during the colonial era from racial mixing mainly involving West Africans as well as some other people born in colonies, such as African, French, Spanish, and Native American peoples; this process is known as creolization. Creole peoples vary widely in ethnic background and mixture and many have since developed distinct ethnic identities. The development of creole languages is sometimes mistakenly attributed to the emergence of creole ethnic identities; however, the two developments occur independently.
Papiamento or Papiamentu is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands having official status in Aruba and Curaçao. Papiamento is also a recognised language in the Dutch public bodies of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba.
A Spanish creole, or Spanish-based creole language, is a creole language for which Spanish serves as its substantial lexifier.
Forro Creole is a Portuguese creole language spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe. It is also called by its native speakers as sãotomense creole or santomense creole.
Principense Creole, also called by its native speakers as lunguyê creole, is a Portuguese creole language spoken by a community of some four thousand people in São Tomé and Príncipe, specifically on the island of Príncipe. There are two Portuguese creoles on the island of São Tomé, Angolar and Forro. Today, younger generations of São Toméans are not likely to speak Principense, which has led to its fast decline and moribund status. It is mostly spoken by the elderly, while most of the island's community speaks noncreole Portuguese; some also speak another, closely related creole, Forro.
The Daman and Diu Portuguese Creole, also known as Daman and Diu Indo-Portuguese and, to its speakers, as Língua da Casa, refers to varieties of Portuguese-based creole spoken in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, especially in Daman district and Diu district. Before the Indian annexation of the territory, the Daman creole went through a profound decreolisation by Standard Portuguese of Goa, a phenomenon whereby the Indo-Portuguese creole reconverged with Standard Portuguese.
Annobonese Creole is a Portuguese creole known to its speakers as Fa d'Ambu or Fá d'Ambô. It is spoken on the Annobón and Bioko Islands off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, mostly by people of mixed African, Portuguese and Spanish descent. It is called annobonense or annobonés in Spanish.
Cape Verdean Creole is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken on the islands of Cape Verde. It is also called Kriolu or Kriol by its native speakers. It is the native creole language of virtually all Cape Verdeans and is used as a second language by the Cape Verdean diaspora.
Portuguese is spoken in a number of African countries and is the official language in six African states: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea. There are Portuguese-speaking communities in most countries of Southern Africa, a mixture of Portuguese settlers and Angolans and Mozambicans who left their countries during the civil wars. A rough estimate has it that there are about 14 million people who use Portuguese as their sole mother tongue across Africa, but depending on the criteria applied, the number might be considerably higher, since many Africans speak Portuguese as a second language, in countries like Angola and Mozambique, where Portuguese is an official language, but also in countries like South Africa and Senegal, thanks to migrants coming from Portuguese speaking countries. Some statistics claim that there are over 30 million Portuguese speakers in the continent. Like French and English, Portuguese has become a post-colonial language in Africa and one of the working languages of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Portuguese co-exists in Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Principe with Portuguese-based creoles, and in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau with autochthonous African languages.
Decreolization is a postulated phenomenon whereby over time a creole language reconverges with the lexifier from which it originally derived. The notion has attracted criticism from linguists who argue there is little theoretical or empirical basis on which to postulate a process of language change which is particular to creole languages.
Guinea-Bissau Creole, also known as Kiriol or Crioulo, is a creole language whose lexicon derives mostly from Portuguese. It is spoken in Guinea Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia. It is also called by its native speakers as guinensi, kriyol, or portuguis.
Indo-Portuguese creoles are the several creole languages that formed in the erstwhile Portuguese Indian settlements, Fort Bassein, Goa and Damaon& Portuguese Ceylon etc, in present-day India and Sri Lanka. These creoles are now mostly extinct or endangered, the creoles have substantial Portuguese influence in their grammars or lexicons:
São Toméan Portuguese is a dialect of Portuguese spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe.
The languages of the African Union are languages used by citizens within the member states of the African Union (AU). For languages of the institution, see African Union: Languages.
O dialecto crioulo de Cabo Verde is a Capeverdean book published in 1957 by Baltasar Lopes da Silva. As the title was the spelling used after the 1945 Portuguese Orthography Agreement, its modern spelling is titled O Dialeto Crioulo de Cabo Verde.
Guinean Portuguese is the variety of Portuguese spoken in Guinea-Bissau, where it is the official language.
São Tomé and Príncipe has Portuguese as the official and national language. It is spoken by virtually all of the population. Locally developed restructured varieties of Portuguese or Portuguese creoles are also spoken: Forro, Angolar and Principense. Cape Verdean Creole is spoken by 8.5% and it is also a Portuguese creole. French (6.8%) and English (4.9%) are foreign languages taught in schools.