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Liberian Kreyol language

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Kreyol (Liberian Pidgin English, Vernacular Liberian English) is an English-based pidgin spoken in Liberia. It was spoken by 1,500,000 people as a second language (1984 census) which is about 70% of the population in that time. Today the knowledge of some form of English is even more widespread. It is historically and linguistically related to Merico, a creole spoken in Liberia, but is grammatically distinct from it. There are regional dialects such as the Kru Pidgin English used by the Kru fishermen.

Liberian Pidgin English
Region Liberia
Native speakers
1.5 million L2 speakers (1984 census)
Language family
English-based pidgin
Dialects Kru Pidgin English
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lir
Glottolog libe1240

Liberian Kreyol language developed from Liberian Interior Pidgin English, the Liberian version of West African Pidgin English though it has been significantly influenced by Liberian Settler English. Its phonology owes much to Liberia’sNiger–Congo languages. It has been analyzed having a post-creole continuum. As such, rather than being a pidginwholly distinct from English, it is a range of varieties that extend from the highly pidginized to one that shows many similarities to English as spoken elsewhere in West Africa.

Kreyol originated in Liberia among the Settlers, the free English-speaking African Americans from the Southern United States who emigrated to Liberia between 1819 and 1860. It has since borrowed some words from French and from other West African languages.

Kreyol is spoken mostly as an intertribal lingua franca in the interior of Liberia.

Grammatical features

Kreyol uses no for negation, bi as the copula, for «to» in verbal infinitives.

Published - August 2016

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