What is a creole language?

    When you think of Creole, think of the old, clarified and modernized by the new.

    However, Creole itself is not a language. A Creole language, of which there are many, is a mixture of different languages that have been developed into a stable natural language by the people of that region. For example, Haitian Creole is spoken in Haiti, Louisiana Creole is spoken in Louisiana, and Portuguese Creole is spoken in Cape Verde.

    The majority of Creole languages are based on English, Portuguese, French, Spanish and other languages — their superstrate language — with local or immigrant languages as substrate languages. 

    Now, based on this definition you may be thinking that all languages are Creole languages. Most languages after all are based on a mixture of other languages. For example, we have English, which is derived from an alphabet soup of far older languages and differs in the United States, the UK, and Canada.

    But that’s not exactly true. Creole, and let’s rely on Haitian Creole for this example, differs from English and most other languages in that its grammar, phonetics, and semantics are more modern. You might say Creole languages have brought with them words from many older languages but they have added clarity and simplicity by using newer, more consistent rules.

    With Haitian Creole, for example, learn just 32 number of sounds produced by letter combinations and you can pronounce any word. This avoids the obvious challenges: their-there; to-two-too; made-maid; cell-sell; cent-scent. We could go on, but that would be mean, which we don’t mean to be (sorry!).

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