Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as the
1.1 Origin of the name
2 Concise list
3.1 Upper Guinea
3.2 Gulf of Guinea
3.3 Portuguese pidgins
4 South Asia
4.2 Sri Lanka
5 Southeast Asia
7 See also
9 External links
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; while the grammar is mostly original and unique to each
creole with little resemblance to the syntax of Portuguese or the
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. This variety was the starting point of all the pidgin
and creole languages. This would 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"
Origin of the name
See also: Creole peoples
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
Upper Guinea Creoles
Cape Verdean Creole: Vigorous use,
Cape Verde Islands.
Guinea Creole: Vigorous use.
Lingua franca in Guinea-Bissau, also
spoken in Casamance, Senegal. Growing number of speakers.
Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea Creoles
Angolar: A heavy substrate of Kimbundu, spoken on
São Tomé Island,
São Tomé and Príncipe.
Annobonese: Vigorous use. Spoken on
Annobón island, Equatorial Guinea
Forro: Forro is becoming the language of social networks. Spoken on
São Tomé Island,
São Tomé and Príncipe.
Principense: Almost extinct. Spoken on
Príncipe Island, São Tomé
Malabar-Sri Lankan Portuguese: Grouping Sri Lankan Portuguese,
Battilocan Portuguese, Malabar Indo-Portuguese. Spoken in the coastal
Sri Lanka and Malabar, India.
Daman and Diu
Daman and Diu Portuguese: spoken in Daman and Diu, India. (old
Korlai Indo-Portuguese: spoken in Korlai, India.
Macanese: Spoken in
Macau and Hong Kong, China. (old decreolization)
Kristang: spoken in
Malaysia and emigrant communities in
Perth, Western Australia.
Português de Bidau: extinct.
The oldest Portuguese-based 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:
Guinea Creole (Kriol): lingua franca of Guinea-Bissau, also spoken in
Senegal and in Gambia.
Cape Verdean Creole
Cape Verdean Creole (Kriolu, Kriol): a dialect continuum on the
islands of Cape Verde.
Gulf of Guinea
Another group of Creoles is spoken in the Gulf of Guinea, in São
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.
Angolar (Ngola, N'góla): in coastal areas of
São Tomé Island.
Annobonese (Fa d'Ambu): on
Forro: in São Tomé.
Principense (Lunguyê) (almost extinct): on
Tonga Portuguese (Português dos Tongas)
Portuguese pidgins still exist in
Angola and Mozambique, uncreolized.
A Portuguese pidgin, known as Pequeno Português, is still used as
lingua franca between people speaking different languages.
The numerous Portuguese outposts in
Sri Lanka gave rise to
many Portuguese-based 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:
Indo-Portuguese (almost extinct): in Diu.
Indo-Portuguese (Língua da Casa): in Daman.
Kristi: in Korlai, Maharashtra.
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, Pondicheri, 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, Chandernagore,
Midnapore and Hugli.
Significant Portuguese-based creole flourished among the so-called
Burgher and Kaffir communities of Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese: around
Batticaloa and Trincomalee
(Portuguese Burghers) and
In the past, Portuguese creoles were also spoken in
Southeast Asia Portuguese creoles: Papiá Kristang of
Malaysia (1) and
Macaista Chapado of Macao, SAR (2).
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
South Africa, leading to several creoles that survived until recent
Kristang (Cristão): in
Malacca (Malaysia) and Singapore.
Mardijker (extinct in the 19th century): by the
Mardijker people of
Batavia (Jakarta) = Papiá Tugu (extinct in 1978): in Kampung Tugu,
Portugis (extinct around 1950): in the Ambon,
Ternate islands and
Bidau Portuguese (extinct in the 1960s): in the Bidau area of Dili,
Malacca creole also had an influence on the creole of
The Portuguese were present in the island of Flores,
the 16th century, mainly in
Larantuka and Sikka; but the local creole
language, if any, has not survived.
Other Portuguese-based creoles were once spoken in
Thailand (In Kudi
Chin and Conception) and Bayingy in Burma.
Portuguese language was present in Portugal's colony
the mid-16th century. A Portuguese creole, Patua, developed there,
first by interaction with the local Cantonese people, and later
modified by an influx of refugees from the Dutch takeover of
Portuguese colonies in Indonesia.
Macanese (Macaista, Patuá): in
Macau and, to a lesser extent, in Hong
Location map of Aruba, Bonnaire, and Curaçao, where
Papiamento (spoken in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao in the Caribbean) is
a Portuguese-based creole that is undergoing significant Spanish
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.
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
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
It has been conjectured that 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
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, French, Italian and
Romanian, classifying these phenomena as a natural Romance
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
Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole
^ Forro was a declaration of freedom of a specific slave used in
Portugal and its colonies. These were the most wished documents for
the enslaved population. These freeded slaves developed and stabilized
^ Sandra Luísa Rodrigues Madeira, "Towards an Annotated Bibliography
of Restructured Portuguese in Africa", Faculdade de Letras,
Universidade de Coimbra, 2008.
^ Armin Schwegler, "Monogenesis Revisited", in Rickford & Romaine,
1999, Creole Genesis, Attitudes and Discourse, p. 252.
^ Em Cafundó, esforço para salvar identidade. São Paulo dos Campos
de Piratininga, SP: O Estado de S. Paulo, 24 December 2006, p. A8.
^ Hildo Honório do Couto, "Anticrioulo: manifestação lingüística
de resistência cultural", 2002.
^ a b "Origens do português brasileiro". Archived 2012-09-06 at
^ Noll, Volker, "Das Brasilianische Portugiesisch", 1999.
^ Mikael Parkvall, "The alleged creole past of Brazilian Vernacular
Portuguese", in d' Andrade, Pereria & Mota, 1999, Crioulos de Base
Portuguesa, p. 223.
^ Holm, J., "American Black English and Afrikaans: two Germanic
^ a b Naro & Scherre (2007)
The Origins of Negation in the
Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea Creoles
Reconstructing Kriol syllable structures
Portuguese language heritage in the East
The Portuguese Cultural Imprint on Sri Lanka
Papia, Relijang e Tradisang, The Portuguese Eurasians in Malaysia
Malacca Portuguese Eurasian Association
Malacca Portuguese Settlement
Singapore Eurasian Association Kristang page
Declaraçon di mundo intêro di Dréto di tudo homi co tudo mudjer
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Kriolu of Santiago
Declaraçom Universal di Diritu di Omis Universal Declaration of Human
Rights in Kriol
Declaraçón Universal di Dirêtu di Hómé Universal Declaration of
Human Rights in Forro
Dutch Portuguese Colonial History Dutch Portuguese Colonial History
Association for Portuguese and Spanish Lexically Based Creoles
Associação Brasileira de Estudos Crioulos e Similares (ABECS)
Portuguese-based creole languages
Cape Verdean Creole
Daman and Diu
Daman and Diu Portuguese
Sri Lankan Portuguese
Mardijker or Papiá Tugu (extinct)
Bidau Portuguese (extinct)
Creoles with strong
Portuguese lexical influence