Grenadian Creole

Grenadian Creole is either of two Creole languages spoken in Grenada, Grenadian Creole English and Grenadian Creole French.

Grenadian Creole English

Grenadian Creole English
Native to Grenada
Native speakers
89,000 (2001)[1]
English Creole
  • Atlantic

    • Eastern
      • Southern
        • Grenadian Creole English
Language codes
ISO 639-3 gcl
Glottolog gren1247[2]
Linguasphere 52-ABB-as

Grenadian Creole English is a Creole language spoken in Grenada. It is a member of the Southern branch of English-based Eastern Atlantic Creoles, along with Antiguan Creole (Antigua and Barbuda), Bajan Creole (Barbados), Guyanese Creole (Guyana), Tobagonian Creole, Trinidadian Creole (Trinidad and Tobago), Vincentian Creole (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and Virgin Islands Creole (Virgin Islands).[3] It is the native language of nearly all inhabitants of Grenada, or approximately 89,000 native speakers.[4]

Grenadian Creole French

Grenadian Creole French
Native to Grenada
Native speakers
2,300 (2004)[5]
French Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

The older Grenadian Creole French is a variety of Antillean Creole French.[6] In Grenada, and among Grenadians, it is referred to as Patois or French Patois. This was once the lingua franca in Grenada, and was commonly heard as recently as 1930, when even children in some rural areas could speak it. In the twenty-first century, it can only be heard among elderly speakers in a few small pockets of the country.

Senior citizens still speak Creole French, but they are becoming fewer and fewer because, unlike St. Lucia and Dominica which lie close to the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, Grenada does not have French speaking neighbours to keep that language alive. Nevertheless, and in spite of the fact that, a generation or two ago, the use of Grenadian-English was frowned on by teachers and parents, a look at the history gives some understanding as to why conversations today are so liberally sprinkled with a collection of picturesque French Creole words and phrases.

French, or French Creole, was the language of the large majority of the inhabitants, slaves and estate owners, and, though the new British administrators spoke English, French was predominant.


The first successful settlement by a western colonial power was in 1650, when the French from Martinique established friendly contact with the native Caribs. Grenada was colonised successfully, for the first time, by the French in 1650 and there was an unbroken period of French administration until 1763, one hundred and thirteen years, before the island passed into British hands. After the British had been in possession for about sixteen years, the French recaptured the island in 1779 after a bloody battle. Fort Royal (later St. George) was sacked and pillaged. Tensions were high. The new French occupiers made things very rough for the British settlors and French customs, French traditions and the French language were predominant.

The British took control of the island in the 18th century, and ruled until its independence in 1974.[7] Despite the long history of British rule, Grenada's French heritage is still evidenced by the number of French loanwords in Grenadian Creole.[8] The francophone character of Grenada was uninterrupted for more than a century before British rule. This ensured that language in Grenada could never be seen unless in that light.

The Grenada Creole Society, founded in 2009, implemented the mission to research and document the language in Grenada. The initial findings were published in 2012 in the publication Double Voicing and Multiplex Identities ed. Nicholas Faraclas et al. A comprehensive history of the francophone Creole language in Grenada is presented in Lingering Effects of an Ancient Afro-Romance Language on Common Speech in the Caribbean Island of Grenada (2012) Auth. Marguerite-Joan Joseph.

See also


External links

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