San Andres Creole English

San Andres Creole English is spoken in the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, Colombia, by no more but possibly considerably fewer than 20,000 speakers. The language is also spoken by diaspora communities located, most importantly, in mainland Colombia and, in second place, on the Central American Caribbean Coast, especially in Panama, and in the United States. The numbers of speakers and the extent to which the language is maintained in the diaspora is not known.

The two main varieties of the language are San Andres Creole proper (or Saintandrewan, as language activists call it) and Providence Creole English. At first sight, the distinguishing criterion appears to be geographical. However, we are dealing with structurally distinct varieties, and I believe that sociolectal variation in terms of a hypothetical creole continuum constitutes an even more important criterion: Providence Creole English is clearly a more acrolectal variety of Western Caribbean Creole English than San Andres Creole English. Unless otherwise specified, basilectal San Andres Creole English, i.e., the creole of the island of San Andres, constitutes the default lect described here. Occasionally, reference is being made to Providence Creole English and a written lect ocurring in the very few teaching materials devised for San Andres Creole English.

San Andres Creole English constitutes a minority as well as a minorized language on the island. Over the past fifteen years, the little presence it had in the media has faded away and efforts by the Colombian Ministry of Education to start a nation-wide move towards bilingual education in Spanish and (Standard) English in San Andres and Providence further jeopardizes the timid pro-creole action taken since the 1980s and especially during the 1990s. Providence Creole English speakers never really embraced the idea of their creole being an autonomous variety, let alone a distinct language. I consider both San Andres and Providence Creole English to be more or less highly endangered.

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Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
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