Nicaraguan Creole English

Nicaraguan Creole English (or Miskito Coast Creole English) is spoken as a first language by several groups of people: ethnic Creoles, the Rama, Nicaraguan Garifuna, and some Miskitos, and as a second language by other Miskitos and some Mestizos. It is mainly spoken (nowadays as a minority language) in the two Nicaraguan Autonomous Regions of the Atlantic Coast but also elsewhere in Nicaragua, the United States, and other small diaspora communities. Estimates of speaker numbers vary between 35,000 and 50,000.

Nicaraguan Creole English can be considered one of the oldest English-based varieties in the Americas. Belizean Creole constitutes a direct off-shoot of Nicaraguan Creole English which, on the other hand, has undergone influence from several other Western Caribbean Creoles, obscuring the genetic relationships of the creoles of the region in question.

Speakers themselves identify at least the variants of Bluefields, the Corn Islands, Pearl Lagoon, Rama Cay, Orinoco, and Bilwi. It is commonly felt that the urban variety of Bluefields should constitute the basis for standardization. On the other hand, Spanish is much more present in Bluefields than in rural communities. Over recent years, there have been signs that the Spanish–Creole English diglossia has started to leak. Nevertheless, it has been postulated that there continue to exist separate Anglo, "costeño" (coastal) and Black identities within the Creole population and those most closely identifying with the Anglo identity are unlikely to be in favor of bilingual Creole-Spanish programs any more than they were in the 1980s. Indeed, Standard English is valued not only as an international language but also as the foundation of that particular facet of Creole identity as a cross of a class and an ethnic position.

The default lect in APiCS is constituted by data gathered in Bluefields and surrounding locations in 2006-2007. It appears quite clear that Nicaraguan Creole English constitutes a genuine instance of decreolization when compared to materials collected in the early 1970s.

Unless otherwise specified, all examples in APiCS were recorded in Nicaragua in 2006-2007 (see Nicaragua project recordings CD).

Glossed text (50.9KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value % Details Source
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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
No. Feature Value % Details Source