Structure dataset 10: San Andres Creole English

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 10.

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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Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d c ɟ k g ʔ
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ʃ ʒ
Non-sibilant fricative f v x h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap ɾ
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel long high front unrounded vowel nasalized high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel long high back rounded vowel ɪlowered high front unrounded vowel ʊlowered high back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɛːlong lower mid front unrounded vowel ɛ̃nasalized lower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel ɔːlong lower mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel long low central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
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