Structure dataset 15: Krio

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 15.

Krio (or Sierra Leone Krio) is used natively primarily by residents of the Western Area Peninsula (including Freetown) and as a lingua franca by more than 4 million of the approximately 5.5 million residents of Sierra Leone in general. It is additionally used as a lingua franca by an indeterminate number of speakers of Sierra Leone origin living outside of Sierra Leone. The default lect documented in APiCS is reflective of standard usage by me and other native Krio speakers residing in Freetown and supported by my and their intuitions as native Krio speakers. Additional examples used in the data set were from a variety of published sources (including A Krio–English dictionary by Clifford Fyle and Eldred Jones, 1980).

The use of Krio in Sierra Leone has become more widespread since it was incorporated into the educational curriculum and is now one of the most popular languages taught in schools. Krio grammar has further been influenced by input from non-native Krio speakers (formerly residents in the provinces, where Krio was used non-natively as a lingua franca) who were displaced by the civil war in the 1990s and resettled in Freetown. Krio became the language used almost exclusively by most of the new Freetown residents who produced some variant Krio grammatical forms (possibly due to transfer from their primary languages) that were incorporated into Krio grammar and now coexist as parallels to the original Krio forms and expressions. The APiCS data do not reflect these variant forms.

Glossed text (72.2KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


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 k g
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ʃ ʒ
Non-sibilant fricative f v ɣ
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
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 nasalized high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel nasalized high back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel nasalized higher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel nasalized higher mid back rounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɛ̃nasalized lower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel ɔ̃nasalized lower mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide
 k͡p  voiceless labial-velar plosive
 g͡b  voiced labial-velar plosive


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source