Structure dataset 27: Negerhollands

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 27.

Negerhollands (or Virgin Islands Dutch Creole) is a Dutch-based creole language that is currently extinct. It used to be spoken on the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, the current US Virgin Islands, a former Danish colony. It was primarily spoken by the slave population labouring in the plantations. In the 19th century, there was a great drift to the town where English and English Creole were spoken Negerhollands became restricted to the decreased population of the rural areas. By the 20th century it was only generally spoken by the older generations. Occasional transfer still produced a handful of speakers up into the 1970s. The last speaker passed away in 1987. The default lect described in APiCS is the variety spoken in the 1920s by 60 – 81 year old speakers from St. Thomas and St. John, as documented by De Josselin de Jong (1926). Other documented varieties of Negerhollands are the acrolect spoken by white colonists in the 18th century, often referred to as “Hochkreol”(“High creole”), and the missionary variety used by the missionaries in their liturgical material, primers, and bible translations. The missionaries used Dutch creole in their sermons, services, and literature until the end of the first half of the 19th century.

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 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 h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
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 yhigh front rounded vowel nasalized high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ɪlowered high front unrounded vowel ʏlowered high front rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel long higher mid front unrounded vowel nasalized higher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel long higher mid back rounded vowel nasalized higher mid back rounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel æraised low front unrounded 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
No. Feature Value Details Source