Structure dataset 5: Creolese

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 5.

Creolese, also referred to in the literature as Guyanese Creole, is a widely-used vernacular language variety which co-exists with Standard Guyanese English, the sole official language of the Republic of Guyana, which is normally acquired through formal schooling. It is the native tongue of the majority of the over 700, 000 inhabitants of the Republic of Guyana, and also widely spoken by several hundred thousand other Guyanese, scattered in the diaspora communities worldwide. Contributing languages to Creolese have included English, Arawak (Lokono), Carib (Karina), Bhojpuri, Akan, Kikongo, Yoruba and Dutch. Due to an ever-present, ongoing contact with its major contributing lexifier English, the Creolese language variety has developed a high degree of variability. Linguists such as Bickerton (1975) and Rickford (1979, 1987) and other scholars have used the term “Creole continuum” to describe this language variety. This continuum includes at one end of the spectrum a basilectal or more conservative language variety and on the other end an acrolectal language variety, more closely allied to Standard English, with a mesolectal or an infinite number of varieties existing in between. In order to provide the user with a more global understanding of the variation context within which Creolese speakers generally operate, the default lect for APiCS incorporates both basilectal and mesolectal varieties of the language. Published sources for some of the examples used in the Creolese APiCS dataset include Dolphin (1996), Monar (1985), Rickford (1979, 1987), Bickerton (1975), Devonish (1974) and Persaud (1970).

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 mb t  d  c ɟ k  g
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ʃ ʒ
Non-sibilant fricative ɸ β f v 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 nasalized high back rounded vowel ɪlowered high front unrounded vowel ʊlowered high back 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 ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɛːlong lower 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 long low central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 ɓ  voiced bilabial implosive plosive
 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