Structure dataset 52: Guyanais

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 52.

Guyanais (also créole guyanais, créole de Guyane) is spoken by about 60.000 people in the French overseas department Guyane française and by about 4.000 speakers in neighbouring Brazil. French Guiana Creole is listed as one of the langues de France. Today all creole-speakers seem to be bilingual Creole-French, whereas in the late 90s of the past century some of the older speakers of Guyanais had only a passive competence of French. Two main varieties may be distinguished, a basilectal variety spoken in the communities of Makouria, Tonate, Roura, Ouanary and Saint-Georges and a mesolectal variety spoken on the coast (i.e. Cayenne, Rémire and Kourou).

The basilectal variety is the default lect documented in APiCS. All examples are taken from or constructed on the basis of two corpora recorded from 1995-99 and 2006-12 respectively. Two of the recordings have been published in Ludwig & Telchid & Bruneau-Ludwig 2001, a greater sample of recordings will be published in Jennings & Pfänder (to appear).

Some divergent features in the costal variety have been mentioned in the description of the tense and aspect markers. Some of the divergences may be due to the fact that a great number of the coastal speakers are in fact second-language speakers of Guyanais and have another creole language as their first language (Haitian, Martinican and Guadeloupean Creoles).

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No. Feature Value lect Details Source
No. Feature Value lect 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 h
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 ɨhigh central unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ɯhigh back unrounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher 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


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