San Andrés–Providencia Creole

San Andrés–Providencia creole is an English-based creole language spoken in the San Andrés and Providencia Department of Colombia by the native Raizals, very similar to Belize Kriol and Miskito Coastal Creole. Its vocabulary originates in English, its lexifier, but San Andrés–Providencia creole has its own phonetics and many expressions from Spanish and African languages, particularly Kwa languages (especially Twi and Ewe) and Igbo languages. The language is also known as "San Andrés Creole", "Bende" and "Islander Creole English".[2]

San Andrés and Providencia Creole
Islander Creole English
Native toColombia (San Andrés and Providencia islands)
Native speakers
(12,000 cited 1981)[1]
English Creole
  • Atlantic
    • Western
      • San Andrés and Providencia Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3icr


  1. It marks the time. The auxiliar wen (~ben~men) marks a past simple. Future tense is marked with wi and wuda. Progressive tense is marked by de.
  2. The auxiliars beg and mek before the sentence is a polite way to ask permission or asking something.
  3. Other auxiliary words before the verb mark probability like maita, mos, mosi, kyan, and kuda; willingness with niid and waan; and obligation with fi, hafi and shuda
  4. There is no grammatical distinction for gender.
  5. Plural is marked with dem after the noun.

San Andrés–Providencia Creole is an official language in its territory of influence according to the Colombian Constitution of 1991 that guarantees the rights and protections of languages in the country. The population of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina uses three languages (Creole, English and Spanish). English remained in use for liturgical purposes in Baptist churches, but the coming of satellite television and growth of foreign tourism has revived the use of English on the islands. The standard English taught in schools is British English. The presence of migrants from continental Colombia and the travel of young islanders to cities like Barranquilla, Cartagena de Indias and Bogotá for higher education has contributed to the presence of Spanish. However, the interest in preserving the Creole has become very important for locals and Colombians in general. There has been an effort to offer multilingual education in San Andrés and Providencia which includes all three languages.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ San Andrés and Providencia Creole at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Ethnologue report for language code: icr". SIL International. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  3. ^ Ronald Morren. 2010. Trilingual education: On the Islands of San Andres, Providence, and Santa Catalina. In Bettina Migge, Isabelle Léglise and Angela Bartens (eds.), Creoles in Education: An appraisal of current programs and projects, pp. 297–322. John Benjamins Publishing.

External linksEdit