You are on page 1of 5

1

1.0 Historical background of Krio According to Arends et al (1995), Sierra Leonian Creole is a long-established Creole language of about five hundred thousand native speakers (L1) and three and half million second language (L2) speakers. It is commonly known as Krio and was to have creolized probably around 1600. However, we believe that it creolized much later around the 1800 which was around the time the free slaves were settled in a place later called Freetown. It is believed that pidgin in Sierra Leone emerged when the Portuguese sailors started trading in West Africa around the 1400s to the mid 1600s. The English Creole that emerged from this pidgin shows the influence of these Portuguese sailors and their language. Examples of varieties of such words are: 1. Krio - Crioulo (Negro born in his masters house) Kitul (bucket) quintal (weight or measure) US Peace Corps Manual in Krio (1985) However, according to Fyle and Jones (1980), the name Krio is from the Yoruba word, a kiri yo which literally means to go about aimlessly satisfied meaning those who habitually pay visit to others after church as the Krios were known for. When the British took over the Sierra Leonian coast it was believed that there was a rapid pidginization of the Portuguese pidgin with English Mlhusler (1997).

The trade along the West African coast was not only in goods but also in slaves. The slaves were taken to mainly the Americas and to Britain. The heterogeneity of

the slave people and languages limited access to the lexifier language involved led to the formation of pidgins in their regions of settlement. In 1807, British abolished the slave trade and freed slaves from the USA, Britain and the West Indies were settled in Sierra Leone. Their settling into Sierra Leone expanded the English Pidgin in structure and usage into a Creole. There are still some 17th and 18th century nautical terms which are still being used in Krio for example dek deck floor of a building (US Peace Corps Manual in Krio, 1985) and the dialectal English term for friend is padi. 2.0 The influence of African languages There is also evidence of words from other African languages in Krio vocabulary. US Peace Corps Manual in Krio, 1985, posits that the words are from twenty African languages. Some of them include the following: Yoruba kushe (greeting) - thank you for work gari - cassava meal Hausa Twi waala - trouble butu - bow down

ehnti? - not true? Mende pata - washing stick

Krio, like most African languages is tonal. Tones can bring about meaning changes between two seemingly similar words as can be seen below:

buli

- palm wine jug - bully (US Peace Corps, 1985).

buli

3.0 Syntax The structure of Krio sentences like most Creoles distinguishes it from pidgins. In this paper, we will discuss only word order, serial verb constructions and complementation in Krio. 3.1 Word order The word order of Krio is consistent with the basic word order of Creoles which is SVO which conforms also that of Kwa languages and English which are the languages involved in the genesis of the Creole. The example below depicts this word order: Olu fs di buk.

Olu fetch the book. Olu brought the book. ( Holms, 2000)

3.2.1 Serial verb constructions Comparative SVCs: According to Winford, (2003:33) Sierra Leonian Creole, like Caribbean English Creole, generally expresses comparison by an SVC where the second verb is a verb meaning pass eg.

Olu big pas

in

padi friend.

- Krio.

Olu big pass 3.POSS

Olu is bigger than his friend. (Holms, 2000) 3.2.2 Benefactive SVCs : According to Winford (2003:34) this SVC is one in which the second verb is give and introduces the recipient argument. The first verb connotes a sense of a direct transfer. Krio also makes use of give to introduce a recipient argument. Olu fs di buk gi me.

Olu fetch the book give me. Olu brought the book to me 3.3 Complementation: In Krio, factive complements are introduced by an item se which seems to be that in English. However, Holms (2000) expresses it as a serial verb which is the verb say meaning that. Others also believe it originates from the Akan verb se which means to say A yri se Olu de fs di buk kam.

I hear that Olu is bringing the book along. (Holms, 2000) 4.0 Conclusion: In conclusion, the Krio language has been largely influenced by other African languages not only in its structure but also its vocabulary. In addition, has also exerted much influence on other West African Pidgins notably Nigerian Pidgin English and Liberian Kru. Finally, the syntax of Krio is typical of other Creoles.

References: Fyle, Clifford & Jones, Eldred. 1980 . A Krio-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. U.S.A Peace Corps Manual in Krio. 1985. Holms, John 2000.An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge University Press. Mhlhusler, Peter (1997) Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, 2nd Edition, London: University of Westminster Press Arends, Jacques, Pieter, Muysken, & Norval, Smith (eds) (1995) Pidgins and creoles: An introduction (Creole Language Library 15) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Winford, Donald (2003) Contact Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell http://www.hawaii.edu/satocenter/lagnet/definitions/krio.html# bkgd 15/11/11.