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paper presented at the summer meeting of the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics

June 19, 2007, University of Amsterdam

Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


David B. Frank
SIL International
david_frank@sil.org
1. Introduction to the Kwyl Dictionary.

Figure 1: Sample from Kwyl Dictionary.


Features of the Kwyl Dictionary (2002):

about 4000 Kwyl English entries


English Kwyl index
Introduction to the writing system
Published by the St. Lucia Ministry of Education
Etymologies

2. Vocabulary of French Origin.


The great majority of the words of St. Lucian Creole clearly come from French. In the dictionary
database, there are about 3520 different lexemes with distinct etymologies. Of these, about 2950
can be confidently linked to a French source, which amounts to about 84%. This number should
be higher once more etymologies can be identified.
St. Lucian Creole has a smaller, simpler more symmetrical phonology than French has. French
has both rounded and unrounded front vowels while French Creole has only the unrounded set of
front vowels. Also, French has a schwa vowel, which French Creole lacks.

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary

Similarly, the French Creole set of consonant phonemes has fewer phonemes than the French set
of phonemes, and is more symmetrical. Particularly, French Creole lacks the French r, which has
merged with the w before the nucleus of a syllable and is non-existent postvocalically.
bilabial

labiodental

alveolar

postpalatal
alveolar

velar

plosive vl

vd

nasal

fricative vl

vd

uvular

lateral

Table 1: French consonants


front unrd

front rd

back rd

Table 2: French semivowels


front
unrd rd
close

close-mid

open-mid

open

centr

back
unrd rd

front
unrd rd

close

close-mid

open-mid

back
unrd rd

open

oral

centr

nasal
Table 3: French vowels

Since French Creole has a simpler, more symmetrical phonological system than French has,
some of the French vowels are combined in the corresponding Creole words. Specifically, the
French front close rounded and unrounded vowels /i/ and /y/ correspond to only one French
Creole vowel /i/, which is unrounded. Thus French lutter is lit (/lite/) in its Creole counterpart.
Similarly the French front close-mid rounded and unrounded vowels /e/ and // are manifested as
/e/ in St. Lucian Creole, as in French nud and Creole n (/ne/). And the distinction between the
French front open-mid rounded and unrounded vowels /e/ and // is neutralized in French
Creole, as in French fleur and French Creole fl (/fl/).

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary

St. Lucian French Creole lacks a schwa sound, and in the French Creole words that correspond to
French words that have a schwa sound in them, the choice of a Creole vowel to replace the
schwa tends to come from harmony with a vowel in the next syllable, as in French genou and
Creole /junu/, French menner and Creole /mn/, French debout and Creole /dubut/, French
demain and Creole /dm/, French peser and Creole /peze/, French vinir and Creole /vini/, and
French jeter and Creole /ete/.
bilabial

labiodental

alveolar

postalveolar

velar

plosive vl

vd

nasal
fricative vl

vd

lateral

Table 4: St. Lucian Creole consonants


front unrd

back rd

retroflex

voiceless

Table 5: St. Lucian Creole semivowels


front centr back
unrd unrd
rd

front centr back


unrd unrd
rd

close

close

close-mid

close-mid

open-mid

open-mid

open

open

Table 6: St. Lucian Creole vowels


St. Lucian Creole has an English r sound only in a few words of English origin, and it also has an
/h/ from words that derive from French but are no longer pronounced in French with the /h/, as in
Creole /huma/ from French homard.
Table 1 gives a sample of St. Lucian Creole words that are derived from French.1 This table
contains only lexical items for which a French source was identified after the Kwyl Dictionary
went to press.2 The majority of the lexical entries in the dictionary are already associated with a

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary

specific French etymon. In the data presented here, etymologies marked with a question mark are
tentative.
abousak
anbazoudi
anfen
anjlen
anl
anmwdan
anmwd
anmitan (var: nanmitan)
annaf
annkout
annd
ansazinay
antjt
antwanp
anyen
anyenditou
apwentman
asou
awali
ayf
ba (var: bay, ban)
baboutjt
baby
balanswin
bannbouden
bas
batmanntj
bawad
bazou
btaf
btannipy
bd
bouchonnen
boug
bouko
boulon
boulw
bwadn
bwanch
bwas
bwiz
byennw
byennf
chennt
chy
dachin
dfini
dfouk
dkal
dkoud
dkwiy
dmaw
Denmou
dpal
dpat
dpay
dvid
dwanjman
dzagwman
dzyenman

[< Fr. havresac]


[< Fr. abasourdir]
[< Fr. enfen]
[< Fr. angelin]
[< Fr. en lair]
[< Fr. emmerdant]
[< Fr. emmerder]
[< Fr. en mitan]
[< Fr. en affaires]
[< Fr. lcoute]
[< Fr. en ordre]
[< Fr. assassinat]
[< Fr. inquite]
[< Fr. en trempe?]
[< Fr. rien]
[< Fr. rien du tout]
[< Fr. appointement?]
[< Fr. au-dessus?]
[< Fr. aralie]
[< Fr. fe]
[< Fr. bailler]
[< Fr. barbichette?]
[< Fr. babiller]
[< Fr. balanoire?]
[< Fr. bande boudin]
[< Fr. batte?]
[< Fr. battement coeur]
[< Fr. barrage?]
[< Fr. bajoue]
[< Fr. bte feu]
[< Fr. bte mille pieds?]
[< Fr. border?]
[< Fr. bouchonner?]
[< Fr. bougre]
[< Fr. boucaut]
[< Fr. boulon]
[< Fr. bouilleur]
[< Fr. bois du nord]
[< Fr. brancher]
[< Fr. brasse]
[< Fr. briser]
[< Fr. bien heureux]
[< Fr. bien effet? bien fait?]
[< Fr. chanette?]
[< Fr. chier]
[< Fr. chou de Chine]
[< Fr. dfinir?]
[< Fr. fourcher]
[< Fr. dcaler?]
[< Fr. dcoudre]
[< Fr. dcrier]
[< Fr. dmarrer]
[< Fr. dmon]
[< Fr. dparler]
[< Fr. dpartir?]
[< Fr. dpailler]
[< Fr. vider?]
[< Fr. drangement]
[< Fr. dsagrment]
[< Fr. deuximement]

divin
djanmt
djp
djt
dol
dolot
dont
dousman
dowad
dw
dwiv
chofi
pi (var: , p)
spwsman
z
fs
fig
fiziw
fo
fouk
flanman
flch
founi
fwisi
gad
gg
gg
gwafiyen
gwanpapa
gwennd
Gwozil
gwozm
hal (var: lahal)
hap
hl
jak
jan
j
js
jw
jiwf
kabow
kad
kal
kalson
kandi
katjil
kavaly
kawton
kay (var: kaz)
kay
kf
kf
konsv
kt
koupay
koutwiyz (var: koutiyz)
kouv
kwaby (var: kaby)
kwas

[< Fr. devineur]


[< Fr. diametre?]
[< Fr. gupe]
[< Fr. guetter]
[< Fr. doler]
[< Fr. dorloter]
[< Fr. dompter]
[< Fr. doucement]
[< Fr. dorade]
[< Fr. devoir]
[< Fr. driver]
[< Fr. chauffure]
[< Fr. et puis?]
[< Fr. expressment]
[< Fr. ais]
[< Fr. fesser]
[< Fr. figue]
[< Fr. fusiller]
[< Fr. faut]
[< Fr. fourchet?]
[< Fr. flambant]
[< Fr. flcher]
[< Fr. fourni]
[< Fr. fressure]
[< Fr. gardeur?]
[< Fr. grog < Eng. grog]
[< Fr. grogeur?]
[< Fr. gratigner?]
[< Fr. grand-papa]
[< Fr. graine d?]
[< Fr. gros let]
[< Fr. gros homme]
[< Fr. halle]
[< Fr. happer]
[< Fr. hurler]
[< Fr. Jacques]
[< Fr. gens]
[< Fr. jarre?]
[< Fr. geste]
[< Fr. grant?]
[< Fr. girofle]
[< Fr. cabrouet]
[< Fr. quart dheure]
[< Fr. caler]
[< Fr. caleons]
[< Fr. candir]
[< Fr. calcul]
[< Fr. cavalier]
[< Fr. carton]
[< Fr. case]
[< Fr. cueil?]
[< Fr. coffre]
[< Fr. coffre-fort]
[< Fr. conserver]
[< Fr. quart]
[< Fr. coupe-paille?]
[< Fr. couturire]
[< Fr. couver]
[< Fr. crabier]
[< Fr. crasse]

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


kwatj
kwiyot
-la (var: -a, -lan, -an)
labouw
labouw
ladmi
laj
lakay
lakopwann
lald
lalwas
lalw
landji
Langlit
lansman
Lapankt
lapy
lapid
laplas
lapwiz
las
latily
lawonn
Lawz
lgzanm
lpini
lsisyon
limy
lo
loch
lg
lgy (var: logy)
lj
ljman
major
makouchat
makoum
malis
malkadi
malotj
manmay
manml
manmot
mantz
masonn
masonnen
mat
maty
mawonn
mlanj
menanmen
mennaj
mily
monseny
mouli
nditan
ngws
ntaman
ni
odj
ogwf
olt
otjipasyon
ou (var: w)

[< Fr. craquer]


[< Fr. cruaut]
[< Fr. la? l?]
[< Fr. labourer]
[< Fr. laboureur]
[< Fr. lendormi?]
[< Fr. largeur]
[< Fr. la case]
[< Fr. la comprendre?]
[< Fr. la laide]
[< Fr. lalos]
[< Fr. lalos?]
[< Fr. languir?]
[< Fr. lAngleterre]
[< Fr. lancement]
[< Fr. la pentecte]
[< Fr. la paye]
[< Fr. lapider]
[< Fr. la place de]
[< Fr. la prise]
[< Fr. lasse]
[< Fr. latelier?]
[< Fr. la ronde]
[< Fr. la rose]
[< Fr. lexamen]
[< Fr. lpine]
[< Fr. linstruction?]
[< Fr. lumire]
[< Fr. lot]
[< Fr. locher]
[< Fr. lorgue]
[< Fr. lorgueil]
[< Fr. loger]
[< Fr. logement]
[< Fr. majeur]
[< Fr. matou chat]
[< Fr. ma commre]
[< Fr. malice]
[< Fr. mal caduc]
[< Fr. mal au coeur]
[< Fr. marmaille?]
[< Fr. mamelle]
[< Fr. marmotter]
[< Fr. menteuse]
[< Fr. maonnage?]
[< Fr. maonner]
[< Fr. mater?]
[< Fr. matire]
[< Fr. marronne]
[< Fr. mlanger]
[< Fr. main main]
[< Fr. mnager]
[< Fr. milieu]
[< Fr. monseigneur]
[< Fr. moulu]
[< Fr. une heure de temps]
[< Fr. ngresse]
[< Fr. nettement]
[< Fr. tenir?]
[< Fr. au guet]
[< Fr. au greffe]
[< Fr. au lait]
[< Fr. occupation]
[< Fr. vous]

5
pasti
pawdonnab
pdant
penchen (var: penchennen)
penmi
penn
pennpis
pentiw
pt
pikpch
pikwa
pilotwi
pisannit
pla
plan
planch
planten
platin
plpl
plich
plk
po
pdjab
politik
ponmsit
potjiwasyon
potjiw
poulay
pwalin
pwchman
pwdik
pwlz
pwenti
pwvit
pwzidan
pwi
py
sangl
sanng
sant
s
Svsan
siltann
simwj
sitonnl
so
sonn
soudnon
Soufwiy (var: Soufouy)
sous
tablt
tap
t
tl
tibnad
tif
timi
tipo
tjatj
tjatjt
tjenb (var: tjb)
tjitjima
tch
tonton

[< Fr. pastille]


[< Fr. pardonnable]
[< Fr. perdant]
[< Fr. pincer]
[< Fr. pain mas]
[< Fr. peine]
[< Fr. pain pice]
[< Fr. peinturer]
[< Fr. pter]
[< Fr. piquer poche?]
[< Fr. picot?]
[< Fr. pilotis?]
[< Fr. pisser en nuit?]
[< Fr. plat]
[< Fr. plant]
[< Fr. planchier]
[< Fr. plantain?]
[< Fr. platine?]
[< Fr. peupler?]
[< Fr. plucher]
[< Fr. cloque?]
[< Fr. pot]
[< Fr. pauvre diable]
[< Fr. politique]
[< Fr. ponm cythre]
[< Fr. procuration]
[< Fr. procurer]
[< Fr. poulailler]
[< Fr. praline]
[< Fr. prche?]
[< Fr. prdicant?]
[< Fr. poileuse]
[< Fr. pointu]
[< Fr. priv]
[< Fr. prsident]
[< Fr. pris]
[< Fr. pied?]
[< Fr. sangler]
[< Fr. sangle]
[< Fr. senteur]
[< Fr. soeur]
[< Fr. St. Vincent]
[< Fr. sultane]
[< Fr. submerger?]
[< Fr. citronnelle]
[< Fr. saut]
[< Fr. sonde?]
[< Fr. surnom]
[< Fr. soufrire]
[< Fr. sourcire?]
[< Fr. tablette]
[< Fr. tape]
[< Fr. tait]
[< Fr. tel]
[< Fr. petit Bernard?]
[< Fr. tuff]
[< Fr. petit mas]
[< Fr. petites peaux]
[< Fr. traquer?]
[< Fr. traquet?]
[< Fr. tien bien]
[< Fr. curcuma]
[< Fr. torche]
[< Fr. tonton]

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


tou
toub
touf
toupatou
toutwl
twanblad
twap
twoubl (var: toubl)
vglay
vsl
vwtiv
vitman

[< Fr. tout]


[< Fr. trouble]
[< Fr. touffe]
[< Fr. tout partout]
[< Fr. tourterelle]
[< Fr. tremblade]
[< Fr. attraper]
[< Fr. troubler]
[< Fr. aveuglant?]
[< Fr. vaisselle]
[< Fr. vtiver]
[< Fr. vitement]

6
wabt
wafl
watjt
wilachman
wiplen
wondl
wonpi
wouz
yonn
zpon
zfi

[< Fr. wabt]


[< Fr. rafler?]
[< Fr. raquette]
[< Fr. relchement]
[< Fr. remplir?]
[< Fr. rondelle?]
[< Fr. rompu?]
[< Fr. arroser]
[< Fr. une]
[< Fr. les perons]
[< Fr. les orphies]

Table 7: Examples of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary of French Origin.


3. Vocabulary of English Origin.
In the St. Lucian Creole dictionary database, there were 100 words that were identified as having
come from English, which amounts to about 3% of the total. Only words were chosen for the
dictionary that were considered borrowed, and not words that might be considered foreign, even
though such English words might commonly be mixed in with Creole in normal conversation.
Note that while the borrowing of words from English and other languages into Creole usually
involves some phonological adaptation, at the same time this borrowing has had the effect of
extending the phonological inventory of Creole and of introducing more complex syllable
structures. Note also that it is difficult in certain cases to tell whether a Creole word comes from
English or from French (e.g. ddik, dsakw).
akennsin
amn
bak
baka
bann
bk
blibann
bsin
bol
bway
chd
chlen
ddik
dsakw
diwkt
djal
djip
djb
djn
djs
dla
drayv
kstr
fak
faktri
fama
fas
fatpk
fpl (var: fypl)
fiml
fridj
fwiy (var: fwy)
hlsenta
ilkt

[< Eng. Atkinson]


[< Eng. amen]
[< Eng. back]
[< Eng. backer]
[< Eng. band]
[< Eng. bake]
[< Eng. belly band]
[< Eng. basin]
[< Eng. bowl]
[< Eng. boy]
[< Eng. shade]
[< Eng. shilling]
[< Eng. dedicate?]
[< Eng. desecrate?]
[< Eng. direct?]
[< Eng. girl]
[< Eng. Jeep]
[< Eng. job]
[< Eng. John?]
[< Eng. just]
[< Eng. dollar]
[< Eng. drive]
[< Eng. x-ray]
[< Eng. fork]
[< Eng. factory]
[< Eng. farmer]
[< Eng. fast]
[< Eng. fat pork?]
[< Eng. fair play?]
[< Eng. female]
[< Eng. fridge]
[< Eng. fear?]
[< Eng. health center]
[< Eng. elect]

ka
kanml
kanp
kapa
kas
ks
klvt
konpyouta
krk
krikt
layt
mannwa
mistk
mitin
motoka
nati
nlaj
ns
pann
pannl
panyt
papicho
pennsil
pitj
plasta
plg
pln
pon
pt
pwotkt (var: potkt)
radyo
rkd
roro
salvasyon

[< Eng. care]


[< Eng. camel]
[< Eng. camp]
[< Eng. copper]
[< Eng. cask]
[< Eng. case]
[< Eng. culvert]
[< Eng. computer]
[< Eng. correct]
[< Eng. cricket]
[< Eng. light]
[< Eng. man-of-war]
[< Eng. mistake]
[< Eng. meeting]
[< Eng. motor car]
[< Eng. natty]
[< Eng. knowledge]
[< Eng. nurse]
[< Eng. pan]
[< Eng. panel]
[< Eng. pint]
[< Eng. puppet show]
[< Eng. pencil]
[< Eng. pitch]
[< Eng. plaster]
[< Eng. plague]
[< Eng. plane]
[< Eng. pound sterling]
[< Eng. porter]
[< Eng. protect]
[< Eng. radio]
[< Eng. record]
[< Eng. row]
[< Eng. salvation]

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


[< Eng. Ira D. Sankey]
[< Eng. side]
[< Eng. sincere]
[< Eng. Saint John]
[< Eng. square]
[< Eng. slack]
[< Eng. station]
[< Eng. swing]
[< Eng. sweetie]
[< Eng. tax]
[< Eng. tomatoes]
[< Eng. tyre]
[< Eng. tape]
[< Eng. testify?]
[< Eng. team]
[< Eng. tin]

sanngki
sayd
sensy
sentdjn
skw
slak
stchann
swing
switi
taks
tanmadz
taya
tp
tstify
tim
tin

7
ting
titj
titja
tiyta
tjiki
tjok
tjkanblk
tou
trakta
trk
Trinidad
vann
waya
wivlva
wf
yis (var: is)

[< Eng. thing]


[< Eng. teach]
[< Eng. teacher]
[< Eng. theatre]
[< Eng. cheeky]
[< Eng. choked]
[< Eng. chockablock]
[< Eng. too]
[< Eng. tractor]
[< Eng. truck]
[< Eng. Trinidad]
[< Eng. van]
[< Eng. wire]
[< Eng. revolver]
[< Eng. wharf]
[< Eng. yeast]

Table 8: St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary of English Origin.


4. Vocabulary of Indian Origin.
Most of the few words in St. Lucian Creole of Indian origin have to do with cuisine: dal (Hindi),
dalpouri, goulgoula, gwodja, kirou, kri (Tamil), mango (Tamil), roti (Hindi), sohari and talkari.
There are also two words, kouli [< Hindi ql hired servant] and dogla [< Hindi dogalaa
hybrid], that have to do with ethnicity.3
5. Vocabulary of African Origin.4
akwa
banndjo
btj
bonda
bouki
da
djabal
djouk

[< Yoruba akara]


[< Kimbundu mbanza]
[< Igbo beke]
[< Bambara boda]
[< Wolof buki hyena]
woman who holds [< Ewe da mother, older
baby in baptism
sister]
concubine
[< Wolof djabar]
to poke
[< Fulani jukka]
fried fish batter
banjo
white person
buttocks
country person

flo
gonbo
ka
makak
mlky
moumou
nannan
twen
yanm

hollow
okra
prog. aspect
monkey
tortoise
unable to speak
inside
quarrel
yam

[< Fulani floflo spongy, loose]


[< Bantu gombo]
[< Mende ka continually?]
[< Kikongo makaku]
[< Kikongo moolo + Fr. corps?]
[< Twi mumu]
[< Igbo na]
[< Twi tw]
[< Mende yam]

Table 9: St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary of African Origin.


6. Vocabulary of Amerindian Origin.
agouti
balawou
boutou
kako
kali
kannawi
kasav
kayal
kay
kayman
lbich

type of rodent
type of fish
club
cacao
net on pole
clay pot
cassava
egret, heron
rock
cayman
sifter for farine

[< Carib]
[< Carib balau]
[< Carib]
[< Nahuatl kakawatl]
[< Carib]
[< Carib kanli]
[< Arawak kasbi]
[< Carib kayali]
[< Arawak kayo]
[< Carib kaymn]
[< Carib]

mabwiya
maho
manng
mannikou
manyk
mi
patat
touloulou
zabka
zagaya
zanndoli

gecko
mahogany
mangrove
opossum
cassava
corn
potato
type of crab
avocado
type of crab
type of lizard

[< Arawak maboya]


[< Arawak maho]
[< Arawak mangle]
[< Carib]
[< Tupi mandioka]
[< Arawak mahiz]
[< Arawak batata]
[< Carib tururu]
[< Fr. les + Nahuatl awakatl]
[< Fr. les + Carib agaya]
[< Fr. les + Carib anoli]

Table 10: St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary of Amerindian Origin.


7. Vocabulary of Spanish or Portuguese Origin.
A small number of words in St. Lucian Creole seem to be of Spanish or Portuguese origin:
bljenn
kalabous
kwatro

eggplant
jail
a type of guitar

[< Sp. berenjena? Port. berinjela?]


[< Sp. calabozo? Port. calabouo?]
[< Sp. cuatro? Port. quatro?]

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


sapat

sandal

8
[< Sp. zapato? Port. sapato?]

Table 11: St. Lucian Kwyl Vocabulary of Spanish Origin.


8. Vocabulary of Unknown Origin.
Below is a list of St. Lucian Creole lexical items for which the etymological source cannot be
determined precisely. Of these, some obviously come from a French source but a precise French
form that would account for the Kwyl form cannot be found (e.g. anklwant, finisman,
hayisans, klw, etc.). Many of these probably do not come from a French source.
abb (var: aboubou)
afon
agalo
agouman
akow
alimans (var: aliman)
alkoupa
anbadjo
anbwennzenng
andjl [cf. Fr. gueule]
andji
ankay
anklwant [cf. Fr. clair]
anmiyonnen
annk (var: annik)
annkz [cf. Fr. cause]
anpany
apl
atik
avous
awa
babadin [< Sp. barbado?]
babawen
bak
bak
balanmin
bandja
bantj
bay (var: labay)
bazoudi
bdji
btjin
bw
bidim
bita
bitasyon
blad
bo
bobans
bbl
bblis
bonm
bsko
boukan
boukant
boukousou
boul
boula
boulk
bous
bousay
bousl

retarded and dumb


embarrassed
leatherback turtle
type of plant
to brace
beside
type of worm medicine
many, much
unproductively busy
to shout
rather than
to stick
shiny
to coax, to cajole
just
to cause
in pieces, in shreds
may, might
ingredient
temperamental
No! Oh no!
type of fruit
goatfish
river crab
water trough
digging tool
wild yam
filth
manger
stunned, dazed
amazed, astonished
barracuda
to overdo
enormous
together
countryside, estate
bladder
kiss
to spend wildly
fraud, trickery
swindler
bucket
lop-sided
pile of debris
to exchange
type of pea
clot, lump
homosexual man
unintelligible utt.
queen triggerfish
leaves in water
swelling bumps

bwanhany
bway (var: bwy)
bwennen
bwi
bwigo
chadt
chadon (var: chadwon)
chal
chalbawi
chatou
chs
chik
chinya (var: chiya, chiyan)
chiz
chwichwi
danma
davwa
dayann (var: dayonn)
dd
dfiltw
dgliz
dgb
dkatj
dkdk
denmi
dvagond (var: dvgond)
dviwan (var. viwan)
dimoty
dja
djapanna [< Eng. Japan?]
djari
djt
djwt
djoup
doukw
dwi
dwivayz [cf. Fr. driver]
dwiyt
pawlab
fal
fanmchay
fap (var: faps)
fman
filaylonm
finisman [cf. Fr. finir]
fiyonnen
flandj
fs
fouben
fout
fouy
fwidj

barren
gills
to twitch, to fidget
star apple
whelk, sea snail
shaddock
sea urchin
torch
to ridicule
octopus
squid
hookworm sore
apt to cry easily
disagreement
to whisper
taro
because
med. for bedbugs
goodbye
to remove stitch
to mar
to chip
to cut into parts
retarded person
to sprain
very bad person
return
sharing cow
accident, collision
type of bush med.
plastic sandal
brace for a pole
joy
directly, straight
just enough
often
wanderer, loafer
traditional dress
speechless
crop, craw
midwife
intensifier
weapon
syrup added to rum
end, finish
to scoff, to ridicule
to slit
mound
bold, brave
to hit, to strike
3 rocks to cook on
banyan tree

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


fyl
gad
gagawouz
gaj
galba
gal
gal
gal
ganm
ganm
gawoul
glanglan
gliglinglas
go
gb
gb
gob (var: gb)
gl
glt
gouj
groum (var: gloum, kroum)
gwaj
gwaj
gwaten
gwatjanm
gwennen
gwigwi
gwiji
gwiyen
gwon
hanni
hanswa (var: hansouwa)
hap
hayisans [cf. Fr. haine]
hdi (var: wdi)
ich
[< Sp. hijo?]
jalap
jaw
jaw
jennton
jiby
jijw
jb
jon
kab
kabws [cf. Fr. cabri]
kabwiya
kachiman
kagou
kakan
kakl
kal
kalandj
kalim
kalkanda
kalkati
kalj
kamo
kan
kangowi
kankroum
kanmad
kanmanmi
kannik

jar
incurable sore
to gargle
to do witchcraft
type of tree
marked from sores
to plane
plane
figure, body
to dress up
to enjoy oneself
cheap jewelry
type of grass
penny
chip
to chip
to evesdrop
robe, gown
pole for gathering fruit
type of vegetable
stage of dasheen
grater
to grate
stewed green papaya
calf of leg
to peel
type of palm tree
to abrade
to grin, to grimace
horseshoe nail
to bray
sickle
to bark
hatred
to pull, to pick up
child
medicine used as purge
calf muscle
to shame
June bug
bird
much less
cigarette paper
reed
temporary shelter
young girl
snare for animals
custard apple
dazed, stunned
oxbow
delay
penis
to dawdle
type of grass
type of rooster sickness
exaggerated storytelling
cage
type of fish
crease
millipede
cartilage
bow-legged
type of bush medicine
type of pod

9
kannitil
kaponnen
kast
katalzm
katin
katjt
kawanng
kawt
kaws
kawouj
kay [< ka + al?]
kaya
kils
kilibwi (var: koulibwi)
kiliyou (var: kiliwou)
klaklak (var: krakrak)
klw [cf. Fr. clair]
kochi
kodenn
kkma
koko
kkt
kolonm
klonng
konbs
konms
konmkwki
konng
konpawzon
kst
kotjen
kotji
koubawi
koudoum
kounoumounou
koutja
kouws
kouyon
kouyontwi
kviy
kwapon
kwennad
kwennen (var: kwiyennen)
kwenst
kwi
kyanng
laba
lablanni [cf. Fr. blanchir]
lad
ladj
ladjidjit
lagroup
lak
lakwenn
lapatouch
lapti
lapit
las
latanny
latjt
lchanlib (var: chanlib)
ll
lpvy
libenn

hot season
to grab
helmet
type of bush medicine
black widow spider
leg
amberjack fish
tool for stirring farine
cart
type of bird
future time marker
marijuana
which
hummingbird
type of fish
locust
to shine
crooked
turkey
supernatural being
shoot, sprout
vagina of child
overseer
dawdling
rival for attention
mess
as though
moray eel
presumptuous
to dock
dishonest, cheating
gambling game
type of tree
cliff, precipice
fool
shy
type of snake
foolish
foolishness
to twist
cowardly
deceiver
to deceive
to crowd
calabash bowl
overripe dasheen
dawn
to bleach
leprosy
to drop, to let go
diarrhea
mumps
bait
fried pork rind
complete destruction
sake of
sisal
to stop, to cease
broom tree
offering
liberty, freedom
fool
cast net
argument

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


lifon
lim
lim (var: limy)
limou
lk
lol
lolo
loposyon
lota
loukou
ly
mach
mafwz
majl
makanbou (var: makabou)
makwisti
malanga
malenng
malfini [< mal + fini?]
malobi
Man
mandyan
manm
manstip
Manz
mapou
mastif
matenm
matt
matoutou
mawisos
maygwen
mayhont
ml
mltwi
ms
mtsin
mw
My2
migannen
mik
mtl
mouben
mouchas
moukl
mwenk
mwennson
mwzi
nennenn
nyak
bzki
oti
oukou
owa
pachpach
pakouw [cf. Fr. parcourir]
palanma
palapata
palaviw
panti
pantoufouy
pap
pasdwa
paswa

shrewdness, cunning
file
pus
moss, algae
oil used as purge
to wriggle
penis
asthma
vitiligo
porridge of cassava flour
mile
go away
to bewitch
dewlap of lizard
type of plantain
castor oil plant
wild tanya
sore that doesnt heal
chicken hawk
porridge of white flour
Mistress (title)
freeloader
muscle
to take advantage of
Mistress (title)
type of tree
hard, tough
enormous
porridge of cassava flour
tarantula
dragonfly
mosquito
creeping mimosa
whetstone
to soften
manners
purge
nun
Mistress (title)
to crush
damp
type of tree
hog plum
starch
click beetle
not a word
type of bird
soft (in ref. to dry foods)
godmother
overripe (dasheen)
out of shape
to pay a visit
type of tree
to the brim
second-rate
womanizer
screwpine
babbler
slap
hinge
hammerhead shark
porridge of white flour
injustice
sieve, strainer

10
pati
patjit
pawsad
pawsad
pdwi
pifw
pij
pipirit
pitjwit
pito
plich
plotonnen
pk
pstim
poulbwa
pwy
pwl
pyanmpyanm
pyay
pyt
pyton
pyon
sa
sali
sapant
s
slwa
slwat
senm
sp
ss
[cf. Fr. soeur]
sw
swen
Swnal
simy
sit
sitway
sivotj
siwt
siwik
siyz
[cf. Fr. scier]
sb
soud [cf. Fr. sourd]
soumach
soumatj
soutiwz [cf. Fr. soutirer]
soutni
sw...ben (var: swt...ben)
tach
tak
tak
tan
taza
tk
tenk
tson
ttenm
twin
tibwen
tich
til
tilapiya
tim tim
tiyl

penis
purse, money bag
wattle
to wattle
wild dove
to comb (cotton)
to squeeze
grey kingbirg
spotted sandpiper
rather than
beating
to dishevel, to disarrange
withered
to form pus
wood ant
white cedar tree
batch of cassava flour
so-so
to do obeah on
to exert oneself
balance
knobs (in draughts)
can, to be able
to prime (in painting)
type of bush medicine
pluralizer
wicked
wickedness
snow peas
to cut (brush)
sister
to hide
dew
Christmas celebration
to prefer
to hiss
aggravated, annoyed
to nauseate
gooseberry
blue crab
type of cactus
type of fish
deaf person
to sweeten
type of plant
accomplice
snack
eitheror
school of fish
stem
a bit
such and such an amount
king mackeral
to play marbles
well-matched
coal pot
brain-damaged
clay pot
some (of)
rib of coconut frond
chicken wire
type of fish
intro. of riddle
type of bush medicine

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary


tizing
tjatja
tjenbwa
tjenbwat
tjikilik
tjiktjik
tjipi
tjo
tj
tolin
toloman
tonnl
toubonnman
twisay
va
valowab [cf. Fr. valeur]
vap
vapon
vaw
vaykivay
vbl
vn
vyen
vivi
vizou
vonvon
vonvonn

some
type of fish
obeah
obeah man
to tickle
type of bird
to embarrass, to shame
pig call
piece
small frog
arrowroot
trellis
very much
to give chills
harpoon
valuable
moodiness
speed
to harpoon
carelessly
pimple
game of tag
grouper
envious
cane juice
bee
to buzz

11
vous
vout
wadenn
wavt
wawt
waz
wazy (var: wajy)
wpantisman [cf. Fr. rpentir]
wibot
wipiny
wivandz
wonkl
wonmy
[cf. Fr. rhum]
wonyen
yan
yenyen
zagwiyen
zam
zatolan
zgo
zen
zsant
zikak
zing
zy
zwi
zwit

moodiness
undercurrent
guinea pig
cockroach
seaweed
to the brim
grass, brush
repentance
to celebrate
to eat to satisfaction
vendor
to bellow
drunkard
crumb, scrap
quick exit
fruit fly
spider
crop
type of dove
ankle, hoof
fish hook
wooden shingle
type of fruit
to play marbles
peck
cricket
barnacle

Table 12: St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary for which a Specific Source Cannot Be Identified.
9. Summary.
The table and pie chart below summarize the findings with respect to sources for St. Lucian
Creole vocabulary. Of the total number of lexical items in the Kwyl dictionary database on
which the Kwyl Dictionary is based, the number of lexemes determined to have distinct
etymological sources was about 3520. Of this total, the overwhelming majority (about 84%) are
obviously or in a few cases, probably of French origin. The second most common source of
vocabulary is English, with about 3%. Note again that it is a matter of judgment to say when an
English word has become properly borrowed into the Kwyl language. Amerindian, African
and East Indian sources can be identified fairly clearly for roughly % of the total each. About
one tenth of one percent come from Spanish or French.
Language
French
English
Indian
African
Amerindian
Span./Port.
unknown

count
2950
100
12
17
22
4
415

percent adjusted
83.8 % 95.0 %
2.8 %
3.2 %
.4 %
.4 %
.5 %
.6 %
.6 %
.7 %
.1 %
.1 %
11.8 %
-----

Table 13: Percentages of the Various Languages Involved.

Frank, Sources of St. Lucian Creole Vocabulary

12

(unadjusted)

(adjusted)

Figure 2: Pie Charts Showing Proportions of Source Languages.


References
Aub-Buscher, Gertrud. 1989. African Survivals in the Lexicon of Trinidad French-Based Creole.
(SCL Occasional Paper no. 23.) St. Augustine: UWI.
Dalphinis, Morgan. 1985. Caribbean and African Languages: Social History, Language,
Literature and Education. London: Karia Press.
Frank, David (ed.). 2002. Kwyl Dictionary, compiled by Paul Crosbie, David Frank, Emanuel
Leon and Peter Samuel. Castries: St. Lucia Ministry of Education.
Parkvall, Mikael. n.d. Afrolex File. Unpublished ms.
Turner, Lorenzo Dow. 1949. Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press.

Notes:
1

The spellings of St. Lucian Creole in this paper are orthographic. The orthographic conventions used are described
in the preface to the Kwyl Dictionary.
2
Special thanks to the following for help in identifying French etymological sources for St. Lucian Creole lexical
items after the Kwyl Dictionary went to press: Lynn Frank, Mikael Parkvall, Paula Prescod, Nicolas Quint, Lise
Winer, and Henri Wittmann.
3
Thanks to Lise Winer for help with the Creole vocabulary with Indian, Amerindian and Spanish origin.
4
Thanks to Mikael Parkvall and Lise Winer for helping identify African sources for St. Lucian Creole vocabulary.
Special thanks to Parkvall for sharing his unpublished Afrolex File.