Spanish Creole

From Academic Kids

A number of Creole languages are based on the Spanish language.


Spanish Creole languages

List of Spanish-based Creole languages:


Chavacano (also Chabacano) is a Spanish-based Creole spoken in the Philippines. The name of the language stems from the Spanish word Chabacano, which according to most Spanish dictionaries is defined as meaning "vulgar", "of poor taste", "grotesque" or "nasty".

According to a 1990 census, there are 292,630 speakers. It is the major language of Zamboanga City. Chavacano is also spoken in parts of Sabah, Malaysia nearest to the Philippines.

The vocabulary comes from the Spanish language, while the grammar is mostly based on indigenous structures. It is used in primary education, television and radio.

It is still intelligible to Spanish speakers. However, English words are infiltrating the language.

For more information see the article Chavacano, or link to Chavacano ( Ethnologue report on Chavacano.


Palenquero (also Palenque) is a Spanish-based Creole spoken in Colombia.

The ethnic group which speaks this Creole consists only of 2,500 people, as of 1989.

It is spoken in Colombia, in the village of San Basilio de Palenque which is south and east of Cartagena, and in some neighborhoods of Barranquilla.

The village was formed by escaped slaves (Maroons) and sometimes Native Americans. Since many slaves had not been subjected to a lot of contact with white people, the palenqueros spoke Creole languages from Spanish language and their African ones.

Spanish speakers are unable to understand Palenquero. There are some influences from Kongo in Democratic Republic of Congo. A 10% of the population of age under 25 years speaks Palenquero, as of 1998. Most common to the elderly.

For more information see Palenquero ( Ethnologue report on Palenquero.

Hawaiian Pidgin

Hawaiian Pidgin is creole spoken in Hawaii. It has Spanish words, but not considered a Spanish creole, because there are only a few and it is a substrate language. It is originally an English creole.


Yanito is spoken in Gibraltar. It is mostly derived from Spanish and English.

Spanish-influenced Creole languages


Papiamento or Papiamentu is a Creole language spoken by 359,000 people.

Primarily spoken in Netherlands Antilles by 179,000 people (as of 1998) and Aruba by 100,000 people (as of 2004).

This Creole is reportedly becoming more similar to Spanish language as the time passes, but it is originally a Portuguese Creole.

Because of the similarities of both Iberian languages, it is difficult to ascertain where a certain feature came from, after the adaptation to Papiamento rules.

For more information see Papiamentu ( Ethnologue report on Papiamentu.

For a discussion about the origins of this language see [1] (

Fá d'Ambô

The Creole of the island of Ano Bom (Equatorial Guinea) acknowledged as Falar de Ano Bom (Fá d'Ambô or even Fla d'Ambu) is analogous to the Portuguese Creole Forro, spoken by 9,000 people in Ano Bom and Fernando Póo Islands. In fact, Fá d'Ambô is derived from Forro as it shares the same structure (82% of lexicon). In the 15th century, the island was uninhabited and discovered by Portugal but, by the 18th century, Portugal exchanged it and some other territories in Africa for Uruguay with Spain. Spain wanted to get territory in Africa, and Portugal wanted to enlarge even more the territory that they saw as the “New Portugal” (Brazil). Nevertheless, the populace of Ano Bom was against the shift and was hostile toward the Spaniards. This hostility, combined with the isolation of mainland Equatorial Guinea and the proximity of São Tomé and Príncipe — just 400 km from the island — has assured the maintenance of its identity.

Fá d'Ambô has gained some words of Spanish origin (10% of lexicon), but some words are dubious in origin because Spanish and Portuguese are also based on the same language (Spoken Latin or Vulgar Latin).

Like Papiamento and Macaista Chapado, it is originally a Portuguese Creole with some borrowings from Spanish.

See also: History of Equatorial Guinea

Spanish-influenced indigenous languages

Most languages indigenous to regions that came into contact with Spaniards are deeply influenced by the Spanish language. These languages include Tagalog of the Philippines, Chamorro of Guam, and most noticeably the indigenous languages of the Americas, in particular Quechua and Guaraní. All of these, however, are NOT creole languages. Apart from the generous borrowings from Spanish and various other languages, they remain fundamentally native in grammar and lexicon.


Chamorro (also Tjamoro) is a Spanish-influenced language spoken by about 78,000 people in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. According to a 1991 publication, 62,500 of the speakers live in Guam, which is roughly half the population, while research conducted in 1990 puts the number of speakers in the Northern Mariana islands at 14,205.

Linguistically, Chamorro belongs to the Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family of languages.

It is taught at the University of Guam. Some Bible portions have been translated into Chamorro.

For more information see Chamorro ( Ethnologue report on Chamorro.


Tagalog, which is the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Philippines, has adopted into its vocabulary a large number of words from Spanish. Other indigenous languages in the Philippines, such as Cebuano, have significantly also absorbed Spanish words.

Like Chamorro, Tagalog belongs to the Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family of languages.

Most often the words adopted referred to foreign concepts such as the names of the days of the week and the names of months; such as the word Huwebes (Spanish, Jueves meaning Thursday) and Mayo (Spanish, Mayo meaning May). The Spanish decimals are also often used for counting currency, revealing one's age or telling time.

This adoption of words also gave rise to the curious phenomenon of two or more words referring to the same concept. For instance, the Tagalog word for chair is either the native upuan or the Spanish-based silya (from silla); or the word for city can be the native lungsod or syudad (Spanish, ciudad).

Here is an sample sentence: In Spanish, "Can you turn on the fan by the window?" is "¿Puede encender el ventilador de la ventana?", in Tagalog, it is "Puwede (puede) buksan ang bentilador (ventilador)na malapit sa bintana (ventana).

Tagalog became the basis of the Philippines' national language, Filipino.


Quechua was the official language of the Tahuantinsuyu, or Inca empire, which spanned through modern-day southern Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, northwestern Argentina and northern Chile. It is still spoken by many of the remaining Native Americans still inhabiting these countries and by some of the natives of Brazil.

Quechua has experienced 500 years of Spanish influence, and when listening to monolingual speakers of Quechua talk, one can hear the use of Spanish jargon and verbs interspersed among the rest of their expressions. Many Spanish verbs are even expressed using Quechua conjugations, such as "parlanichik".

A great volume of Spanish words have been absorbed into Quechua, and often expressions used are blatantly Spanish, such as; "Las once de la mañana-kama" [until eleven o’clock in the morning] which is pure Spanish except for the -kama suffix (meaning until).

Hundreds upon hundreds of Spanish words were Quechuanized and integrated into the Quechuan language. Many of these borrowings were words describing foreign concepts, as was the case for the reason of borrowings by other native languages.

Some Quechuan dialects contain more Spanish borrowings than others, but all nonetheless have generous quantities of Spanish words, verbs, idioms and expression.

Borrowings in the core lexicon of Quechua have led to there being more than one word for the same object or concept. Consequently, one may here speakers of Quechua use either form. The choice of word for brother in Quechua can be either the native "tura" or "irmanu" (Spanish, hermano); the word forty can be the native "tawa chunka" or "kwarenta" (Spanish, cuarenta); the word for day can be "p'unchay" or "dia" (Spanish día); understand can be "jamut'ay" or "intyendiy" (Spanish, entender).

Most Quechuan dialects rival, while others far surpass, the number of Spanish borrowings that can be found in Tagalog or the other indigenous languages influenced by Spanish.

Some Quechuan words of Spanish origin:

  • trigu - wheat (from trigo)
  • abugadu - lawyer (from abogado)
  • jirmay - to sign (from firmar)
  • irmanu - brother (from hermano)
  • taita - father, dad (from Old Spanish taita)
  • intyendiy - to understand (from enteder)
  • pasay - to pass (from pasar)
  • plata - money, silver (from plata)
  • keday - to stay (from quedar)
  • piedey - to lose (from perder)
  • burru - donkey (from burro)
  • bwenu - well (from bueno, good)
  • porke - because (from porque)
  • pero - but (from pero)
  • aun - even so (from aún)
  • filiadu - affiliated (from afiliado)
  • entós, tóns - then (from entonces)
  • puis, ps - then (from pues)
  • dyiáy ka? - so what?, what else! (from ¿de ahí qué?)
  • awra ka? - now what? (from ¿ahora qué?)
  • tóns ka? - then what? what else! (from ¿entonces qué?)

Mamani Patiguana (2001) while studying the influence of Spanish on Quechua discerned;

"La lengua quechua ha ido poco a poco castellanizándose. Algunos quechuahablantes han conservado gran parte de su propio vocabulario, pero en otros muchos aspectos han cambiado de tal manera que parecen más castellano."

English translation: "The Quechuan langauge has been hispanicized little by little. Some Quechuan-speakers have maintained a great part of their own vocabulary, but among many others aspects have changed so significantly that they sound more like Spanish."

If there is an indigenous language that has more Spanish borrowings than Quechua it is another Native American language, also spoken in South America, the Guaraní langauge.



Ladino is not a creole but an independent evolution of the Medieval Castilian language historically spoken by Sephardic Jews in Southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It is mostly based on Spanish, with influences of Hebrew, French, Greek, Turkish, Arabic and the South Slavic languages.

See also

External link

  • RAE ( Real Academia Española.

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