Portuguese-based languages

Creoles of Portuguese lexical base

Portuguese lexical-based Creoles in America (2020) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Creoles from Brazil

1 Helvécia Creole

Creoles with strong Portuguese lexical influence

2 Saramacano (English base)
3 Aruba Papiamento (Iberian base)
4 Curacao
5 Bonaire

Portuguese lexical-based Creoles in Africa (2020) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Creoles of Upper Guinea

1 Cape Verde
2 Casamansa (Senegal)
3 Guinea-Bissau

Creoles in the Gulf of Guinea

4 Prince
5 S. Tomé (Santomense and Angolar)
6 Annobom

Portuguese lexical-based Creoles in Asia (2020) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Indo-Portuguese Creoles

1 Diu *
2 Daman
3 Bombay *
4 Chaul * and Korlai
5 Goa *
6 Mangalor *
7 Cananor *, Tellicherry and Mahé *
8 Cochin * and Vaipim *
9 Quilom *
10 Coromandel Coast *
11 Bengal Coast *
12 Sri-Lanka (Ceylon)

Malay-Portuguese Creoles:

13 Kuala Lumpur * Papiá Kristang
14 Malacca
15 Singapore *
16 Java (Batavia and Tugu) *
17 Flowers (Larantuka) *
18 East Timor (Bidau) *
19 Ternate *, Ambom * and Macassar *
Sino-Portuguese Creoles
20 Hong Kong * Macaísta *
21 Macau *
* Extinct or endangered


Aruba Curaçau Bonaire

Papiamento, in its varieties of Curaçau, Aruba and Bonaire, is the mother tongue of most of the population of these islands.

It originally developed in Curaçau, in the middle of the 17th century, with the importation, by the Dutch, of African slaves, in particular from the Upper Guinea area, likely speakers of Portuguese-based Creoles.

Given the strong presence of Spanish, among other reasons, as it is the most important language of commerce in the area, eighty percent of its lexicon is of Iberian base (Portuguese and Spanish).


Saramacano is an English and Portuguese lexical creole, which developed at the end of the century XVII, early century XVIII, in Suriname, in communities of runaway slaves, in mass, of the plantations.

The high number of lexical units of Portuguese origin is due to the presence, in the area, of varieties of Portuguese and Portuguese-based creoles spoken, namely, by the Jewish settlers and their slaves, who arrived there from 1655, at the beginning of the English occupation.


The Portuguese-based pidgin and Creole varieties that probably formed in the 16th century in Brazil, especially in the Northeast, did not survive, in contact with Portuguese.

In the Helvécia community, however, formed mainly by direct descendants of African slaves, who belonged to a Swiss-German colony founded in 1818, in the south of the State of Bahia, there is an Afro-Brazilian dialectal variety that seems to correspond to an advanced phase of decrylization of a previous Creole.

Cabo Verde

Cape Verdean (kriolu, kauberdianu, kabuverdianu), with their island varieties, in Sotavento and Barlavento, is, alongside Guinean, one of the oldest Portuguese-based Creoles.

Originally formed on the islands of Santiago and Fogo, in the late 15th century, beginning of the 16th century, as a result of the contact between Portuguese and the African languages of the West Coast of Africa, in particular Wolof and Mandinka.

Of great vitality, it is the national and mother tongue of the entire population, endowed with an important oral and written literature, and is in the process of becoming an official language, alongside Portuguese.


Guinean-Creole or Guinea-Bissau, from Guinea-Bissau, has great historical and linguistic affinities with the varieties of Cape Verdean Creole from Santiago and Fogo, although it is marked by the influence of the more than twenty African languages with which it shares the geographical space, in west coast of Africa.

It is spoken by about one million Guineans, either as a second and vehicular language or, especially in urban areas, as a mother tongue.


In Ziguinchor, in the Casamansa region, which in 1886 came under French rule, there is a variety close to the Guinean Creole of Cacheu, influenced by the Bissau variety, called kriyol or lingu kriston, but with different grammatical and lexical characteristics, due in part to the political separation of the two regions.

Sao Tome e Principe

Santomean (also known as forro, santome, lungwa santome) is a Portuguese-based creole formed in the 16th century, on the island of São Tomé, as a result of contact between Portuguese and several African languages, such as Edo.

It is one of the national languages of the archipelago, alongside Angolan and Principense, and the second most spoken language, after Portuguese.

South of the island of S. Tomé

"Angolar" (lunga ngola) is a Portuguese-based creole spoken mainly in the south of S. Tomé island by the Angolan community, formed in the 16th century with slaves who fled the plantations, who probably already spoke "forro", to which others joined, newcomers from the African continent and speakers of Bantu languages, such as Kimbundu, who left visible marks in their lexicon.

Príncipe island

Principense or lung'ie ('island language') is a Portuguese lexical base Creole in danger of extinction, spoken by a very small number of speakers on the island of Príncipe, to which part of the population of São Tomé migrated, in the 16th century, the time of its formation.

Anno Bom

Anobonense or fa d'ambô ('talking about Ano Bom') spoken on the island of Ano Bom, given by the Portuguese to Spain in the late 18th century and belongs to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea since 1968, is a Portuguese-based Creole with strong Spanish influence. There is also talk on the island of Bioco (formerly Fernando Pó), especially in the capital, Malabo, where part of the population migrated.

Portuguese of Daman

Creole de Damão is known among its speakers as "Portuguese of Damão" or "language of Badrapor".

Damão's Creole is often referenced from two of its characteristic pronoun forms: "oss-dos".

With some sociolinguistic variation, it is spoken mostly by the Catholic community of the territory, has evident similarities with Diu's Creole and reveals the Gujarati influence.

Portuguese of Diu

Creole de Diu is known locally as "Portuguese of Diu".

Diu's Creole is a language spoken mostly by the small Catholic community on the island, in family and intra-community contexts.

It is very close to Damão's Creole and reveals the influence of Gujarat, the dominant regional language.

Korlai Creole

The village of Korlai, close to the ruins of the ancient Portuguese city of Chaul, preserves among its substantial Catholic community the use of a very Portuguese-based creole, developed in close contact with the Marathi language.

Due to recent migration, some speakers currently live in Bombay and Baçaim.

Sri Lankan Portuguese

Called "Portuguese from Sri Lanka" or "Portuguese Burgher", it is a Portuguese-based creole that settled in ancient Ceylon from the 19th century. XVI.

Associated with the Eurasian community known as "Portuguese Burghers", it currently has the largest concentrations of speakers on the east coast of the country (mostly Tamil region), around the cities of Batticaloa and Trincomalee, and other smaller exchanges in places like Jaffna or Colombo.

Malabar Creole

The Portuguese-based creole languages developed on the southwest coast of India from the XVI century had a considerable spread in cities like Cochin, Cananor, Calicut, Coulão and even in the interior of the current state of Kerala.

However, the number of speakers is currently reduced to less than 10, with Portuguese-based Creole being the most threatened survival.

The structural influence of Malayalam in this language is evident.

Malacca Portuguese

Malacca Portuguese, Malacca Creole, Papiá kristáng or simply Papiá, is a Portuguese-based Creole language with a grammatical structure close to Malay, spoken in Malaysia and Singapore by the descendants of the Portuguese and their miscegenated families, but also, certainly, by people from other parts of Asia and even Europe who participated in the establishment of the Portuguese trading post.

Kristang - a saving language from extinction (2017) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language


The Cristang community is a small community in Malacca, Malaysia with origins in Portuguese ancestors that dates back to the discoveries. The Cristang community speaks the Cristang language, a Portuguese-based Creole, with "Cristang" meaning "Christian" in this language.


Macanese Patuá, also called Macanese Creole, Patuá di Macau, Papia Cristam di Macau, Doci Papiaçam di Macau or even Macaísta Chapado, is a Portuguese-based Creole language formed in Macau from the 16th century, with an evident contribution from Southeast Asia .

Macao Patuá (2019) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language


It is a Portuguese-based Creole language formed in Macau from the 16th century, influenced by the Chinese, Malay and Sinhalese languages. It also suffers from some influence of English, Thai, Spanish and some Indian languages. Nowadays it is still spoken by a small number of Macanese living in Macau or abroad, most of them already at an advanced age.

"Portunhol" (2006) by Muñata (Miguel Chaves)Observatory of the Portuguese Language


On the Brazilian – Uruguayan border, there are several varieties of contact along with Portuguese and standard and popular Spanish. Portuguese, also called Portuguese dialects from Uruguay, is one of them.

This situation represents a case of bilingualism with diglossia.

Credits: Story


- Prof. Dr. Dulce Pereira, University of Lisbon
- Prof. Dr. Hugo Cardoso, University of Lisbon.

Author: Francisco Nuno Ramos, Observatory of the Portuguese Language

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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