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Krio language thread - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Discuss culture and traditions
By bubudi
mek una sef yeri olman we sabi krio! posin naya ebul for tok krio or wan fo lan?

is anyone interested in learning krio (main language of sierra leone) or do we have anyone who can already speak some? other than myself, that is... it's based on english with some typically west african grammar and some words borrowed from various other languages (mende, temne, susu, yoruba, twi, arabic, portuguese, french). it's easy and fun and will help loads if you visit sierra leone.
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By bops
bubs, I'm pretty sure you're the first person I've met (other than west africans) who speaks krio. I think leonardo dicaprio's character spoke some in the movie Blood Diamond. I'd be interested in learning some if you're willing to teach.
By bubudi
yehs a go tich yu brohda! wetin yu wan foh lan fohs?
(yes, i'll teach you brother! what would you like to learn first?)
By bubudi
pronunciation of krio vowels:
like spanish/portuguese, the vowels a, e, i, o, u are phonetically correct in that they are pronounced as written. however, some vowels (o and e) may be long or short. an 'h' may be placed to indicate a shorter vowel, i.e.

e - as in 'pear'
eh - as in 'men'

dipthongs like 'ai' are also pronounced like in spanish.

some people use a symbol for the short 'o', or the 'ny' and 'ng' sounds, but it's neither universal nor necessary, so i'm leaving that out to keep things simple.

there is no 'th' in krio. it's replaced either by 't' or 'd', depending on the word.

final 'd' is usually dropped, e.g. send becomes sehn

the 's' is also usually dropped in the beginning of a word if it is immediately followed by another consonant, e.g. scratch becomes krach, spoil becomes pwel, strong becomes trang, etc.

a vowel can be lengthened for emphasis, e.g. bi-g (very big), loh-ngtehm (a very long time).
By bubudi
krio pronouns:
i - a
you - yu
he/she/it - i
we - wi
you (p) - una
they - dehm (dehn)

possessive pronouns:
my - mi
your - yu
his/her/its - in
our - wi
your - una
their - dehm (dehn)

interrogative pronouns:
who - udat
what - wetin
where - usai
which - uswan, uskain
when - ustehm
why - wetin mek
how - aw
how much - ohmohs

kusheh - hello
adu - hi/how are you
aw yu de do? - how are you doing?
aw di bohdi? - how's the body? (how are you?)
di bohdi fain / a wehl - i'm well
aw yusehf? - yourself?
wetin na yu nem? - what's your name?
a nem jack - my name is jack.
aw yu fambul? - how's your family?
usai yu tap? - where do you live?
a tap yanda - i live over there
mohnin o - good morning!
aftanun o - good afternoon!
ivnin o - good evening!
kaboh - welcome
tehnki - thank you
a beg - please
usai yu kohmot? - where are you from?
a kohmot ostrelya - i come from australia
ustem yu kam naya? - when did you come here?
a kam las jehnwari - i came last january
wi go si bak - see you again
tek tehm o* - take care! (take time)

* 'o' at the end of a sentence adds emphasis, like a verbal equivalent of an exclamation mark
By Garvin
Looks, and sounds remarkably similar to the Patois you hear in the Carribbean (go figure).

I lived with a band for a short time on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, and found the Patois to be pretty easy to pick up on. I was pretty self-conscious at first in carrying on conversations this way. In a way it felt like I was being one of these guys...

http://www.hulu.com/watch/40968/saturda ... -ras-trent

...It's almost less uncomfortable to speak a completely different language than to hear yourself use familiar English words in what feels like an incorrect way. At least for me. But then again, I was an "English-Major" and tend to overthink or second-guess specific words, rather than relax into the concept of practical communication.

Are you there Jah? It's me Ras Trent... Damn, that's gonna be in my head all day now.
By bubudi
hey garvin, you're right, krio has a definite resemblance to the creoles from jamaica, trinidad, etc, but enough differences too. the similarities are due to the history of the krio people, which i'll get into a little later down the track.

i think most people feel self conscious speaking a language that they are not fluent in. personally i don't see a difference whether you're talking in krio, jamaican creole or any other language. the term 'patois' is considered derogatory, much like 'broken english'. both krio and jamaican creole aren't dialects of english, they're languages in their own right. it's not just a matter of speaking english with an accent :)
By Garvin
I never realized that "patois" had a derogatory connotation. I apologize for that. I always thought patois was a general term to describe a kind of combination of languages much like the concept of "pidgin" languages. I always thought of these things in relation to languages like creole and portuguese. I thought I remembered that from my linguistics classes in college. It never occurred to me that it might be insulting to refer to spoke languages that way. Certainly not my intent.
By bubudi
no problem, garvin. it's easy to take these things for granted. in the past english speakers always looked down on creoles as a corrupted form of english. this has changed slowly over the years, but it's still very much apparent when it comes to some of the terminology still circulating around. when i was studying tesol, we had a (young) linguistics professor who very much held this view.

krio is partly based on the pidgins, but it has more complexity. i'll try to dig up some resources on this together with the history of krio people, to space out my posts containing useful krio words and phrases.
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By e2c
Great thread, b!


re. "creole" languages:

I think the use of the word "Krio" and/or "Krioyo" (as used in the Caribbean) or "Kréyol" (in many French-speaking islands of the Caribbean) or "Kriu" (some Cape Verdeans spell it that way) is an attempt to get away from the derogatory connotations of "creole" and "creolization" and similar phrases, though that seems to vary from place to place and even person to person. The "K" spelling seems to be about pride in the language(s) and culture(s). (Overall, my guess is that it's best to find out how most folks tend to refer to their language and go with that.) Sometimes the languages have other names - in Abura, Bonaire & Curacao, a lot of people call their language Papiamentu.

I do know that in Brazil, the word crioullo (creole) is very derogatory - like the N-word in English-speaking countries. Some dark-skinned Brazilians will refer to themselves as "crioullo," but I get the sense that even that is controversial. (Again, like the N-word.)

So... maybe better safe than sorry!

(One other thought: natives of Hawaii do refer to the local pidgin as "pidgin," but the Hawaiian language is called "Hawaiian." There are lots of web refs. for Hawaiian pidgin - Google will get you there.)

Edited to add: English certainly is right up there re. being a "creole" language - that's likely been true ever since the Norman French invaded England in 1066!
Last edited by e2c on Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By e2c
Garvin wrote:Damn! e2c droppin' science like Galileo drops citrus!

Nah, just following up on bubudi's excellent explanation of the whole "creole"/pidgin thing.

I've got some songs in Papiamentu, Kreýol (from Guadeloupe and Martinique) and Cape Verdean Kriu on my blog. (Also a few in Sierra Leonean Krio, come to that.)
By bubudi
thanks tanamasi, that's a nice find. there are also some movies and soap operas around if you check youtube. i'll post some links when i get the time.
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