Language Comparison: English and Creole

If you were to take a tour around Belize, you would realize that Belize is a diverse cultural landscape. There are Garifunas, Creoles, Mennonites, Mayas, Mestizos, and many newly immigrant groups such as Chinese and East Indians. Despite their different cultural roots, the one thing that everyone who grows up in Belize has in common is the Creole language. It is one of the cornerstones of being Belizean. But isn’t English our Official Language? Yes it is, well at least that is what we are made to believe, our educational, legal and political systems were adopted from our colonizer, Britain. Every child who goes to school learns to read and write with English textbooks. However, it is when children are in their play groups that they learn different languages, Creole being the main one.

But is Creole really a language? To answer this question we must delve a little into the science of linguistics. The linguistic definition of a language is a form of speech used by a group of people with a unique set of vocabulary combined in uniform patterns (syntax) to convey meaning (semantics). 

Creole includes a number of languages, and a great variety of Creole languages can be found throughout the world, from Africa to the Caribbean. The factor that ties all Creole languages together is that they developed from a necessity for communication between non-mutually intelligible linguistic groups. The Creole language was initially defined as a language developed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries on European plantations, combining European and local languages; most of these local languages developed on coasts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. 

Creole may seem to be just a dialect of English, because it borrows most of its vocabulary, but the grammar is different. Let’s take 2 simple examples, of saying the same thing in Creole and English:

  • English: Let me do it. (Use of an object pronoun)
  • Creole: Mek ah du it. (Uses a subject pronoun)


  • English: Where is he? (Verb in the middle of the question)
  • Creole: Da weh ih deh? (Verb at the end of the question)


Although all these dialects are referred to as “Creole”, they are each unique. For example, someone speaking Belizean Creole cannot converse with someone speaking Haitian Creole. So what are Creole languages and how are they formed? When speakers of different languages come together and have to communicate, but don’t have the opportunity to learn each other’s language, they develop a makeshift jargon called Pidgin. According to the linguistic definition, Pidgin is not a real language. It is just a few vocabulary words thrown together with no real grammar. They don’t have consistent word order, no prefixes or suffixes, no tense or other temporal and logical markers, no structure more complex than a simple clause, and no consistent way to indicate who did what to whom. As a result, a lot of the meaning conveyed in Pidgin is inferred by the context rather than any real meaningful grammar.

When it comes to the syntax of the creole language, we don’t always follow the “subject, verb, object” order, for example: (English) I am hungry - (creole) I hungry, not that there is no verb in the creole variation. The funny part is that even though the verb is missing, we still understand what the person is saying, here is where morphology plays. Externally, the sentence is structured wrong but internally we get it. Cognates also plays a big role in language, cognate means having the same linguistic derivation as another; from the same original word or root. Example: Creole wi, Engish we; Creole dem, English them; Creole taim, Engish time; Creole ova deh, English over there, Creole weh, English where

Notice how the Creole words are not too different from the original English words, but keep in mind that not all words are like this, for example: Creole rubbers, English condoms. Creole also consists of idioms just like any other language; idioms are a phrases or expressions that have a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. Idioms are also referred to as proverbs, depending on the language and the environment. Some Creole proverbs are:

Nevertheless, English remains the official language, but the most diverse language in Belize is Kriol (Belizean Creole). Other languages spoken include Garifuna, Mandarin, Spanish and Maya. After conducting all this research, I am more puzzled by why Creole isn’t marked as Belize’s official language. We have fulfilled all the requirements and more than one country speaks the language, being it dialects or not. As a person belonging to the creole culture, I will continue to embrace the culture and its language and no one can change my mentality that Creole isn’t Belize’s official language of communication.


  • Casado Internet Group. (2013). Grauma Used to seh.. Belize Proverbs, Sayings, Folklore. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from
  • Comrie, B. 2011. Creoles and language typology. In: C. Lefebvre (ed.), Creoles, their Substrates, and Language Typology. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 599-611.
  • Dash, D. (2012). The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures (APiCS) Here is an interactive map of the languages. Retrieved from
  • My Belize Experience. (2011). Retrieved April 16, 2019, from
  • N.A. (1983). Languages-Creole. In Accredited Language Services.
07 July 2022
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