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French Guiana Creole: Map

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French Guiana, where French Guiana Creole originates.
French Guiana Creole is a French-lexified creole language spoken in French Guianamarker, and to a lesser degree, in Surinamemarker and Guyanamarker. It resembles Antillean Creole, but there are some lexical and grammatical differences between them. Antilleans can generally understand French Guiana Creole, though the notable differences between the créole of French Guiana and the créoles of the Caribbean may cause some instances of confusion. The diffences consist of more French and Brazilian Portuguese influences (due to the proximity of Brazil and Portuguese presence in the country for several years.) There are also words of Amerindian and African origin. There are Guianese communities in Surinamemarker and Guyanamarker who continue to speak French Guiana Creole.

It should not be confused with the Guyanese Creole language, based on English, spoken in neighbouring Guyanamarker.

Orthography and phonology

French Guiana Creole is largely written using the French alphabet, with only a few exceptions. 'Q' and 'X' are replaced by 'k' and 'z' respectively. 'C' is not used apart from in the diagraph, ch, where it stands for (the word for horse is chouval, similar to Standard French's 'cheval.') Otherwise, it is replaced by 'k' when it stands for (Standard French's 'comment' (why) is written 'kouman) and 's', when it stands for . Silent 'h' is never written, unlike in Standard French, where it remains for etymological purposes.

French Guiana creole does not have many of the characteristic sounds of Standard French. The letter 'j' ( ) is pronounced instead. There is no sound either. This sound is pronounced and written 'i'. Thus, the word 'usé' in standard French is written 'isé.' The diagraph is pronounced : 'moi' (me) is pronounced . One should also note that French Guiana Creole is a non-rhotic language with no nasal vowels, and thus all R sounds and nasals are dropped from borrowings from other languages: bonjour, pronounced in standard French, is rendered .

Examples

French Guiana Creole (IPA) Metropolitan French English
Boujou Bonjour Hello; Good day
Souplé S'il vous plaît Please
Mèsi Merci Thank you
Mo Moi, me, je Me, I
To Toi, te, tu You
Li Lui, le, il Him, he
Roun Un, une One
Eskuzé mo Excusez-moi Excuse me, pardon me
Lapli ka tombe Il pleut Rain is falling
Jod-la a roun bel jou Aujourd'hui, il fait beau Today is a beautiful day
Sa to fé? (Comment) ça va? How are you?
Anne a mo manman Anne est ma mère Anne is my mother
Andy a to frè Andy est ton frère Andy is your brother
li ka alé a laplaj Il va aller à la plage He's going to the beach



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