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Spanish-based creole languages: Map


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

Spanish Creole languages

List of Spanish-based creole:


Chavacano (also Chabacano) is a Spanish-based Creole language and the name of the Six Dialects of Spanish evolved words turned into a Creole language spoken in the Philippinesmarker. The name of the language stems from the Spanish word Chabacano which means "tasteless", "common", or "vulgar".Dialects of Chavacano are spoken in Cavite City and Ternate (both in Luzon); Zamboanga, Cotabato and Davao (in Mindanao) and other places. According to a census, there are 2,502,185 speakers excluding outside the Philippines. It is the major language of Zamboanga Citymarker. Chavacano is also spoken in Cavite Citymarker and in parts of Ternate, Cavite and Sabahmarker, Malaysiamarker nearest to the Philippines, and even in Brunei and Latin America, because of recent migrations.

Most of the vocabulary comes from Spanish, while the grammar is mostly based on the Austronesian structure. It is used in primary education, television, and radio. Recently English words are infiltrating the language.

For more information see the article on Chavacano, or the Ethnologue Report on Chavacano.



Palenquero (also Palenquemarker) is a Spanish-based Creole spoken in Colombiamarker.

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

It is spoken in Colombiamarker, in the village of San Basilio de Palenquemarker which is south and east of Cartagenamarker, and in some neighborhoods of Barranquillamarker.

The village was formed by escaped slaves (Maroon) and 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 Congomarker. As of 1998, 10% of the population of age under 25 years speaks Palenquero. Most common to the elderly.

For more information see the Ethnologue Report on Palenquero.

Spanish-influenced Creole languages


The Annobonese language is spoken by 9,000 people on the islands of Ano Bommarker and Biokomarker, in Equatorial Guineamarker. It is locally called Falar de Ano Bom (Fá d'Ambô or even Fla d'Ambu). It is a Portuguese-based creole, similar to Forro, with some borrowings from Spanish. 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 Portugalmarker but, by the 18th century, Portugal exchanged it and some other territories in Africa for Uruguay with Spainmarker. 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 Príncipemarker — 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 closely related languages.

See also: History of Equatorial Guinea


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

Primarily spoken in Netherlands Antillesmarker by 179,000 people ( ) and Arubamarker by 100,000 people ( ).

The Proto-Afro-Portuguese theory is the most widely accepted hypothesis about the genesis of Papiamentu.

This Creole is reportedly becoming more similar to Spanish as the time passes due to extensive contact with the Hispanophone countries (particularly Venezuelamarker), but it was originally Portuguese-based.

Because of the similarities between these Iberian languages, it is difficult to ascertain whether a certain feature is derived from Portuguese, Spanish or Ladino, after the adaptation to Papiamento rules.

For more information see the Ethnologue Report on Papiamentu.


  2. Ethnologue Report on Chavacano
  3. Ethnologue Report on Palenquero
  4. "Papiamentu facts"], an essay by Attila Narin [1]
  5. Ethnologue Report on Papiamentu


For a discussion about the origins of Papiamentu, see "Papiamentu facts", an essay by Attila Narin.

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