Cape Verde - The Language - Creol
The language tells you a lot about the country, people say. Also on Cape Verde the Creole (Crioulo) – besides the official language Portuguese – reflects the incredible variety of a people which generated through centuries of migration.
Portuguese is spoken for example in legal issues, in the media, at the authorities, in church and at schools. Creole however is the everyday language which is spoken on the streets, but also the language of music, literature and poetry. The Creole of Cape Verde today is regarded as the oldest African-European Creole language. Also on Haiti, the Seychelles, in Sierra Leone or on Réunion there are Creole languages. Common to all these languages is their historical background: peoples of quite different origin had to communicate in some way and for that reason they mixed their own language with words from the colonial language. Therefore the Creole of Cape Verde consists at 90 % of the “old” Portuguese. The rest are words borrowed from African languages, from French, English and other European languages; words from all those languages whose people formed the history of the island in the past.
Most of all it is the rhythm of the language and the figurative elements of Creole expression who have their origin in Africa.
Furthermore, each island has its own dialect. In São Vicente you hear comparatively many English words (due to history) and in Santo Antão there are those of French origin.
In places where a supraregional work is done, a kind of “official Creole” is spoken which everybody understands.
With the ALUPEC (the Unified Alphabet for the Writing of Capeverdean Creole) it became possible to declare the Creole language, which up to then had only existed as a spoken language, officially as the second national language. If as a visitor of the islands you greet the inhabitants with a “Good morning” in Creole, you certainly will be welcomed with a happy smile.
You’ll find the most important words in Creole in our little language-guide.
Make sure when go for a last minute holidays you will experience a relaxing getaway that is far from the busy streets of the city. Spending your vacation here will surely be a fun and exciting time for you and your family. The abundance of beautiful places that you can explore during your visit here makes this place such an ideal holiday destination. If you want to truly experience the culture in this island, it would be good to understand their language.