Sierra Leonean Creole (Krio)

Sierra Leonean Creole is an English-based creole language spoken in Sierra Leone by about 8.2 million people, 780,000 of whom speak it as a native languages. It is used as a lingua franca in Sierra Leone and is spoken by about 97% of the population. It is particularly spoken in Western Area of Sierra Leone around Freetown, York Village and the Banana islands.

There are also speakers of Sierra Leonean Creole in Gambia (16,200), Senegal (7,380), the USA (10,600), Australia and the UK [source].

Sierra Leonean Creole developed from the languages, such as Yoruba and Igo, and varieties of English brought to Sierra Leone by Nova Scotian settlers, Moroons from Jamaica and many freed African slaves. It is also known as Krio, Creole or Patois.

Some of Shakespeare's plays and the Bible have been translated into Krio, and there are also some films and radio progams in the language. Since the 1990s Krio has been used as a medium of instruction in some primary schools.

Sierra Leonean Creole alphabet and pronunciation

Sierra Leonean Creole alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Sierra Leonean Creole (Excel)

Ortography devised by Thomas Decker. Information provided by Michael Peter Füstumum and Wolfram Siegel

Sample texts


Atikul Wan: Ɛvribɔdi bɔn fri ɛn gɛt in yon rayt, nɔn wan nɔ pas in kɔmpin. Wi ɔl ebul fɔ tink ɛn fɛnɔt wetin rayt ɛn rɔŋ pantap dat wi fɔ sabi aw fɔ liv lɛk wan big famili.

High Krio (Salontòk)

Òll mòrtalmandèm bòrn fri èn ekwal pan dignity èn raihtdèm. Dhèm gèt ratio èn kònskièntia èn fòr akt with dhèm kòmpin na bròdharhudim spirit.

Another version

ɛvribɔdi bɔn fri ɛn gɛt in yon rayt, nɔn wan nɔ pas in kɔmpin.  Wi ɔl ebul fɔ tink ɛn fɛnɔt wetin rayt ɛn rɔɧ pantap dat wi fɔ sabi aw fɔ liv lɛk wan big famili.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in and about Krio

Information about Sierra Leone Creole | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel


Information about Sierra Leonean Creole

Creole languages

Betawi, Bislama, Cape Verdean Creole, Chavacano, Chinook Jargon, Dominican Creole French, Fanagalo, French Guianese Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Haitian Creole, Jamaican, Kituba, Manado Malay, Mauritian Creole, Nagamese, Ndyuka, Norfuk, Nubi, Palenquero, Papiamento, Pijin, Réunion Creole, Sango, Saramaccan, Seychelles Creole, Sierra Leonean Creole, Singlish, Sranan, Saint Lucian Creole, Tok Pisin, Torres-Strait Creole

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 24.06.22


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