The Creole are one of the many ethnic groups that make up Belize’s cultural diversity. As such, most Belizeans speak English and Creole, or “Kriol,” as a part of our Belizean identity. Before you visit, have some fun with learning a few phrases of Creole to feel right at home.
The Kriol are descendants from African slaves. Namely, workers on the mahogany camps, logging farms, and sugar plantations owned by the so-called Baymen. Baymens were English and Scottish settlers of British Honduras. Over the centuries, they intermarried with the Mestizos, Maya, Garifuna, East Indian, and other cultural groups to Belize. After all, the Kriol are the epitome of a ‘mixing pot of culture’.
What Is the Kriol Language?
Like most patois throughout the Caribbean, Kriol is a dialect from enslaved workers exposed to the heard-English of British settlers to create a unique chopped-up mix. Belizeans of all ethnic backgrounds grow up speaking Kriol, often before learning English. English may be the official first language, but Kriol is just as common.
Kriol Language and Belizean Culture
Kriol has therefore contributed a great deal to Belize’s history and development. Even after Belize became an independent nation, Kriol was already engrained in our culture. Later in 1995, the National Kriol Council ensured the dialect was properly studied, written, and recorded as a language. Documenting all aspects of the Creole culture, including its spoken word, is crucial to our collective identity and civic pride.
Basic Kriol Phrases
First, start with these 15 basic Creole phrases below.
- Weh di goan? — What’s up?
- Mawnin! — Good morning!
- Mi love Bileez! — I love Belize!
- Cho! — Is that so?
- You nuh eezih! — Well, look at you!
- How much fi dis? — How much does this cost?
- Two dallaz — Two dollars.
- Lata! — See you later.
- How yuh name? — What’s your name?
- Weh yuh gwein? — Where are you going?
- Haul yuh rass! — Get the hell out of here!
- Yuh aarite? — You’re doing well?
- Ah tayad — I’m tired.
- Watch they Pikney — Look at those children.
- Weh pawt ih deh? — Where is it?
Get Ready for Belize
If you’re planning to visit our beautiful country, start practicing these phrases today. You’ll fit right in when you get here! Although, your accent will likely give you away. If you’d like to learn more, add Belize City’s first Belize Creole Museum & Gallery to your sightseeing list.