The Creole people of Belize share a common language. Although there are slight variations in the way the Kriol is spoken throughout Belize, it is predominantly the same language throughout the country. It also shares common features with other Creole languages around the Caribbean.
We consider Kriol as a different language than English, and not as dialect of English for several reasons:
- A language is a set of several linguistic systems which work together to form communication; there is pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and meaning. While the variation between each of these systems for Kriol and English may not be great, the sum of these differences creates a significant difference. The difference between Kriol grammar and English grammar is particularly different.
- The perceptions of Kriol as ‘bad English’ and ‘just’ a dialect of English are psychologically damaging generalizations to the people who value Kriol as part of their identity.
- The concept of Kriol as a variation of English creates a misunderstanding that hinders children from more proficient acquisition of a more standard form of English.
Therefore, Kriol would better be appreciated, and English better learned, as a separate language, not a dialect.