The Term ‘Creole’

According to Holm (1988:9) the term ‘creole’ comes from Portuguese ‘criar’ meaning to raise, such as a child, or a servant born into one’s household. As the Portuguese were expanding their empire into Brazil the term ‘crioulo’ came to be used for African slaves born in the New World, and later was expanded to include Europeans born in the New World. Finally the word came to refer to the speech and customs of Africans and Europeans born in the New World. It was borrowed by Spanish as ‘criollo’, French ‘créole’, Dutch ‘creol’, and English ‘creole’. In 1994, Belizeans at the First Creole Orthography Workshop decided that they would like to promote the spelling ‘kriol’ for reference to the language in Belize.