Native Language of Sierra Leone

Krio is the lingua franca language spoken throughout Sierra Leone, West Africa. The language is native to the Sierra Leone Creole people or Krios, (a community of about 300,000 descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, United States and Britain). The Krio language is spoken by 97% of Sierra Leone's population. It is important to note that the Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the whole country, especially in their trade and interaction with each other.

Standard Greeting

Krio's standard greeting kushe, for instance, is derived from the Yoruba greeting è kú isé ("greetings on your work"). Another common greeting is Ow de body? which literally means How is the body?and the usual response is De body fine.

Language origins

The early roots of Krio go back to the Atlantic slave trade era in the 17th & 8th centuries when an English-based "pidgin" language (West African Pidgin English), also called Guinea Coast Creole English arose to facilitate the coastal trade between Europeans and Africans. This early pidgin later became the lingua franca of regional trade among West Africans themselves and spread up the river systems to the African interior. After the founding of Freetown, this preexisting pidgin was heavily influenced by the speech of the various groups of freed slaves landed in Sierra Leone between 1787 and about 1855. The pidgin gradually evolved to become a stable language, the native language of descendants of the freed slaves (which are now a distinct ethnic and cultural group, the Krios), and the national language of Sierra Leone. As stated earlier, the Krio language is spoken by 97% of the population of Sierra Leone and it unites all the different ethnic group in the country.

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