Sea Island Creole English


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Geechee, Gullah

350 (2010 census). 7,000–10,000 monolinguals. 10,000 in New York City (Holm 1989). Ethnic population: 250,000.


Coastal region from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida; Sea Islands off Georgia coast; New York City, Detroit.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Intelligibility with other English-based creoles is undetermined. Similar to Bahamas Creole English [bah] and Afro-Seminole [afs]. Lexical similarity: 90% with Afro-Seminole [afs].

Language Use

Vigorous. Barely understandable with standard English [eng].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 75%–100%. Government bilingual education program begun. Dictionary. NT: 2005.
Latin script.
Other Comments

Linguistic influences from Fula [fub], Mende [men], upper Guinea coast, and Gambia River area (Hancock 1987).