Sea Island Creole English


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Geechee, Gullah

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


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

Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. Intelligibility with other English-based creoles is undetermined. Reportedly similar to Bahamas Creole English [bah]. Lexical similarity: 90% with Afro-Seminole [afs].

Language Use

Vigorous. Barely understandable with standard English [eng]. Government bilingual education program begun.

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

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

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