A language of Sierra Leone

Alternate Names
Creole, Patois

473,000 in Sierra Leone (1993). Population total all countries: 495,600. L2 users: 4,000,000 in Sierra Leone (1987 F. Jones). L2 users prefer indigenous languages for informal situations.


Western Area: Freetown peninsula communities; south of Freetown, York and Banana islands.

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Aku. Krio and Jamaican Creole [jam], and Krio and Sea Islands Creole [gul] may have some interintelligibility. Linguistic influence from Yoruba [yor] (Hancock 1987).

Language Use

Vigorous. More in provincial towns than villages, and for interethnic communication. Possibly half use Krio at work. Formal language for those who do not speak English. All domains, education. All ages. Also use English [eng]. Used as L2 by Mende [men], Northern Kissi [kqs], Susu [sus], Themne [tem], Yalunka [yal].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: Less than 15% in English. Taught as an elective from primary to college level. Bible: 2013.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

L1 Krio speakers mainly descendants of repatriated slaves from Jamaica. Traditional religion, Christian.