A language of Sierra Leone

Alternate Names
Creole, Patois

5,732,000 in Sierra Leone, all users. L1 users: 692,000 in Sierra Leone (2016). L2 users: 5,040,000 (2016). Total users in all countries: 5,758,640 (as L1: 718,640; as L2: 5,040,000).


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 [eng]. All domains, education. Used by all. 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 [eng]. 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.

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