Languages

Torres Strait Creole

Fact corner

  • Language: Torres Strait Creole
  • Alternate names: Torres Strait Pidgin, Torres Strait Broken, Cape York Creole, Lockhart Creole, West Torres
  • SIL-code: Ethnologue:tcs
  • Language family: Creole, English based, Pacific
  • Number of speakers: 23,400

Introduction

Torres Strait Creole is a creole language spoken on several Torres Strait Islands (Queensland, Australia), Northern Cape York and South-Western Coastal Papua. It is widely used as a language of trade and commerce. Its main characteristics show that it is a Pacific Pidgin, however the future in X [i] go VERB aligns it with Atlantic Creoles. Related languages are Pijin of the Solomon Islands, Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea, and Bislama of Vanuatu. The other Creoles of Australia (Roper River Kriol etc.) are more distantly related, being descendants of the Pidgin English that developed in and around Sydney after the colonisation of Australia.

Records of a pidgin English being used in Torres Strait exist at least from the 1840s, and therefore Torres Strait Creole may very well by older than its sister languages, and not a descendant of any of these. The main importers of the pidgin were British and other sailors (some of whom were South Sea Islanders), and therefore Brokan has various characteristics of this strong British Sailor's Pidgin English influence. The main influences were Singapore Pidgin, Pacific Pidgin and Jamaican Creole.

The verb

Sample verb: lugaut

remote futurebambai X (i) go lugaut
near futureX (i) go lugaut
presentX (i) lugaut
recent pastX (i) zasnau (bin) lugaut
pastX (i) bin lugaut
completive pastX (i) pinis/oredi lugaut
habitual pastX (i) yustu bin lugaut
adviceX (i) sud lugaut
obligationX (i) mas/aptu lugaut
dependent obligationX (i) blo/spostu lugaut

Click the verbs below to conjugate them:

  • dudu 'sit' (der. from Austronesian)
  • kaikai 'eat' (der. from Austronesian)
  • lugaut 'take care, beware' (der. from 'look out')
  • makan 'eat' (der. from Austronesian)

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