Patois (French-lexicon Creole) or Kwéyòl

Caribbean Creole Map
Courtesy Wycliffe Caribbean © SIL International

There are 4 main branches of Atlantic French Creole:

  • South American (French Guianese and Brazilian)
  • Louisianan
  • Haitian or Greater Antillean
  • Lesser Antillean
    • Guadeloupean (including Marie Galante and northern Dominican)
    • Martiniquan (including St Lucian, southern Dominican, Grenadian, Trinidadian and Venezuelan)


French-lexicon Creole (Patois or Kwéyòl or Kreyòl) has been taught in the Faculty of Humanities and Education since 1991. At that time, the Department of Liberal Arts (formerly the Department of Language and Linguistics) introduced a year-long Linguistics course in French-Lexicon Creole, which is now taught in two semesters.


Before that, in 1977, a course ‘An Appreciation of Patois’ was offered by the Extra-Mural Unit of the University of the West Indies (later the School of Continuing Studies, now the Open Campus), with Rawle Gibbons and Morilla Montano.

The students are mainly from Trinidad & Tobago and St. Lucia, the former seeking to learn French Creole, a national heritage language of Trinidad & Tobago, and the latter mainly seeking to become literate in French Creole. The lecturers, past and present, have been mother-tongue speakers of the language, mainly from Martinique and most recently, from St. Lucia.

The Department currently offers two courses in French-lexicon Creole, as in the following:

We celebrate Jounen Kwéyòl! Read Ambassador of France His Excellency Serge Lavroff's feature address at Jounen Kwéyòl 2018.

Important research on Trinidad & Tobago's Patois has been carried out at undergraduate, postgraduate and staff levels. Visit our LING 3099 Special Project in Linguistics page, our Departmental Research page for general information, and our RDI research page for more information on our research projects, including Digital Documentation of Trinidad and Tobago's endangered languages.

The Centre for Language Learning (CLL) has also offered a course in mostly Guadeloupean (previously Haitian) to members of the University community and the general public not pursing an undergraduate degree in the Department.

Join the Annou Palé Patwa group on Facebook. Nnamdi Hodge, a graduate of our programme, launched this compilation of Trinidadian Patois Songbook and CD in 2009.