KrioLUS (English)

The name KrioLUS[1] aims to symbolize the building of the scientific knowledge of Cape Verdean Creole (CVC). Since the late 18th century until present day, CVC has been the object of a number of misinterpretations and flawed information.

As early as 1784, the famous anonymous author cited by António Carreira (O Crioulo de Cabo Verde, Surto e Expansão, 1985), in his letter addressed to the king of Portugal, stated that the Portuguese had become accustomed to the local ways[2] in such a degree that they had stopped using Portuguese. Since then, several guardians of the Portuguese language have considered CVC as a vehicle of communication devoid of both rules and grammar, a jargon impossible to be written, lacking the principle letters of the alphabet i.e.  the L for lei ‘law’, the R for the rei ‘king’ and the F for ‘faith’.[3] Thus, according to its detractors, CVC constituted a peril to the Portuguese imperial unity.

More recently, some Capeveardans have defended that teaching in CVC would create methodological obstacles to the teaching of the Portuguese language triggering, eventually, the loss of its status as an official language. Even more worrying is pundits advocating that the teaching of CVC would contribute to the isolation and ostracism of Cape Verde. These arguments lack any scientific or pedagogical validity as the mother tongue of any linguistic community constitutes the best starting point in the acquisition of the second or foreign language. As stated by Baltasar Lopes da Silva (1957 and 1984:43, Lisbon, INCM), Cape Verde, right from its beginning, had at its disposal a language other than Portuguese.  While referring to CVC’s autonomy, Lopes da Silva affirms: “[…] it seems that, as far the steering wheel of the linguistic history of these islands [4] is concerned, it slipped from the hands of those who initially made an effort of conducting it towards Europe. Given that the European Portuguese (pure, without tropical contaminations) was in the clear minority, the creole man had the last word; the Portuguese had no other way but to ‘acculturate’ linguistically. (…) From very early on, the creole of the islands possessed a coherent structure and sufficient vocabulary for the needs of communication. Therefore, as it seems to me, the creole man has been linguistically ‘self-sufficient’ for a very long time […].”

It is important to underline the notion of ‘linguistic self-sufficiency’ which Silva (op. cit.) uses to refer to a new language which ‘has stabilized itself’ since the ‘very beginning’ of the history of Cape Verde. Today, the Cape Verdean language has become more and more the object of study not only of strictly linguistic approaches but also of more recent scientific areas such as educational sciences. The importance of  the Capeverdean language as the vehicle of everyday expression, culture, and science is, in fact, attested by several scientific studies, both concluded and undergoing in Cape Verde and abroad and whose aim is to include the language in the pedagogical and scientific priorities of Capeverdean people. 

Modern scientific research does not accept disinformation and misunderstandings of any nature be it linguistic, cultural, social, or political. KrioLUS wishes to constitute a space of ‘light’ to make the science speak, based on well grounded knowledge and rigorous scientific arguments. It is our desire to build a virtual space where the lecturers and the Masters’ students would be able to publish the results of their scientific research on Capeverdean language. If the results of this experience are positive, we could create a space for the Master students’ questions and answers by the lecturers, open to the general public. These interactions could lead to the opening of another space where the general public could raise questions and where both students and the specialists would answer them when possible.

We hope that KrioLUS will cast light on many scientific issues related to CCV. And if we manage to bring this light to all mountains and valleys and the most remote hamlets of this country, our efforts in constructing KrioLUS will be fully rewarded. 
The Committee of the Masters’ in Creolistics and Cape Verdean Language

Tradução para o inglês por Rachel Keller e Dominika Swolkien


[1] The term KrioLUS is a word composed of Kriolu, ‘creole’, and LUS, ‘light’ (translators’ note – TN).

[2] i.e. Capeverdean (TN).

[3] These three concepts i.e. ‘law’, ‘king’ and ‘faith’ defined the political orientation of the Portuguese monarchy. In Portuguese, the expression sem lei nem rei ‘without neither law nor king’ is an adverbial expression meaning ‘chaotically, disorderly’. The application of this concept to CVC stresses its alleged lack of rules, structure, and value.

[4] I.e. the Archipelago of Cape Verde (TN).

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