Sierra Leonean Krio

Learning Resources

There’s a lot of foot-work involved in teaching yourself a less commonly taught language, before you even begin practice. One of the challenges is taking the time to track down relevant materials that will help you build a well-rounded understanding and proficiency of the language. This may be particularly difficult if you don’t have access to institutions with the specific resources you’re looking for.

What I’ve done here is compiled the resources I’ve found so far that touch on the history of Sierra Leone and Krio, and print and digital resources that support language study. One of the resources I found in Sierra Leone, Peace Corps Manual, which I believe is the most popular and enduring Krio-learning resource. I don’t know exactly how this manual was compiled by the Peace Corps in the 80s. From my own experience using it and living in Sierra Leone, I’d say it’s a fairly decent resource but it should not serve as the only resource you use. See some other resource recommendations below

Historical and Linguistic Background

Curtin, P.D. (ed.) (1967). Africa Remembered: Narratives from West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade. UW Madison.

Fyle, C.M. (2006). Historical Dictionary of Sierra Leone (Historical Dictionaries of Africa, No. 99). Scarecrow Press.  

Lewis, T. (2018). Transatlantic Slave Trade. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Accessed September 20, 2019.

Sesay, S.M. et al. (2019). Sierra Leone. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Accessed September 19, 2019.

Krio Language Learning Materials (Print)

Kamarah, S.U. & Marjorie, J. (eds.) (2015). Beg Sɔl Nɔba Kuk Sup: An Anthology of Krio Poetry. Sierra Leonean Writers Series (SLWS). Prof. Osman Sankoh.

Peace Corps Sierra Leone. Krio Language Manual. Revised edition, 1985. 212 pages.

Thompson, H-R. & Koroma, M.T. (2015). Krio Dictionary and Phrasebook, Krio-English/English-Krio: A Language of Sierra Leone.

Krio Language Learning Materials (Digital*Please be selective when choosing other resources. Some YouTube videos or websites may disregard Krio as being “broken English”. This is not true!

The first resource provides a detailed description of the historical roots of Krio as well as grammatical, phonetic, and vocabulary lessons that have a linguistic detail unique from the other resources. This is not an interactive website.

Malcolm Awadajin Finney. 2013. Krio.
In: Michaelis, Susanne Maria & Maurer, Philippe & Haspelmath, Martin & Huber, Magnus (eds.). The survey of pidgin and creole languages. Volume 1: English-based and Dutch-based Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Listening to local news by Sierra Leonean broadcasters is an excellent way to keep up-to-date and hear Krio at a normal pace. Don’t worry about missing a word or two, you can always pause and go back. Radio Democracy also plays a range of music including West African artists like P Square (Nigerian-one of my favorites).

“Gud mornin Salone”. Radio Democracy 98.1 FM.

In case you can’t find the print copy of the Peace Corps manual, you can go to Live Lingua’s website. They have a pdf of the same manual. They also have recordings of native speakers that goes along with the manual lessons. 

Live Lingua Project. Introductory Krio Language Training Manual. Peace Corps – Krio Language Lessons.

This is a very simple, user-friendly online dictionary that I really like. It’s part of the Sierra Leone government website and has links on the same page if you want to learn about history, government, poetry, etc. It can supplement your print copy.

Sierra Leone Web. “Krio Dictionary”.

An excellent introductory online resource is this free collection of informative YouTube videos created by a native speaker. The presentations go into basic greetings but give a detailed and respectful introduction of the Krio language and some Sierra Leonean history.

Documentary film about Sierra Leone after the war that includes both English and Krio dialogue:

Terry, S. (2011). Fambul Tok. New York, NY. (82 minutes long)

Sierra Leone folk songs, found at Music Library (Mills):

Wasserman, L., Sheriff, A., & Fai, A. (2007). Music of Sierra Leone (volumes). [Makanda, Ill.] : Earthcds Partners.









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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.