Spoken in
  • Flag of the Ponant Ponant official nationwide
  • Ponantian minorities (Asia, Latin America, US, and Europe)
  • Latin America (significant L2 speakers)
Number of speakers c. 75 million (L1)
c. 300–355 million (L1+L2)
Regulated by Departamento Tódestada de Língos Nacia

Kriollatino is currently the national language of the Ponant. It is an ausbau language which has been used by the administration of the the newly-formed Republic of the Ponant since 1890 to linguistically unify the whole archipelago, where people have been speaking dozens of languages and dialects. It has been formed thanks to a drastic simplification of the grammar and the vocabulary of pre-existing base languages, notably Criollatina, which had three standard forms and more than thirty five dialects by 1850, with a highly diverse pronunciation.

Before Kriollatino

Previous attempts at creating one standard language for a state date back to the early 1800s where more and more intellectuals deplored the increasing degradation of Spanish language as used by the populace.

In Dialectas hispanicas de Lacaña (4 volumes written between 1793 and 1818), Carles de Cartagena (1758-1831) noted the usage of the Spanish language as used in the current province of Lakang and the Western Region. His works form the basis of the Western and Central Criollatina language; Joaquín Santiagueño (1775-1861) decribed in 1807 the grammar and the vocabulary of the peoples' lingua franca in the current Eastern Region in Idioma del Pueblo, and his works form the basis of the standard Eastern Criollatina language.

Elaboration of Kriollatino (1833-1872)

In 1841, the linguist and utopist entrepreneur Fernando Guiéz Eliezer (1807-1885) with the help of two other linguists Guillermo Perrón (1799-1858) and Pablo Agosto (1810-1897) analyzed the grammatical features of 31 local Criollatina dialects over the period of thirty nine years. In 1851 they published the Gramatico de lìngo Ponànta which is considered to be the year of birth of the Kriollatino language.

Early reforms

In its original form, the Kriollatino language used the traditional Spanish alphabet. Additions specific to Kriollatino was the sch trigraph for /ʃ/ sound, the ch digraph for /tʃ/, the ghi for /dʒ/ and for sghi for /ʒ/. Grave accents were used to denote vowel length.

In 1864, the following changes took place:

  • ch has become ć
  • sch has become ś
  • sghi has become y
  • ghi has become j
  • y has become ł
  • tz has become z
  • z (before -a/o/u) or c (before -e/i) has become c
  • k replaces c- before a/o/u or qu- before e/i

Spreading (1855-1890)

Before gaining official status in 1891, the Kriollatino language was mostly concentrated in popular urban areas. Eliezer opened 341 Eliezer Institutes throughout the country between 1855 and 1880, where the whole cursus was held in Kriollatino. Unlike Spanish-speaking schools where tuitions are unaffordable to most of the populace and where the use of Criollatina was discouraged, the Kriollatino-speaking schools' tuition was low enough for everyone to be schooled.

It is estimated that between 1855 and 1880, 2.5 million students or 12% of the population have graduated from Eliezer institutes. Literacy rates of Eliezer Institute graduates was near 96% where the average literacy rate nationwide is 23%. As a result, at the end of the 1880s, more than half of the literate population had at some point of their lives been educated in Kriollatino.

Official status (1891)

The newly independent Republic of the Ponant was in search of a new official language. Proposals to put Criollatina language has failed since each one of the three standardized forms competed against each other. Furthermore, the non-Dunguna peoples refused to be imposed a non-indigenous language. Pablo Agosto, the last surviving author of the Kriollatino language proposed the language at the language committee in the 8th March 1890. In the first turn, out of the 489 people who composed the committee, 168 chose Kriollatino, 160 chose Eastern Criollatina, 54 chose Central Criollatina, the remaining 107 chose other dialect or their own native languages. In the second turn which was held on the 4th May 1891, 269 chose Kriollatino versus 220 for Eastern Kriollatina. Kriollatino was selected to be the statewide official national language as of 12 May 1891.

Mass adoption (20th century)

Nationwide adoption

Despite the adoption of the new official language, lots of local administrations, especially Criollatina-speaking ones, kept on leading the local regional affairs in the local language. However, elsewhere in the young country, Kriollatino was undergoing mass adoption by the local populace. In the indigenous-dominated northern provinces, up to 85% had claimed to be proficient in the local language, while that number is only at 37% in the Criollatina-speaking regions.

To encourage its adoption, Eliezer disciples, who had worked in Kriollatino their whole lives were massively lobbying at the government to strictly enforce Kriollatino's official status nationwide. As a result, drastic measures were taken to encourage youngsters and children to embrace the new language: from 1905 to 1930, children were forbidden to use any other language then Kriollatino in class outside language classes; uncompliant children were severely punished (Embergonsamiento). 

As a result of the embergonzamiento policy, an increasing number of parents in the formerly Criollatina-speaking regions ceased to transmit their native language to their children, resulting in a sharp decline of Western and Central Criollatina languages. The number of speakers of Kriollatino, on the other hand, had dramatically increased from 31% in 1900 to 88% in 1935, 16% of which were Kriollatino native speakers.

Spreading worldwide

To promote the language overseas, Eliezer institutes had been opened around the Pacific Ocean. The number of Kriollatino speakers worldwide is estimated to be around 355 million; 50 million of which being distributed around the countries with a maritime facade on the Pacific Ocean.

Current status

L2 speakers comprised 88% of the total population in the late 1940 ; this number increased to 95% in 1955,  until 2000. The efforts in spreading the language overseas, especially in Latin America, have increased the number of speakers of this language : the number of L2 speakers outside the Ponant is estimated to 50 million in 2005.

The number of Kriollatino native speakers increases as mobility and mixed marriages increases. And it has been noted that the number of new native speakers is currently growing at an average rate of 1.76% a year.

See also

External links