In Australia there are two creoles in daily use, Kriol (rop, also known as Roper River Creole etc) in the Northern Territory with about 30,000 speakers and Torres Strait Creole (tcs, also known as Broken etc) in the Torres Strait Islands in far north Queensland with about 25,000 speakers.

Are there any kind of papers or research which investigate or compare the two languages?

Ideal would be something considering various aspects of language one by one (phonology, lexis, pronoun system, etc) and making direct comparisons or the approaches of the two languages such as "While rop does ... , tcs does ...".


2 Answers 2


Yes, there are some sources comparing Kriol to Torres Strait Creole/Broken.

In the 'Handbook of Varieties of English' Vol 1 (Phonology), there is a chapter by Malcolm (2004) 'Australian creoles and Aboriginal English: phonetics and phonology'. You can read some of the chapter here on Google Books, p.656. And in 'Varieties of English' Vol 3 (The Pacific and Australasia), there is another chapter by Malcolm (2008) 'Australian creoles and Aboriginal English: morphology and syntax'. (Sorry, no online content for that one).

These chapters together give a really good overview of the features of both creoles, and frame the discussion by topic rather than by creole, so there is plenty of comparison between them.

Also, here is a link to a (quite dated) paper with some earlier comparisons between the two creoles, by Sandefur (1986). See pages 19-24.

  • This is exactly what I was looking for Floating Tone, for years I've only ever found things discussing one or the other. Now I can finally see what some of the similarities and differences are. Fascinating stuff. Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 7:56
  • Happy to help. Enjoy! Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 9:06

Torres Strait Creole has been known as 'Broken' and 'Blaikman', but nowadays is usually called 'Yumplatok' (the indigenous name). The creole in the NT is sometimes known as 'Roper Creole' (it having originated at Roper River Mission) to distinguish it from Kimberley Kriol (spoken in the Kimberley region of WA), but these two may well form a continuum.

The Aboriginal Child Language Acquisition Project (ACLA) has examined child language acquisition in a number of communities in the NT, to the south of the areas where Roper Creole is spoken. There is a discussion of some of the outcomes from the project at this site.

While ACLA has focused on varieties (that might be creoles or mixed languages) from these more southerly areas of the NT, the list of references at the end is very good, athough it seems to exclude Yumplatok. From that list I suggest Mühlhaüsler (2004) may provide you the comparative information you are seeking.

I think the best book about Yumplatok is 'Broken: an introduction to the Creole language of Torres Strait' by Anna Shnukal (1988).

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