Torres Strait Creole is the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Queensland, used by over thirty thousand people as a first, second or third language. It is a direct descendant of Pacific Pidgin English, the lingua franca of the Pacific from the turn of the 19th century when it arrived in the Torres Strait. It became the first language of a generation of children and thus expanded its functions beyond a contact language (the pidgin) and became Torres Strait Creole. Due to its provenance it is related to Tok Pisin in New Guinea, Bislama in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands Pijin.
Torres Strait Creole has been spoken by six generations and is one of the three Indigenous languages of the Torres Strait, along with Kala Yagaw Ya Y1 / Kalaw Kawaw Ya Y2 and eastern Meriam Mir Y3, although it has less status than those traditional languages (Shnukal, 2004:7). This language is also known by the names Broken (P2) and Yumpla Tok (P2).
See also Mabuyag Y239, Kulkalgaw Ya Y4, Kawalgaw Ya Y5 as well as Kriol P1, Kimberley Kriol P5 and Gurindji Kriol P6.
Note: this code (P2) is also used to identify Torres Strait Islanders in the thesaurus but this does not imply that all are speakers of Torres Strait Creole.
... the first language of most of the younger Aboriginal and Islander people [in] the Cape York communities of Bamaga, Seisa, Umagico (Alau), Injinoo (Cowal Creek) and Mandingu (New Mapoon) (Shnukal, 2004:7).
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Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.
Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).
Shnukal, Anna. 1994. Torres Strait Creole. In Macquarie Aboriginal words: a dictionary of words from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, eds. N Thieberger and W McGregor, 374-398. North Ryde: Macquarie Library.