haitian creole language

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  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 1

    Haitian Creole

    Haitian Creole

    Kreyl ayisyen

    Native to Haiti and Dominican Republic (Haitian descents)

    Native speakers 9.6 million (2007)[1]

    Language family French Creole

    Antillean Creoles

    Haitian Creole

    Writing system Latin (Haitian alphabet)

    Official status

    Official language in Haiti

    Recognised minority language in Dominican RepublicRegulated by Ministre de l'ducation nationale et de la formation professionnelle


    Language codes

    ISO 639-1 ht

    ISO 639-2 hat

    ISO 639-3 hat

    Linguasphere 51-AAC-cb

    Haitian Creole (Kreyl ayisyen; pronounced: [kejl ajisj] French: Crole hatien), often called simply Creole or

    Kreyl, is a language spoken by about twelve million people,[citation needed] which includes virtually the entirepopulation of Haiti and via emigration, by about two to three million speakers residing in the Bahamas, Belize,

    Canada, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Ivory Coast, Martinique,

    Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela.

    Haitian Creole is one of Haiti's two official languages, along with French. It is a creole based largely on 18th-century

    French and some West African languages, and has secondary influence from other languages. In school, all children

    learn both Creole and French.

    Partly due to efforts of Flix Morisseau-Leroy, since 1961 Haitian Creole has been recognized as an official

    language along with French, which had been the sole literary language of the country since its independence in 1804.

    Its orthography was standardized in 1979. The official status was maintained under the country's 1987 constitution.

    The use of Haitian Creole in literature has been small but is increasing. Morisseau was one of the first and most

    influential authors to write in Haitian Creole. Since the 1980s, many educators, writers and activists have written

    literature in Haitian Creole. Today numerous newspapers, as well as radio and television programs, are produced in

    Haitian Creole.

    As required by the Joseph C. Bernard (Secrtaire d'tat de l'ducation nationale) law of 18 September 1979, [3] the

    Institut Pdagogique National established an official orthography for Kreyl, and slight modifications were made

    over the next two decades. For example, the hyphen (-) is no longer used, nor is the apostrophe. The only accent

    accepted is the grave accent (, , or ).

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    Haitian Creole 2


    There are many theories on the formation of the Haitian Creole language.

    One states that a form of creole had already started to develop on West African trading posts before the importation

    of African slaves into the Americas, and that since many of those slaves were being kept for some amount of time

    near these trading posts before being sent to the Caribbean, they would have learned a rudimentary creole even

    before getting there.

    Another one states that Haitian creole was mostly locally developed when slaves speaking languages from the Fon

    family started to relexify them with vocabulary from the French language.[4]

    Orthography and phonology

    Haitian Creole has a systematic orthography[5] where spelling strictly follows pronunciation, except for proper nouns

    and foreign words. According to the official standardized orthography, Haitian Creole is composed of the following

    32 sounds : a, an, b, ch, d, e, , en, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ng, o, , on, ou, oun, p, r, s, t, ui, v, w, y, z. Of note is the

    absence of letters c, q, u and x. Letter k is to be used for the sounds of letters c and q. Letter u is always associated

    with another letter (ou, oun, ui), while letter i (and its sound) is used to replace the single letter u in French words. Asfor letter x, its sound is produced by using the combination of letters k and s, k and z, or g and z.


    Haitian orthography IPA Examples nearest English equivalent

    b b bagay before

    ch cheve shoe

    d d dnye do

    f f fig festival

    g gch gainh h hinghang hotel

    j jedi vision

    k k kle sky

    l l lalin clean

    m m moun man

    n n nt note

    ng hinghang feeling


    ppakt spy

    r rezon ruin

    s s sis six

    t t tonton telephone

    v v vwazen vision

    w w wi we

    y j pye yes

    z z zero zero

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    Haitian Creole 3


    Haitian orthography IPA Examples nearest English equivalent

    a (or before an n) a abako pn apple

    an (when not followed by a vowel) anpil (none)

    e e kle clay ft festival

    en (when not followed by a vowel) mwen (none)

    i i lide unique

    o o zwazo sole

    dey sort

    on (when not followed by a vowel) tonton (none)

    ou u kafou you

    oun (when not followed by a vowel)

    youn (none)

    ui i lannuit huis-clos

    There are no silent letters in Haitian Creole.

    All sounds are always spelled the same, except when a vowel carries a grave accent before , which makes

    it an open vowel instead of a nasal vowel (e.g. for // and for /n/; = //, but = /n/; =

    //, but = /an/).

    When immediately followed by a vowel in a word, the digraphs denoting the nasal vowels (an, en, on, and

    sometimes oun) are pronounced as an oral vowel followed by n.

    There is some ambiguity in the pronunciation of the high vowels i and ou when followed in spelling by n:

    common words such as moun ("person") and machin ("car") end with consonantal /n/, while very few words,mostly adopted from African languages, contain nasalized high vowels (e.g. houngan "voodoo priest").

    Haitian orthography debate

    The first technical orthography for Haitian kreyl was developed in 1940 by Ormonde McConnell. It was later

    revised with the help of Frank Laubach, resulting in the creation of what is known as the McConnell-Laubach


    The McConnell-Laubach orthography received substantial criticism from members of the Haitian elite. Haitian

    scholar Charles Pressoir critiqued the McConnell-Laubach orthography for its lack of front rounded vowels because

    of their highly symbolic value in kreyl.[6] Another criticism was of the broad use of the letters /w/ and /y/.[6]

    Pressoir argued that these letters looked too American.[6] This criticism of the American look of the orthographywas shared by many educated Haitians, who also criticized its association with Protestantism.[6] The last of Pressoirs

    criticisms was that the use of the circumflex accent to mark nasalized vowels treated nasal sounds differently from

    the way they are represented in French and, therefore, would inhibit the learning of French.[6]

    The official creation of the orthography was essentially an articulation of the language ideologies of those involved

    and therefore brought out political and social tensions between competing groups. A large portion of this tension lay

    in the ideology held by many that the French language is superior, which led to resentment of the language by some

    Haitians and an admiration for it from others.[6] This orthographical controversy boiled down to an attempt to unify a

    conception of Haitian national identity, a highly politicized and controversial topic of which there are many

    competing views.

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    Haitian Creole 4


    Haitian Creole grammar is highly analytical: for example, verbs are not inflected for tense or person, and there is no

    grammatical gendermeaning that adjectives and articles are not inflected according to the noun. The primary word

    order (SVO) is the same as in French.

    Many grammatical features, particularly pluralization of nouns and indication of possession, are indicated by

    appending certain markers, likeyo, to the main word. There has been a debate going on for some years as to whetherthese markers are affixes or clitics, and therefore what should be used to connect the affixes to the word: the most

    popular alternatives are a hyphen, an apostrophe or a space. It makes matters more complicated when the affix itself

    is shortened, perhaps making only one letter (such as m'or w').

    Although the lexicon is mostly French, the sentence structure is like that of the West African Fon language. [4]

    French Fon Haitian Creole English

    Ma bcane/becane moi[in 17th century popular french] my-SING-f bike Keke che bike my Bekn mwen bike my My bike

    French Fon Haitian Creole English

    Mes bcanes my-PL bikes Keke che le bike my-PL Bekn mwen yo bike my-PL My bikes


    There are six pronouns, one pronoun for each person/number combination. There is no difference between direct and

    indirect. Some are of French origin, others are not.

    person/number Creole Short form French English

    1/singular Mwen M' Je, me, moi "I", "me"

    2/singular Ou (*) W' Tu, te, vous "thou", "you" (sing.)

    3/singular Li L' Il, elle, on "He", "she"

    1/plural Nou N' Nous "We", "us"

    2/plural Nou or Ou (**) Vous "You" (pl.)

    3/plural Yo Y' Ils,Elles "They", "them"

    (*) sometimes ou is written as win the sample phrases, w indicates ou.

    (**) depending on the situation. In southern Haiti,ztis used.

    Plural of nouns

    If a noun is definite, it is pluralized by addingyo at the end. If it is indefinite, it has no plural marker, and its plurality

    is determined by context.

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    Haitian Creole 5

    Haitian Creole French English

    Liv yo Les livres The books

    Machin yo Les autos The cars

    Fi yo mete wob Les filles mettent des robes The girls put on dresses.


    Possession is indicated by placing the possessor or possessive pronoun after the item possessed. This is similar to the

    French construction ofchez moi or chez lui which are "my place" and "his place", respectively. In northern Haiti, an

    "a" or "an" is placed before the possessive pronoun.

    Unlike in English, possession does not indicate definiteness ("my friend" as opposed to "a friend of mine"), and

    possessive constructions are often followed by a definite article.

    Haitian Creole French English

    Lajan li Son argent "His/her money"

    "Fanmi mwen" or "fanmi m" or "fanmi an m" Ma famille My family

    Kay yo Leur maison / Leurs maisons "Their house" or "their houses"

    "Papa ou" or "papa a ou" Ton pre Your father

    Chat Pierre a Le chat de Pierre Pierre's cat

    Chz Marie a La chaise de Marie Marie's chair

    Zanmi papa Jean L'ami du pre de Jean Jean's father's friend

    Papa vwazen zanmi nou Le pre du voisin de notre ami Our friend's neighbor's father

    Indefinite article

    The language has two indefinite articles, yon or simply on depending on regional dialects (pronounced /j/ or //),

    and French un/une. Yon is derived from the French il y a un, (lit. "there is a/an/one"). It is used only with singular

    nouns, and it is placed before the noun:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Yon/on kouto Un couteau A knife

    Yon/on brezo Une cravate A necktie

    Definite article

    There is also a definite article, roughly corresponding to English "the" and French le/la. It is placed after the noun,

    and the sound varies by the last sound of the noun itself. If the last sound is an oral consonant and is preceded by an

    oral vowel, it becomes la:

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    Haitian Creole 6

    Haitian Creole French English

    kol la La cravate The tie

    Liv la Le livre The book

    kay la La maison The house

    If the last sound is an oral consonant and is preceded by a nasal vowel, it becomes lan:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Lamp lan La lampe The lamp

    Bank lan La banque The bank

    If the last sound is an oral vowel and is preceded by an oral consonant, it becomes a:

    Haitian Creole French English

    kouto a Le couteau The knife

    Peyi a Le pays The country

    If a word ends in "mi" or "mou" or "ni" or "nou", it becomes an:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Fanmi an La famille The family

    Mi an Le mur The wall

    If the last sound is a nasal vowel, it becomes an:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Chyen an Le chien The dog

    Pon an Le pont The bridge

    If the last sound is a nasal consonant, it becomes nan, but may also be "lan"

    Haitian Creole French English

    Machin nan La voiture The car

    Telefn nan Le tlphone The telephone

    Madanm nan / Fanm nan La dame / La femme The woman

    "This" and "that"

    There is a single word sa that corresponds to French ce/ceci or a, and English "this" and "that". As in English, it

    may be used as a demonstrative, except that it is placed after the noun it qualifies. It is often followed by a oryo (in

    order to mark number): sa a = This here / that there (ceci / cela)

    Haitian Creole French English

    Jaden sa bl Ce jardin est beau This/that garden is beautiful.

    As in English, it may also be used as a pronoun, replacing a noun:

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    Haitian Creole 7

    Haitian Creole French English

    sa se zanmi mwen C'est mon ami This/that is my friend

    sa se chyen fr mwen C'est le chien de mon frre This/that is my brother's dog


    Many verbs in Haitian Creole are the same spoken words as the French infinitive, but there is no conjugation in the

    language; the verbs have one form only, and changes in tense, mood, aspect etc. are indicated by the use of markers.

    Haitian Creole French English

    Li ale travay nan maten Il va au travail le matin. He/she goes to work in the morning.

    Li dmi asw Il dort le soir. He/she sleeps in the evening.

    Li li bib la Il lit la Bible. He/she reads the Bible.

    Mwen f manje Je fais manger. I make food. (I cook)

    Nou toujou etidye Nous tudions toujours. We always study.


    The concept expressed in English by the verb "to be" is expressed in Haitian Creole by three words, se, ye and

    sometimes e.

    The verb se (pronounced "say") is used to link a subject with a predicate nominative:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Li se fr mwen Il est mon frre he is my brother

    Mwen se yon dokt Je suis mdecin/docteur I am a doctor

    Sa se yon pye mango C'est un manguier That is a mango tree

    Nou se zanmi Nous sommes amis We are friends

    The subject sa or li can sometimes be omitted with se:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Se yon bon ide C'est une bonne ide That is a good idea

    Se nouvo chemiz mwen C'est ma nouvelle chemise This is my new shirt

    To express: "I want to be", usually vin "to become" is used instead ofse.

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    Haitian Creole 8

    Haitian Creole French English

    Li pral vin bofr m (mwen) Il va devenir mon beaufrre He will be my brother-in-law

    Mwen vle vin yon dokt Je veux devenir un docteur I want to become a doctor

    Sa pral vin on pye mango a va devenir un manguier That will become a mango tree

    Nou pral vin zanmi Nous allons devenir amis We will be friends

    "Ye" also means "to be", but is placed exclusively at the end of the sentence, after the predicate and the subject (in

    that order):

    Haitian Creole French English

    "Ayisyen mwen ye" = "Mwen se ayisyen" Je suis hatien I am Haitian

    Koman ou ye? Comment tes-vous? How are you?

    The verb "to be" is not overt when followed by an adjective, that is, Haitian Creole has stative verbs. So, malad

    means "sick" and "to be sick":

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen gen yon zanmi ki malad J'ai un ami malade I have a sick friend.

    Zanmi mwen malad. Mon ami est malade. My friend is sick.

    "to have"

    The verb "to have" is genyen, often shortened to gen.

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen gen lajan nan bank lan. J'ai de l'argent dans la banque. I have money in the bank.

    "there is"

    The verb genyen (or gen) also means "there is/are"

    Haitian Creole French English

    Gen anpil ayisyen nan florid. Il y a beaucoup d'Hatiens en Floride. There are many Haitians in Florida.

    Gen yon moun la. Il y a quelqu'un l. There is someone here or there.

    Pa gen moun la. Il n'y a personne l. There is nobody here or there.

    "to know"

    There are three verbs which are often translated as "to know", but they mean different things.

    konn or konnen means "to know" + a noun (cf. French connatre).

    Haitian Creole French English

    Eske ou konnen non li? Connais-tu son nom ? Do you know his/her name?

    konn or konnen also means "to know" + a fact (cf. French savoir).

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen pa konnen kote li ye. Je ne sais pas o il est I do not know where he/she is.

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    Haitian Creole 9

    (notepa = negative)

    The third word is always spelled konn. It means "to know how to" or "to have experience". This is similar to the

    "know" as used in the English phrase "know how to ride a bike": it denotes not only a knowledge of the actions, but

    also some experience with it.

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen konn f manje. Je sais comment faire manger I know how to cook (lit. "I know how to make food")

    Eske ou konn ale Ayiti? As-tu t Hati ? Have you been to Hati? (lit . "Do you know to go to Haiti?")

    Li pa konn li franse. Il ne sait pas lire le franais He/she cannot read French (lit. "He knows not how to read French.")

    Another verb worth mentioning isf. It comes from the Frenchfaire and is often translated as "do" or "make". It has

    a broad range of meanings, as it is one of the most common verbs used in idiomatic phrases.

    Haitian Creole French English

    Kman ou f pale kreyol? Comment as-tu appris parler crole ? How did you learn to speak Haitian Creole?

    Marie konn f mayi moulen. Marie sait faire de la farine de mas. Marie knows how to make cornmeal.

    "to be able to"

    The verb kapab (or shortened to ka, kap or kab) means "to be able to (do something)". It refers to both "capability"

    and "availability", very similar to the French "capable".

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen kapab ale demen. Je peux aller demain I can go tomorrow.

    Pett m ka f sa demen. Je peux peut-tre faire a demain Maybe I can do that tomorrow.

    Nou kab ale pita Nous pouvons aller plus tard We can go later.

    Tense markers

    There is no conjugation in Haitian Creole. In the present non-progressive tense, one just uses the basic verb form for

    stative verbs:

    Haitian Creole French English

    Mwen pale kreyl. Je parle crole I speak Creole

    Note that when the basic form of action verbs is used without any verb markers, it is generally understood as

    referring to the past:

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    Haitian Creole 10

    Haitian Creole French English

    mwen manje j'ai mang I ate

    ou manje tu as mang you ate

    li manje il/elle a mang he/she ate

    nou manje nous avons mang we ate

    yo manje ils/elles ont mang they ate

    (Note that manje means both "food" and "to eat"m ap manje bon manje means "I am eating good food".).

    For other tenses, special "tense marker" words are placed before the verb. The basic ones are:

    Tense marker Tense Annotations

    te simple past

    t ap past progressive a combination of te and ap, "was doing"

    ap present progressive With ap and a, the pronouns nearly always take the short form (m ap, l ap, n ap,y ap, etc.)

    a future some limitations on use

    pral near or definite future translates to "going to"

    ta conditional future a combination of te and a, "will do"

    Simple past or past perfect:

    mwen te manje"I ate" or "I had eaten"

    ou te manje- "you ate" or "you had eaten"

    li te manje"he/she ate" or "he/she had eaten"

    nou te manje"we ate" or "we had eaten"yo te manje"they ate" or "they had eaten"

    Past progressive:

    mwen t ap manje"I was eating"

    ou t ap manje"you were eating"

    li t ap manje"he/she was eating"

    nou t ap manje"we were eating"

    yo t ap manje"they were eating"

    Present progressive:

    m ap manje"I am eating"

    w ap manje"you are eating"

    l ap manje"he/she is eating"

    n ap manje"we are eating"

    y ap manje"they are eating"

    Note: For the present progressive ("I am eating now") it is customary, though not necessary, to add "right now":

    M ap manje kounye a"I am eating right now"

    Also, those examples can mean "will eat" depending on the context of the sentence.

    M ap manje apre m priye "I will eat after I pray" / Mwen pap di sa "I will not say that"

    Near or definite future:

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    Haitian Creole 11

    Mwen pral manje"I am going to eat"

    Ou pral manje"you are going to eat"

    Li pral manje"he/she is going to eat"

    Nou pral manje"we are going to eat"

    Yo pral manje"they are going to eat"


    N a w pi ta"See you later" (lit. "We will see (each other) later) from the old patois (Nous sommes voire

    plus tard > > Nous voire plus tard) meaning: we are to see later.

    Other examples:

    Mwen te w zanmi ou y"I saw your friend yesterday"

    Nou te pale lontan"We spoke for a long time"

    L l te gen uit an..."When he/she was eight years old..."

    M a travay"I will work"

    M pral travay"I'm going to work"N a li l demen"We'll read it tomorrow"

    Nou pral li l demen"We are going to read it tomorrow"

    Mwen t ap mache epi m te w yon chen"I was walking and I saw a dog"

    Additional time-related markers:

    fkrecent past ("just")

    stsimilar tof'k

    They are often used together:

    Mwen fk st antre kay la"I just entered the house"A verb mood marker is ta, corresponding to English "would" and equivalent to the French conditional tense:

    Yo ta renmen jwe"They would like to play"

    Mwen ta vini si m te gen yon machin"I would come if I had a car"

    Li ta bliye w si ou pa t la"He/she would forget you if you weren't here"

    Negating the verb

    The wordpa comes before a verb (and all tense markers) to negate it:

    Rose pa vle ale"Rose doesn't want to go"

    Rose pa t vle ale"Rose didn't want to go"


    Most of the lexicon of Creole is derived from French, with significant changes in pronunciation and morphology;

    often, the French definite article was retained as part of the noun. For example, the French definite article la in la

    lune ("the moon") was incorporated into the Creole noun for moon: lalin. However, the language also inherited many

    words of different origins, among them Wolof, Fon, Kongo, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Taino and Arabic, a

    testament to the numerous contacts with different cultures that led to the formation of the language.

    Being a living language, Haitian Creole creates and borrows new words to describe new or old concepts and

    realities. Examples of this are "f bak" which was borrowed from English and means 'to move backwards' (theoriginal word derived from French is "rekile" from reculer), and also from English, "napkin", which is being used as

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    Haitian Creole 12

    well as the original Creole word "tchon".


    Creole IPA Origin English

    anasi /anasi/(Akan) "ananse"


    annanna /nna/ (Taino) "anana" (Also the source of the word in French) "pineapple"

    Ayiti /ajiti/ (Taino) "Haiti(mountainous land)"

    bagay /baaj/ (French)bagage, "baggage" "thing"

    bannann /bnn/ (French)banane, "banana" "Plantains"

    bekn /bekan/ (French)bcane/bekan/ "bicycle"

    bk /boko/ (Fon) bokono "sorcerer"

    Bondye /bdje/ (French)Bon Dieu/bdj/ "God" or "God!"/"Good Lord!"

    chent /ent/ (French) (Antilles) la qunette "mamoncillo", "chenette", "guinip", "gap"[7]

    chouk /k/ (Fula)Chukto pierce, to poke "poke"

    dekabes /decahbes/ (Spanish)dos cabezas - two heads "2 headed win during dominos"

    dy /dj/ (French)derrire/dj/ "behind"

    diri /dii/ (French)du riz/dy i/ "rice"

    fig /fi/ (French)figue/fi/ "Banana"

    je /e/ (French)yeux/j/ (plural of "oeil") "eye"

    kiyz, tchok,poban /kijz, tk, pob/ "hog banana"[8]

    kle /kle/ (French)cl/kle/, "key" "wrench" or "key"

    kle kola /kle kola/ (French)cl/kle/, "key" + Eng. "cola" "bottle opener"

    knflks /knfleks/ (English) "corn flakes" "breakfast cereal"

    kawotchou /kautu/ (French)caoutchouc, "rubber" "tire"

    lakay /lakaj/ (French)la cahutte/la kayt/la case"the hut" "house"

    lalin /lalin/ (French)la lune/la lyn/ "moon"

    li /li/ (French) Lui "he/she/him/her"

    makak /makak/ (French)macaque/makak/ "monkey"

    manbo /mbo/ (Kongo)mambu or Fongbe nanbo "voodoo priestess"

    marasa /maasa/ (Kongo)mabasa "twins"

    matant /matt/ (French)ma tante, "my aunt" "aunt", "aged woman"

    moun /mun/ (French)monde "people/person"

    mwen /mw/ (French)moi/mwa/ "me","I","myself"

    nimewo /nimewo/ (French)numro/nymeo/ "number"

    oungan // (Fon) houngan "voodoo priest"

    Ozetazini /ozetazini/ (French)Aux tats-Unis/etazyni/ "United States"

    piman /pim/ (French)piment/pim/ a very hot pepper

    pann /pn/ (French) pendre /pd/, "to hang" "clothesline"

    podyab /po jab/ (French)pauvre diable or (Spanish)pobre diablo "poor devil"

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    Haitian Creole 13

    pwa /pwa/ (French)pois/pwa/, "pea" "bean"

    seyfing /seifi/ (English) surfing "sea-surfing"

    tonton /tt/ (French)tonton "uncle", "aged man"

    vwazen /vwaz/ (French)voisin/vwaz/ "neighbor"

    yo /jo/ (Fon)ye "they / them / their"plural marker

    zonbi /zbi/ (Kongo)nzumbi "soulless corpse / living dead / ghost"

    zwazo /zwazo/ (French)les oiseaux/wazo/ (frontal "z" kept with liaison) "bird"

    [1] Nationalencyklopedin "Vrldens 100 strsta sprk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007

    [2] http://www.eduhaiti.gouv. ht/Fichiers/Accueil_menfp.htm

    [3] Joseph C. Bernard (Secrtaire d'tat de l'ducation nationale) law of 18 September 1979 (http://commissioneducation.ht/images/


    [4] Lefebvre (1985). A recent research project of the Leiden-based Research School CNWS on this topic concerns the relation between Gbe and

    Surinamese creole languages. The project is titledA trans-Atlantic Sprachbund? The structural relationship between the Gbe-languages of

    West Africa and the Surinamese creole languages.

    [5][5] It is not the only orthography people use, it is just the one that has been made official by the government in education, People who lived

    before this was official still write and teach their children in their own way of writing creole whether it be the traditional French orthographyor something approximate like the way Cape Verdean creole is written in respects to Portuguese

    [6] Schieffelin, B. B., and Doucet, R. C. (1998). The real Haitian Creole: Ideology, Meta- linguistics, and Orthographic Choice. In B. B.

    Schieffelin, K. A. Woolard, and P. V. Kroskrity (eds.), Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory (pp. 285316). New York: Oxford

    University Press.

    [7][7] The gap between a person's two front teeth.

    [8][8] A banana that is short and fat, not a plantain and not a conventional banana; regionally called "hog banana" or "sugar banana" in English.

    Nouns derived from trade marks

    Many trademarks have become common nouns in Haitian Creole (i. e., they have become genericized, as has

    happened in English with "aspirin" and "kleenex", for example).

    kolgat(Colgate) orpat"toothpaste"


    pampz (Pampers) or koucht"diaper" or (Br) "nappy"


    frijid (Frigidaire)"refrigerator"

    dlco (Delco)"generator"

    iglou (Igloo) or tms (Thermos)"cooler"

    chiklt(Chiclets)"chewing gum"

    magui (Maggi)"bouillon cube"

    kitks (Cutex)"nail polish"

    djip (Jeep)"SUV"

    douko (Duco)"automobile paint"

    koteks (Kotex)"sanitary napkin"

    Ng andblan

    Despite similar words in French (ngre, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people and

    blanc, meaning white person), the meanings they carry do not apply in Haiti. The term ng from ngre in French is

    generally used for any man, regardless of skin color (i.e., like "guy" or "dude" in American English). blan is

    generally used for a foreigner of any color. Thus a non-black Haitian man might be called ngalthough the

    circumstances in which this might occur are unclearwhile an African American would probably be referred to as ablan.

  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 14

    Etymologically, the word ng is derived from the French "ngre" and is cognate with the Spanish negro ("black",

    both the color and the people)

    There are many other Haitian Creole terms for specific tones of skin, such as grimo, bren, roz, mawon, etc. Some

    Haitians consider such labels as offensive because of their association with color discrimination and the Haitian class

    system, while others use the terms freely.



    A demen!See you tomorrow!

    A pi ta!See you later!

    Adye!Good bye! [Permanently]

    Anchante!enchanted (Nice to meet you!)

    Bon apre-midi!Good afternoon!

    Bnn nui!Good night!

    Bonjou!Good day! / Good morning! Bonswa!Good evening


    Eskize m!Excuse me!

    Ki jan ou rele?What is your name?

    Ki jan ou ye?How are you?

    Ki laj ou?What is your age? (How old are you?)

    Ki laj ou genyen?How old are you?

    Ki non ou / ki non w?What is your name?

    Koman ou rele?What is your name?

    Koman ou ye?How are you?

    Kon si, kon saSo, so

    M ap bouleI'm managing (I'm burning) [Response to "sak pase" or "sak ap ft"]

    M ap vivI'm living


    Mwen byenI'm well

    Mwen dakI agree

    Mwen gen...anI am...years old

    Mwen laI'm fine

    Mwen rele...My name is...

    N a w pi ta!We will see later (See you later!)

    Non m se...My name is...

    Orevwa!Good bye [Temporarily]

    Pa malNot bad

    Pa pi malNot so bad

    Padon!Pardon! / Sorry! Move!

    Padonne m!Pardon me! Forgive me!

    Pte w byen!Carry yourself well! (Take care!)

    Sak ap ft?What's going on? What's up? [Informal]

    Sak pase?What's going on? / What's happening? [Informal]

    Tout al byenAll goes well (All is well)

    Tout bagay anfmEverything is in form (Everything is fine)

  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 15

    Tout pa bonAll is not good (All is not well)

    Proverbs and expressions

    Haitian Creole is a very figurative language, and as such uses a lot of proverbs and colourful expressions to illustrate

    many situations. Speakers of Haitian creole will use them frequently, showing knowledge of the language and of the

    Haitian culture.


    Men anpil, chay pa louUnity creates strength (With many hands, the burden is light)The Haitian Creole

    equivalent of the Haitian motto written in French "L'union fait la force".

    Apre bal, tanbou louThere are consequences to your actions

    Sak vid pa kanpeYou cannot work without food. (Literally: An empty sack does not stand)

    Pitit tig se tigLike father like son. (Literally: The son of a tiger is a tiger).

    Ak pasyans w ap w tete pisAnything is possible. (Literally: With patience you will see the breast of the ant)

    Bay kou bliye, pte mak sonjeThe giver of the blow forgets, the carrier of the scar remembers

    Mache chche pa janm dmi san soupeYou will get what you deserve

    Bl dan pa di zanmiNot all smiles are friendly

    Bl antman pa di paradiA beautiful funeral does not guarantee heaven

    Bel fanm pa di bon menajA beautiful wife does not guarantee a happy marriage

    Dan konn mode langPeople who work together sometimes hurt each other (Literally: Teeth are known to bite

    the tongue)

    Sak rive koukouloulou a sa rive kakalanga touWhat happens to the turkey can happen to the rooster too

    Chak jou pa DimanchYour luck will not last forever. (Literally: Not every day is Sunday)

    Fanm pou yon tan, manman pou tout tanWife for one time, mother for all time

    Ng di san f, Bondye f san diPeople say without doing, God does without saying

    Sa Bondye sere pou ou, lavalas pa ka pote l aleWhat God has saved for you, nobody can take it away

    Ng rich se milat, milat pov se ngA rich negro is a mulatto, a poor mulatto is a negro

    Pale franse pa di lspri ouSpeaking French does not mean you are smart

    Wch nan dlo pa konnen doul wch nan solyThe rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the


    Ravt pa janm gen rezon devan poulJustice will always be on the side of the stronger. (Literally: Cockroach is

    never right in front of a chicken.)

    Si ou bw dlo nan v, respkte v aIf you drink water from a glass, respect the glass

    Si travay te bon bagay, moun rich ta pran l lontanIf work were a good thing, the rich would have grabbed it a

    long time ago Sl pa vante tt li di li saleLet others praise you (Said to ridicule those who praise themselves)

    Bouch granmoun santi, sak ladan l se rezonWisdom comes from the mouth of old people. (Literally: The

    mouth of the old stinks but what's inside is wisdom.)

  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 16


    Se lave men, siye l atIt was useless work (Literally: Wash your hands and wipe them on the floor)

    M ap di ou sa kasayl te di bf laMind your own business

    Li pale franseHe cannot be trusted, he is a trickster. (Literally: He speaks French)

    Kreyl pale, kreyl konprannSpeak plainly, do not deceive (Literally: Creole spoken is Creole understood)

    Bouche nen w pou bw dlo santiYou have to accept a bad situation (Literally: Pinch your nose to drink smellywater)

    Mache sou pinga w pou ou pa pile sou sa w te konnenYou need to be careful to avoid known problems

    Tann jis nou tounen pwa tannTo wait forever (Literally: Wait until you become a tender pea)Word play on

    "tann", which means "to wait" and also "tender"

    San pran soufWithout taking a breathContinuously

    "Ou ap kon joj" - Warning or threat of punishment or reprimand (Literally: You will find out who George is.)

    "Dis ti piti tankou ou" - Dismissing or defying a threat or show of force (Literally: 10 little ones like you couldn't


    "L poul f dan"- Never. (Literally: When chickens will grow teeth.)

    French-based orthography

    Alongside the usage of a phonetic orthography used to represent Creole, there exists in Haiti a French-based

    orthography (l'orthographe francise) or rather several variations of this which were present long before the

    introduction of the phonetic orthography. There have been arguments against the phonetic writing system of Creole.

    The main complaint is that it looks nothing like French and so may hinder the learning of French at school.[citation

    needed] Another complaint is that the phonetics of the current standard rely on Germanic letters K and W, which are

    seldom used in French.[1] Unlike the phonetic orthography the French orthography has no official rules or

    regulations on spelling therefore spelling often varies depending on the writer; thus some may use exact French

    spelling and others may adjust the spelling of certain words to represent the Creole accent and others may drop silent

    letters at the end of words since Creole rarely uses the liaisons of French; the result is that a phrase represented

    phonetically like "Li ale travay le maten" may be represented many ways using the French orthography.

    Li ale travay le maten > Lui aller travail le matin > Li aller travail le matin

    Koman ou ye? > Comment 'ous yest? > Commen ou y?

    Pa gen problem > Pas gagne problme > Pa guin problme

    Tout bagay an fm > Toute bagaye en forme > Toute bagail en fme

    Pa koun ye a > Pas counne hier > Pa counne hi

    Nou ap chache > Nous ap' chercher > Nou ap chcher

    Nou bezwen on dokt tout swit > Nous besoin un docteur toute suite > Nou besouin on doct toute suite

    Kote lopital la? > Ct l'hpital l?

    Usage outside of Haiti

    United States and Canada

    Haitian Creole is used widely among Haitians who have relocated to other countries, particularly the United States

    and Canada. Some of the larger Creole-speaking populations are found in Montreal, Quebec (where French is the

    first official language), New York City, Boston, and Central and South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm

    Beach). To reach out to the large Haitian population, government agencies have produced various public service

    announcements, school-parent communications, and other materials in Haitian Creole. For instance, Miami-Dade

    County in Florida sends out paper communications in Haitian Creole in addition to English and Spanish. In the

    Boston area, the Boston subway system and area hospitals and medical offices post announcements in Haitian Creole

  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 17

    as well as English. North America's only Creole-language television network is HTN, based in Miami. The area also

    has more than half a dozen Creole-language AM radio stations.

    Haitian language and culture is taught in many colleges in the United States as well as in the Bahamas. York College

    at the City University of New York features a Minor in Haitian Creole (http:/ / www. york. cuny. edu/

    produce-and-print/ contents/ bulletin/ school-of-arts-and-sciences/ foreign-languages-esl-and-humanities/

    creole-minor). Indiana University has a Creole Institute (http:/






    ) founded by Dr. AlbertValdman where Haitian Creole, among other facets of Haiti, are studied and researched; the University of Kansas,

    Lawrence has an Institute of Haitian studies, founded by Dr. Bryant Freeman. Additionally, the University of

    Massachusetts Boston, Florida International University, and University of Florida offer seminars and courses

    annually at their Haitian Creole Summer Institute. Tulane University, Brown University, Columbia University, and

    University of Miami are also offering classes in Haitian Creole. The University of Oregon and Duke University will

    soon be offering classes as well.


    Haitian Creole is the second most spoken language in Cuba, where over 300,000 Haitian immigrants speak it. It is

    recognized as a language in Cuba and a considerable number of Cubans speak it fluently. Most of these speakershave never been to Haiti and do not possess Haitian ancestry, but merely learned it in their communities. In addition,

    there is a Haitian Creole radio station operating in Havana.[2]

    Dominican Republic

    The language is also spoken by over 150,000 Haitians who reside in the neighboring Dominican Republic,[3]

    although the locals do not speak it. However, some estimates suggest that there are over a million speakers due to a

    huge population of illegal aliens from Haiti.[4]

    Translation efforts after the 2010 Haitian earthquakeAfter the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, international help badly needed translation tools for

    communicating in Haitian Creole. Furthermore, international organizations had little idea whom to contact as

    translators. As an emergency measure, Carnegie Mellon University released data for its own research into the public

    domain.[5] Microsoft Research and Google Translate have implemented alpha version machine translators based on

    the Carnegie Mellon data.

    In addition, several free apps have been published for use on the iPhone & iPod Touch, including learning flashcards

    by Byki and two medical dictionaries, one by Educa Vision and a second by Ultralingua, which includes an audio

    phrase book and a section on cultural anthropology.


    [1] (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:nBY3DCQdALkJ:www0.hku. hk/linguist/program/contact10.html+haitians+


    [2] Haiti in Cuba (http://www.afrocubaweb.com/haiticuba.htm)

    [3] Languages of Dominican Republic (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=DO)

    [4] Dr1.com: Illegal Haitians deported (http://dr1. com/news/2005/dnews081605. shtml#13)

    [5] Carnegie Mellon releases data on Haitian Creole to hasten development of translation tools (http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/01/27/


  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Haitian Creole 18

    Further reading

    Degraff, Michel (2001). "Morphology in Creole genesis: Linguistics and ideology". In Kenstowicz, Michael.Ken

    Hale: A life in language. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 52121

    Degraff, Michel (2005). "Linguists' Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Creole Exceptionalism".Language in

    Society34 (4): 533591

    Fattier, Dominique (1998). "Contribution l'tude de la gense d'un crole: L'Atlas linguistique d'Hati, cartes etcommentaires (Dissertation)".Language in Society (Universit de Provence)

    Lefebvre, Claire (1985) 'Relexification in creole genesis revisited: the case of Haitian Creole'. In Muysken &

    Smith (eds.) Substrate versus Universals in Creole Genesis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Spears, Arthur K., and Carole M. Berotte Joseph, eds. The Haitian Creole Language: History, Structure, Use, and

    Education (Lexington Books; 2010) 297 pages. Topics include Creole and English code-switching in New York

    City, Creole in education in Haiti, and Creole and French in Haitian literature.

    Turnbull, Wally R. (2000). Creole Made Easy, Light Messages. ISBN 0-9679937-1-7.

    External links

    What is Haitian Creole? (http://www.ahadonline.org/eLibrary/creoleconnection/Number20/haitiancreole.

    htm) by Hughes St. Fort, with references to recent research by linguists on the subject.

    Haitian Creole materials from the Institute of Haitian Studies at the University of Kansas (http://www2.ku.edu/

    ~haitiancreole/)Complete pdf versions of books created by Bryant C. Freeman, PhD, as well as the

    accompanying mp3 audio supplements.

    Haitian CreoleEnglish Medical Reference by Ultralingua (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/

    haitian-medical-reference/id370253128?mt=8)Made for iPhone & iPod Touch, using texts authored by Bryant

    C. Freeman, PhD.

    Litiji Kreyol La (http://justus.anglican. org/resources/bcp/Haiti/Kreyol.html) Anglican Church liturgical

    materials in Kreyol digitized by Jean Fils Chery and Richard Mammana Public release of Haitian Creole language data by Carnegie Mellon (http://www.speech.cs. cmu.edu/haitian/)

    Haitian Creole (http://www.haiti-reference.com/creole/diction/index.php)English, EnglishHaitian

    Creole Dictionary

    Creole Language and Culture (http://ocw.nd.edu/romance-languages-and-literatures/

    creole-language-and-culture)OpenCourseWare from the University of Notre Dame

    UN Declaration of Human Rights in Haitian Creole (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.


    RFIKryl Pal Kryl Konprann (radio program) (http://www.rfi. fr/fichiers/Langues/creole/


    Common Creole Words and Phrases (http:/






    asp) Saint Lucia Creole guide (http://kweyol.wikispaces.com/file/view/Toynbee+MW+Visitor's+Guide+St+


    Google Translator (http://translate.google.com/#en|ht) supports Haitian Creole in alpha mode.

    Byki Learning Flashcards (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/byki-haitian-creole/id350651748?mt=8)for

    iPhone by Transparent Language

    Haitian CreoleEnglish Medical Dictionary for iPhone, by Educa Vision (http://itunes.apple. com/us/app/


    Amour Crole (http://www.amourcreole.com/) - Haitian Fashion Magazine

    Haitian Creole Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/

    Appendix:Haitian_Creole_Swadesh_list) (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix (http:/





  • 7/28/2019 Haitian Creole Language


    Article Sources and Contributors 19

    Article Sources and ContributorsHaitian Creole Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=560775041 Contributors: (aeropagitica), 1549bcp, A. di M., Aaker, Aard, Acroterion, AdRock, Adam Keller, Aeusoes1, Ale

    jrb, Alsandro, Angr, AniMate, AnonMoos, Apollotiger, Arctic Kangaroo, Asrghasrhiojadrhr, Asterion, AstroHurricane001, Atif.t2, Avicennasis, Babbage, Bayang, Bearcat, Belovedfreak,Bermuda-Russian lover556, Bgirardbond, Bibi66, Big Adamsky, BilCat, Blackdoom77, Blackjays1, Blanchardb, Boukman, BovineBeast, Bunchofgrapes, Burschik, CJLL Wright,Caeruleancentaur, Calliopejen1, Can't sleep, clown will e at me, CathySc, Chamaeleon, CharlesMartel, Christopher Sundita, Chronodm, Ckatz, Courcelles, Creoleavie, Croquant, Crole Hatien,Cthulhu1234, Cub68134, D4niel244, DBigXray, Dale Arnett, Dale Chock, Dalencourt, Dana boomer, David spector, Davidcannon, De728631, Deor, Diderot, Discospinster, Dissident, Dj iET,Dmitri Lytov, Doady, DopefishJustin, Doprendek, Drahgon, Drpickem, Duoduoduo, E. Ripley, EVula, Ed g2s, Edicia, Educavision, Ego White Tray, El Cazangero, El aprendelenguas,

    Embryomystic, EnchantressKali, Energy110, Erolos, Excirial, Famedard, Fanatix, Fantastic fred, Felix ahlner, Fenel, FilipeS, Florian Blaschke, Fratrep, Frecklefoot, Freelance Intellectual,FrickFrack, FunkyJazzMonkey, Funnyhat, G Purevdorj, Gaidheal, Garzo, Geenius at Wrok, Geo0910, Giraffedata, Glanhawr, GoingBatty, Grafen, Greenbahama109, Greudin, Guyjohnston,Haisyen, Haiti1804, Haitipatrick, Hans-Friedrich Tamke, Hapsiainen, Heyzeuss, Hippietrail, Horselover Frost, Howa0082, Hvn0413, Internoob, Iridescent, Isaac Crumm, Ispy1981, Israelite9191,J. Spencer, JHunterJ, JamesAM, Janus Shadowsong, JdeJ, Jeremiestrother, Jmlk17, Jon C., Jon Harald Sby, JonHarder, Jorge Stolfi, Jose77, Joseph Solis in Australia, Jrobin08, Julesd, Jwillbur,KIAaze, Kakofonous, Kanon6996, Kas wiz, Katonams, Kazvorpal, Keizers, Kemet, Kevlar67, Kharker, King Geiseric, Kinghajj, Kleclerc, Koavf, Kwamikagami, LOL, Lacrimosus, Lakefall,Lights, Linguistatlunch, LittleRoughRhinestone, LlywelynII, Mahmudmasri, Malik Shabazz, Marco polo, Mare Nostrum, Mariannesutton, Masterches, Materialscientist, MatthewVanitas,Mattisse, Maunus, Mcorazao, MikeGasser, Mild Bill Hiccup, Mmwillingham, Montgolfire, Moogsi, Mordicai, Mrmuk, Muahaichange, Munci, Nagy, Naniwako, Nerdseeksblonde, Nezzadar,Niceguyedc, Nickshanks, Node ue, Norm mit, Nostrhome, Oaurelien, Ob ivan, Officerdoe07, Oldyedniaat, Omc, One4supplies, Opticrom, Orbis 3, PL290, Parkwells, Patxi lurra, Paul-L,Pdbryson, Pefrancois, Peterfitzgerald, Pichpich, Pitit li, Pmronchi, Poccil, Pontificalibus, Poppyhaitian, Prof Wrong, ProveIt, Prsident, QuartierLatin1968, Qurqa, R'n'B, Racerx11, Random user8384993, Rascar, RattusMaximus, Reconsider the static, Revolucin, RhetTbull, Richaraj, Richardj311, Rif Winfield, Rjensen, Rjwilmsi, RobNS, Roses bud78, S19991002, SDS112, Salvo46,SameerKhan, Sburke, Seaphoto, Senaku, Serapis Alexandria, Shadiac, Simon Peter Hughes, SimonP, Sirtrebuchet, Skpearman, Snajjar, Snori, Sofa jazz man, Sofian Rahmani, Soulja nyn3,Splashen, Spyder00Boi, Staxringold, Steinbach, Steverapaport, Stevey7788, Stitchingreader, Stogie10, Strangeloop, Suhardian, Sun Creator, Sunido, Switchercat, TDogg310, Tabor, TenIslands,Tery M, The Nut, Theanthrope, Thejadefalcon, Thnidu, Tiburon108, Tim1357, Tkynerd, Tomchiukc, Tommy2010, TonyW, True, Tyronen, Uanfala, Udoryen, Ultra megatron, Uniongreen113,Usien6, V Brian Zurita, VirtualDelight, Vivenot, W.D., WhisperToMe, WhiteTimberwolf, Wikigeek82, Wikipedian8904, Woohookitty, Wrotesolid, XLR8TION, Xanzzibar, XinaNicole,Xyzzyva, Yahia.barie, Yaris678, Yurinator180, Zabag, Zachlipton, Zippanova, Zofida, Zyztem2000, , , , 836 anonymous edits

    Image Sources, Licenses and ContributorsFile:Flag of Haiti.svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_Haiti.svg License: Public Domain Contributors: (colours and size changes of the now deletied versions)Madden, Vzb83, Denelson83, Chanheigeorge, Zscout370 and Nightstallion Coat of arms :Lokal_Profil and Myriam Thyes

    File:Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Flag_of_the_Dominican_Republic.svg License: Public Domain Contributors:User:Nightstallion


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