Aprann pale kreyòl ayisyen

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Haitian Creole language (kreyòl ayisyen), often called simply Creole, is a language spoken in Haiti by about 8.5 million people (as of 2005), which is nearly the entire population, and via emigration, about 3.5 million speakers who live in other countries, including Canada, the United States, France, and many Caribbean nations, especially the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

Haitian Creole is one of Haiti's two official languages, along with French. It is a creole based primarily on French, but it also contains various influences, notably the native Taíno, some West African and Central African languages, Portuguese and Spanish. The language has two distinct dialects: Fablas and Plateau.

Guyane, Martinique, Guadeloupe as well as Saint Lucia and Dominica, also speak Creole, with some local variations. Haitian creole tends to move away from original creole under the influence of English introduced by Haitian working in USA.

In part because of the efforts of Félix 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, and this status was upheld under the country's constitution of 1987. Its usage in literature is small but increasing, with Morisseau being one of the first and most significant examples. Many speakers are trilingual, speaking Haitian Creole, Spanish, and French. Many educators, writers and activists have emphasized pride and written literacy in Creole since the 1980s. Today there are numerous newspapers, as well as radio and i programs, in Creole.

Usage outside of Haiti[modifye | modifye kòd]

Haitian Creole is used widely among Haitians who have relocated to other countries, particularly the United States and Canada. Some of the larger population centers include Montréal, Québec, where French is the official language, and parts of New York City, Boston, Central and South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach). Various public service announcements, school-parent communications, and other materials are produced in this language by government agencies. Miami-Dade County in Florida sends out paper communications in Haitian Creole in addition to English and Spanish. Announcements are posted in the Boston subway system and area hospitals and medical offices in this language. HTN, a Miami-based television channel, is North America's only Creole-language television network. The Miami area also features over half a dozen Creole-language AM radio stations.

There is some controversy as to whether or not Creole should be taught in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Many argue Creole is a peasant language which is not important, while others argue it is important for children to know their parents' native tongue.

Haitian Creole language and culture is taught in many Colleges in the United States as well as in the Bahamas. Indiana University has a Creole Institute [1] founded by Dr. Albert Valdman [2] 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 and University of Florida offer seminars and courses every year under their Haitian Creole Summer Institute. More universities such as Brown University, Columbia University, and University of Miami offered numerous classes in Haitian Creole.

In the Americas, 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 moderate number of mestizo and mulatto Cubans speak it fluently. Surprisingly enough, most of these speakers have never been to Haiti and do not possess Haitian ancestry, but merely learned it in the communities they lived in. In addition, there is a Haitian Creole radio station operating in Havana[1] The language is also spoken by over 150,000 Haitians (although estimates believe that there are over a million speakers due to a huge population of illegal aliens from Haiti[2]) who reside in the neighboring Dominican Republic[3]

Sounds and spellings[modifye | modifye kòd]

Haitian Creole has ten vowels as opposed to standard French's twelve. This is primarily due to the loss of front rounded vowels. In Creole, these French phonemes are usually merged with their unrounded counterpart. Hence, /y/ becomes /i/ and /ø/ becomes /e/.

French's uvular rhotic either becomes an alveolar trill /r/, or /w/, or is elided altogether, depending on the environment.

Being formed relatively recently, Haitian Creole orthography is mostly phonemic, and is similar to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The main differences are j = /ʒ/, y = /j/, è = /ɛ/, ou = /u/. Nasalization is indicated by a following n.

Lexicon[modifye | modifye kòd]

Most of the lexicon 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.

Sample[modifye | modifye kòd]

Creole IPA Origin English
bagay /bagaj/ (?)Fr. bagage, "baggage" "thing"
bannann /bãnãn/ Fr. banane, "banana" "plantain"
bekàn /bekan/ Fr. bécane /bekan/ "bicycle"
Bondye /bõdje/ Fr. Bon Dieu /bõdjø/ "God! Good Lord!"
dèyè /dɛjɛ/ Fr. derrière /dɛʁjɛʁ/ "behind"
diri /diri/ Fr. du riz /dyʁi/ "rice"
fig /fig/ Fr. figue "banana"
la-kay /kaj/ (?)Fr. cahutte /kayt/ "house"
kiyèz, tchòk, poban /kijɛz, tʃɔk, pobã/   "hog banana" (*)
kle /kle/ Fr. clé /kle/, "key" "wrench" or "key"
kle kola /kle kola/ Fr. clé /kle/, "key" + Eng. "cola" "bottle opener"
konnflek /kõnflek/ En. "corn flakes" "breakfast cereal"
kawoutchou /kawutʃu/ Fr. caoutchouc, "rubber" "tire"
lalin /lalin/ Fr. la lune /lalyn/ "moon"
makak /makak/ Fr. macaque /makak/ "monkey"
makomè /makomɛ/ Fr. ma co-mère, comère   "godmother" (#)
matant /matãt/ Fr. ma tante, "my aunt" "aunt"
moun /mun/ Fr. monde "people/person"
mwen /mwɛ̃/ Fr. moi, "mwen meme" "me","I","myself"
nimewo /nimewo/ Fr. numéro /nymeʁo/ "number"
ozetazini /ozetazini/ Fr. aux États-Unis /ozetazyni/ "the United States"
piman /pimã/ Fr. piment a very hot pepper
pann /pãn/ Fr. pendre "to hang"
pwa /pwa/ Fr. pois /pwa/, "pea" "bean"
chenèt /ʃenɛt/   "tooth gap" (^)
tonton /tõtõ/ fr. oncle "uncle"
vwazen /vwazɛ̃/ Fr. voisin /vwazɛ̃/ "neighbor"
zwazo /zwazo/ Fr. les oiseaux /lezwazo/ "birds"
zye /zje/ Fr. les yeux /lezjø/ "eyes"

(*) A banana which is short and fat, not a plantain and not a conventional banana; regionally called "hog banana" or "sugar banana" in English.
(#) The relationship shared between a child's mother and godmother.
(^) The gap between a person's two front teeth.

Nouns derived from trade marks[modifye | modifye kòd]

Many trade marks have become common nouns in Haitian Creole (as happened in English with "aspirin" and "kleenex", for example).

New words from English[modifye | modifye kòd]

  • fé back to move backwards, napkin are example of words adopted in Haitian Creole, pushing out original creole words.

The word nèg and the word blan[modifye | modifye kòd]

The term nèg literally means a dark-skinned man and the word blan a white person, as in Gen yon nèg e gen yon blan. ("there is a black man and there is a white man"). However, nèg is generally used for any man, regardless of skin color (i.e. like "guy" or "dude" in American English). Blan is generally used for foreigner. It is not used to refer just to white foreigners, but foreigners of other races as well.

Etymologically, the word nèg is derived from the French "nègre" 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, wòz, mawon, etc. However, such labels are considered offensive by some Haïtians, because of their association with color discrimination and the Haitian class system.

Grammar[modifye | modifye kòd]

Haitian Creole grammar differs greatly from French and inflects much more simply: for example, verbs are not inflected for tense or person, and there is no grammatical gender — meaning that adjectives and articles are not inflected according to the noun. The primary word order (SVO) is the same as French, but the variations on the verbs and adjectives are minuscule compared to the complex rules employed by French.

Many grammatical features, particularly pluralization of nouns and indication of possession, are indicated by appending certain suffixes (postpositions) like yo to the main word. There has been a debate going on for some years as what should be used to connect the suffixes to the word: the most popular alternatives are a dash, an apostrophe or a space. It makes matters more complicated when the "suffix" itself is shortened, perhaps making only one letter (such as m or w).

Pronouns[modifye | modifye kòd]

There are six pronouns, one pronoun for each person/number combination. There is no difference between direct and indirect. Some are obviously 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 "you" (sing.)
3/singular li l il, elle "he", "she"
1/plural nou n nous "we", "us"
2/plural nou or vou (**)   vous "you" (pl.)
3/plural yo y ils, elles, eux "they", "them"

(*)sometimes ou is written as w- in the sample phrases, w indicates ou.
(**) depending on the situation.

Plural of nouns[modifye | modifye kòd]


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ouns are pluralized by adding yo at the end.

liv yo - "books"
machin yo - "cars"

Possession[modifye | modifye kòd]

Possession is indicated by placing the possessor after the item possessed. This is similar to the French construction of chez moi or chez lui which are "my place" and "his place", respectively.

lajan li - "his/her money"
fanmi mwen or fanmi m - "my family"
kay yo - "their house" or "their houses"
papa ou or papa w - "your father"
chat Pyè - "Pierre's cat"
chèz Mari - "Marie's chair"
zanmi papa Jan - "Jean's father's frienṘd"
papa vwazen zanmi nou - "our friend's neighbor's father"

Indefinite article[modifye | modifye kòd]

The language has an indefinite article yon, roughly corresponding to English "a/an" and French un/une. It is derived from the French il y a un, (lit. "there is a/an/one"). It is placed before the noun:

yon kouto - "a knife"
yon kravat - "a necktie"

Definite article[modifye | modifye kòd]

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:

kravat la - "the tie"
liv la - "the book"
kay la - "the house"

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

lanp lan - "the lamp"
ban lan - "the bench"

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

kouto a - "the knife"
peyi a - "the country"

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

fanmi an - "the family"
mi an - "the wall"

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

chen an - "the dog"
pon an - "the bridge"

If the last sound is a nasal consonant, it becomes nan:

machin nan - "the car"
telefòn nan - "the telephone"
madanm nan - "the woman"

"This" and "that"[modifye | modifye kòd]

There is a single word sa that corresponds to French ce/ceci or ça, 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 or yo (in order to mark number):

jaden sa (a) bèl- "This garden is beautiful."

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

sa se zanmi mwen - "this is my friend"
sa se chen frè mwen - "this is my brother's dog"

Verbs[modifye | modifye kòd]

Many verbs in Haitian Creole are the same spoken words as the French infinitive, but they are spelled phonetically. As indicated above, there is no conjugation in the language; the verbs have one form only, and changes in tense are indicated by the use of tense markers.

Li ale travay le maten - "He goes to work in the morning."
Li dòmi le swa - "He sleeps in the evening."
Li li Bib la - "She reads the Bible."
Mwen fè manje - "I make food."
Nou toujou etidye - "We study all the time."

Copulas[modifye | modifye kòd]


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

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

Li se frè mwen - "he is my brother"
Mwen se doktè - "I am a doctor"
Sa se yon pye mango - "That is a mango tree"
Nou se zanmi - "we are friends"

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

Se yon bon lide - "That is a good idea"
Se nouvo chemiz mwen - "This is my new shirt"

For the future tense, such as "I want to be", usually vin "to become" is used instead of se.

L ap vin bel frè mwen - "He will be my brother-in-law"
Mwen vle vin yon doktè - "I want to become a doctor"
S ap vin yon pye mango - "That will become a mango tree"
N ap vin zanmi - "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):

Ayisyen mwen ye = Mwen se Ayisyen - "I am Haitian"
Ki moun sa ye? - "Who is that?"
Kouman ou ye? - "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":

M gen yon zanmi malad - "I have a sick friend."
Zanmi mwen malad. - "My friend is sick."

To have[modifye | modifye kòd]

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

Mwen genyen lajan nan bank lan - "I have money in the bank".

There Is[modifye | modifye kòd]

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

Gen anpil Ayisyen nan Florid - "There are many Haitians in Florida".
Gen yon moun la - "There is someone here".
Pa gen moun la - "There is nobody here".
Mwen genyen match la- "I won the game".

To know[modifye | modifye kòd]

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 connaître).

Èske ou konnen non li? - "Do you know his name?"

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

M pa konnen kote li ye - "I don't know where he is." (note pa = negative)

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

Mwen konn fè manje - "I know how to cook" (lit. "I know how to make food")
Èske ou konn ale Ayiti? - "Have you been to Haïti?" (lit. "Do you know to go to Haiti?")
Li pa konn li fransè - "He can't read French" (lit. "He doesn't know how to read French.")

Another verb worth mentioning is . It comes from the French faire 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.

Kouman ou fè pale kreyòl? - "How did you learn to speak Haitian Creole?"
Mari konn fè mayi moulen. - "Marie knows how to make cornmeal."

To be able to[modifye | modifye kòd]

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".

Mwen ka ale demen - "I can go tomorrow."
Petèt m ka fè sa demen - "Maybe I can do that tomorrow."

Tense markers[modifye | modifye kòd]

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

Mwen pale kreyòl - "I speak Haitian 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:

mwen manje - "I ate"
ou manje - "you ate"
li manje - "he/she ate"
nou manje - "we ate"
yo manje - "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:

te - simple past
tap (or 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:

men 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"

Near or definite future:

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 wè pita - "See you later" (lit. "We will see (each other) later)

Other examples:

Mwen te wè zanmi ou yè - "I saw your friend yesterday"
Nou te pale lontan - "We spoke for a long time"
Lè li te gen uit an... - "When he 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 e m wè yon chyen - "I was walking and I saw a dog"

Additional time-related markers:

fèk - recent past ("just")
sòt - similar to fèk

They are often used together:

Mwen fèk sòt 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 mwen 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[modifye | modifye kòd]

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

Woz pa vle ale - "Rose doesn't want to go"
Woz pa t vle ale - "Rose didn't want to go"

List of Haitian Creole words[modifye | modifye kòd]

  • yon anana - a pineapple (from Arawak, anana and now used in France ananas)
  • Anakaona - ? (from Arawak, Anakawona, who was a Taino princess)
  • anpil - a lot, many (from Fr. "en pile", lit. in piles, in great amounts)
  • aprann - to learn
  • yon bannann - plantain
  • bat - to whup
  • yon batay - a fight, a battle
  • yon goumen - a fight (most popular)
  • batay - to fight, to battle
  • goumen - to fight
  • yon bebe - a baby
  • bonjou - good day / good morning
  • bonswa - good evening (bonswa is typically said after 12:00 noon)
  • boukousou - a type of bean
  • boul, balon - a ball
  • chadèk - grapefruit (from Fr. Chadèque or pamplemousse)
  • chante - to sing
  • yon chanson - a song
  • yon chan - a song, a chant
  • cheri - darling
  • cho - hot (also used as an adj. i.e. "Fi sa a cho anpil", That lady's really hot!)
  • doudou - sweetheart
  • dous - sweet
  • yon dous - a cookie (food)
  • enpe dlo - some water
  • yon fanmi - a family
  • - to make / to do
  • yon fèt - a party / a birthday
  • yon fig - a banana
  • fòl - crazy, only in reference to women (a crazy person - yon moun fou (fòl))
  • fou - crazy, for reference to either gender (a crazy person - yon moun fou (fòl))
  • fou - stove
  • gade - to look (at), to watch (to watch TV - gade TV)
  • garde - to guard
  • yon gardyen - a guardian
  • yon gardyen bu - a goal keeper
  • gato - a cake
  • gwayav - guava fruit
  • gwo - big; also, to be fat ("li gwo", he is fat)
  • enpe kafe - some coffee
  • kaka - feces
  • yon kann - a sugar cane
  • yon kenèp - Mamoncillo a.k.a. Spanish lime
  • kijan - how
  • kisa - what
  • kibò, kikote - where
  • kimoun - who
  • ki, ke - that (conj.)
  • kite mwen - leave me / leave me alone
  • kite mwen ale - let me go
  • yon kochon - a pig
  • yon kokoye - a coconut
  • konprann/komprann - to understand
  • kouman/kijan ou rele? - what is your name?
  • kòm - as
  • kòman/kijan - how
  • kounyèa - now ex: vini kounye a (come here now)
  • yon kowosòl/kosòl - Soursop a.k.a Corossol
  • yon kreyon - a pencil
  • yon kwafè - a barber
  • la - here / the
  • lant/lan - slow
  • lanse - to launch
  • yon lougawou - a werewolf, bad witch
  • yon mambo/manbo - a female witch
  • yon bòkò/ongan - a male witch
  • yon majisyen - a magician
  • yon machin - a car
  • yon makat - a monkey
  • yon manyòk - Cassava a.k.a. manioc
  • manje - to eat / food (both noun and verb)
  • enpe manje - some food
  • mèg - skinny
  • mèsi/mèrsi - thank you
  • yon moun - a person
  • kèk moun - some people (the indefinite article plural form)
  • move - bad (move moun - bad person)
  • move - fighty (a person that is ready to fight or beat someone up)
  • pale/parle - to talk / to speak
  • yon pánye - a basket
  • yon pitit - a child (a father or mother: my child)
  • yon pitit fi - a daughter
  • yon pitit gason - a son
  • yon pitit pitit - a grand child
  • pwa - bean
  • ki pèz ou (genyen)?- what is your weight?
  • peze - to press (press a button), to weigh (this weighs two liters)
  • yon pyebwa - tree (lit. wood foot, from Fr. pied de bois)
  • sa bon pou ou - that's what you get
  • yon sache/sachè - a bag
  • sa (è) bon pour ou - that's good for you
  • sa ka fèt / sa k ap fèt - how's it going?
  • sa k pase - what's up?
  • yon sirèt - a candy
  • tankou - like (conj.)
  • yon timoun - a kid ("little person")
  • yon granmoun - an adult
  • tonbe - to fall
  • toutouni - naked
  • yon vòlè - a thief
  • vòlè - to steal
  • yon vòl - a theft, an aeroplane flight (ki vòl ou ape pran - what flight are you taking?)
  • pran vòl - to take off (an airplane)
  • yon avyon - an airplane
  • vole - to jump or fly
  • yon zaboka - Avocado
  • zobogit - to be skinny
  • yon zonbi/zombi - a ghost (from Africa, zombi)

Numbers[modifye | modifye kòd]

  • zero - 0
  • yonn, en - 1
  • de, dez - 2
  • twa - 3
  • kat, katr - 4
  • senk - 5
  • sis - 6
  • sèt - 7
  • uit, ywit - 8
  • nèf - 9
  • dis - 10
  • onz - 11
  • douz - 12
  • trèz - 13
  • katòz - 14
  • kenz - 15
  • sèz - 16
  • disèt - 17
  • dizwit - 18
  • diznèf - 19
  • ven, vent - 20
  • venteyen, vent-yonn - 21
  • vennde, vent-dez - 22
  • venntwa, vent-twa - 23
  • ...etc.
  • trant - 30
  • tranteyen, trant-yonn - 31
  • trannde - 32
  • tranntwa - 33
  • ...etc.
  • karant - 40
  • karanteyen, karant-yonn - 41
  • karannde - 42
  • karanntwa - 43
  • ...etc.
  • senkant - 50
  • swasant - 60
  • swasenndis - 70
  • swasenteyonz- 71
  • swasenndouz- 72
  • swasenntrèz- 73
  • ...etc.
  • katreven, katrevent - 80
  • katrevendis, katreven-dis- 90
  • katrevenonz, katreven-onz- 91
  • katrevendouz- 92
  • katreventrèz- 93
  • ...etc.
  • san - 100
  • san en, san yonn - 101
  • san dis - 110
  • de san, dez san - 200
  • de san ven - 220
  • twa san - 300
  • kat san - 400
  • senk san - 500
  • si san - 600
  • sèt san - 700
  • ui(t) san - 800
  • nèf san - 900
  • nèf san katrevendisèt - 997
  • nèf san katrevendizuit - 998
  • nèf san katrevendiznèf - 999
  • mil - 1000
  • de mil - 2000
  • senk mil - 5000
  • di mil - 10 000
  • san mil - 100 000
  • 1 milyon - 1 000 000, 1 million
  • 1 bilyon - 1 000 000 000, 1 billion

Referans[modifye | modifye kòd]

External links[modifye | modifye kòd]