Haitian Creole - Lesson 1, Phrases
The Haitian Creole course is in the Incubator, and has been for a while. I grew up speaking Afrikaans, and learned English at school since I was eight years old. When I was ten, I found a book in Haitian Creole and my mother was disappointed to see that I could not read it. So she payed for me to have a tutor. I am not entirely fluent in Haitian Creole. I know a lot, and I can survive in any places where it is spoken. I've now been studying it for five years, and I'm now very happy with my progress. That's why I began learning Italian. Anyways, the point of this is to get a taste of what Haitian Creole is like. If you are unsure of whether or not you'd like to try this course, just have a look here.
Lesson 1, Phrases
Good morning .......... Bonjou
Hi / Hello .......... Alo
How are you? .......... Koman ou ye?
Good afternoon .......... Bon aprè midi (Bon apremidi)
Good evening .......... Bonswa
Good night .......... Bòn nwi
I am well ......... Mwen byen
Not very well ......... Pa trè byen
Thank you .......... Mèsi
You are welcome .......... Byenvini
Excuse me .......... Eskize mwen
I am sorry .......... Mwen regrèt
I speak English .......... Mwen pale angle
I do not speak French .......... Mwen pa pale franse
I love you .......... Mwen renmen ou
Goodbye .......... Orevwa
See you soon ......... Wè byento
See you later .......... Na wè pita
See you tomorrow .......... Na wè demen
Haitian Creole is a French-based Creole language. It is similar in sound to French (Au revoir - Orevwa) and is quite simple to pronounce. French has silent sounds (the oir in au revoir is pronounced wa) so in Haitian Creole, the written form is simpler. This is because Haitian Creole was originally only a spoken language, and was never written because the enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade were not actually taught to write, just communicate through speech.
Everything in the list above is pronounced exactly, or similarly, to how it looks, just like Spanish. It is, to keep things short, basically a phonetic language.
I hope that this post has made you want to learn this amazing language. If you have any questions about the language, I'll make another post about it. If you want a phrase translated, ask me (don't use Google Translate, though, because I have seen many mistakes in the translating, and a lot of the conjugating is incorrect).
I lived in Haiti for two years and used to speak a lot of Kreyòl (although sadly have gotten very rusty). If I may make two comments on your list of expressions:
Bonswa (from French Bon soir, "good evening") is actually used as a greeting anytime after around 11 am. I am not sure quite how that came about.
The more common Kreyòl expression for "I'm sorry" is Se pa fòt mwen (literally, "It's not my fault"). It is used even when the apologiser clearly is at fault. I don't think I ever heard Mwen regrèt.
My favourite part of Kreyòl, though, were the idioms and proverbs, including:
Pale franse pa di lespri pou sa (literally, "Speaking French doesn't make you smart", used to mean "Just because you say something in a fancy way doesn't mean you are right".)
Milat san kòb, se yon nwa, nwa gen kòb, se yon milat (literally, "A mixed-race person without money is black, a black person with money is mixed-race", meaning essentially that a person's wealth is what give them power in society, not their ethnicity, but also providing a commentary on race relations in Haiti for the past 50-odd years)
Kreyòl pale, Kreyòl komprann (literally, "Speak Kreyòl, understand Kreyòl", used to mean "Speak plainly!" perhaps "Stop beating around the bush!" or "Out with it!")
And, of course: Li pale franse! (literally, "He is speaking French!", but used to say "He is lying!")
Looking forward to the Kreyòl course....
The form of 'I am sorry' is what I have been taught. I have never been to Haiti, but I had a Haitian tutor and that is what she preferred. The bonswa part is also partly true. It is literally translated under, good evening, but is, as you said, used at any time after 11am, which is why it is also preferred over the good afternoon (Bon aprè midi). I enjoy the idioms too. Thanks for your input!
I appreciate this very informational post and I'm glad to hear your mom got you started in learning Haitian Creole. I never considered studying it but I'll definitely add it to my list of languages I'd like to begin learning.
Ohh... thanks! I'm still learning too, but I don't think I'll need the Duo course. I have a B2 and I don't really think Duo's going to get me much higher. But, I am interested to see how they set the course out.
It is a wonderful language, and you'll be very lucky to have an even more wonderful site to help you learn. I had a tutor and seven textbooks to start off with, then I found more resources on the internet later :)
'M te kon' travai ak anpil Haitian...Yo te tout fou nan tet. Yo te montre mwen Kijan pou'm palle Kreyol. Mwen preske blie de sa.
Hatians use tons of contractions. instead of saying Mwen, they will often just say m' as in M' prale nan plaj la. or instead of Nou ap boule they will say N'ap boule. If you took one year of French in High School, Kreyol will be a breeze.
That is completely true. I prefer to keep the language in full, like as you would in school. If you were writing a report, you'd want to be as formal as possible. I'd rather have people learn mwen, and then teach them that they can contract it. Anyways, thanks for that!
Awesome! I didn't know that. Unfortunately, where I'm from, there are absolutely no other Haitians beside my tutor, who is leaving in a few weeks.
Once a year they block off
Eastern Parkway and have
a huge 24 hour parade for
all the Caribbean expatriots.
The actual parade itself is
about five or six hours, but
the set up and the aftermath
has people walking up and
down the boulevard all night
It can get quite loud. Last
year it wasn't as loud though.
Here's a few links:
West Indian Day Parade
Lots of us have to lock our
doors while this is going on!!
For what it's worth.
I'm definitely interested in studying it when it comes out! Thanks for the little taste of the language.
If you have any other phrases or words to be translated, just ask! I'll post every three/four days with new content (including verb conjugations!). Thanks so much!
Wow, I'm from Mauritius and Haitian creole is very similar to Mauritian creole given that both have a french root.