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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Are 'èn', 'òn', 'àn' alternate forms of 'enn', 'onn', 'ann'? Example, rèn/renn, kòn/konn, kabàn/kabann. What about fe bak? the pronunciation for /a/ in bak seems to similar to the English /æ/ the phonetic symbol for the pronunciation found in 'cat'.

You say "alternate", we say "variants" :)

rèn, larèn, renn, larenn → queen
Pèsòn, pèsonn → person
semèn, semenn, senmenn → week
kounye a, konnye a, kounyela, koulye a → now
fanmi, fanmiy, fami, famiy, lafanmi, → family

Okap says it one way
Jeremi says it another
Gonayiv says "My people say it this way."
Akayè says "I gave birth to the flag. My way must count!"
Grandans says "You gotta hear mine."
But Pòtoprens says, "It's all Creole! I am the capital.  I'll be standard."

When scholars in Haiti finally decide to have a Creole dictionary that will reconcile all these variants, I think it will be an awesome piece of work.  Can't wait for this.
Fè bak - bak after English's back as in back up.
Did Haitians pick that up during the American Occupation?
In Creole should have been fè rekil, fè aryè, rekile

Haitian Creole ↔ English Reference, Look up Haitian Creole and English Words


  1. Are you or your family from Gonaïves? Both of my parents are from there. As regard to "fè bak", I think it was during the Haitian diaspora. Haitians who lives in the States picked that expression from English. I have heard many Haitians use it alongside the others you mentioned. My question about it was more on the pronunciation of the 'a' that seems to be pronounced like the a, as I mentioned, in cat but not the a that usually pronounced in creole. I want to know if there was a letter that corresponded to the sound found in English like words 'hat', 'can', 'fan', 'bat'.

    1. Non, my mom is from Arcahaie and my dad's from La Colline (Sud). They met in Port-au-Prince while my dad was working for La Marine Haitienne.

      Thanks for your insight.

      I understand what you're asking. Thanks for the clarification also.

      You will have to look at it from a "Creole" point of view. There are two "a" sounds in this language:
      The vwayèl-bouch "a" as in papa, fal, katafal, etc...
      The vwayèl-nen "an"

      It would not be wise to choose an English sound for the Creole word bak.
      If I told you to use a long "a" or short "a" to spell out that word, then we better find that long "a" or short "a" in the Creole grammar.

      What I chose to answer instead is that since the Creole word "bak" might have originated from the English word "back", then people might say the word as if they word talking in English.

      Other words that are like that are wikenn, fiftiwann, wiskimann, fòkè, etc...

      Kreyòl la nan estaj anfanten toujou, men l'ap pwogrese.
      Mèsi anpil pou kesyon ou zanmi'm :)