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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Kreyol word "mo" (I), which is still used in Louisiana and French Guiana; was used in Ayiti at one time. Do you know when it fell into disuse in Ayiti? Mesi.

I have heard of this CREOLE word 'mo' only because two of my sisters were born in French Guiana (Guyanne Française).  My Mom and Dad lived and worked there for a good three or four years.  I still remember this French Guiana Creole carnival chant "mo le dodo ke to" from when I was five years old.  I am not sure if the spelling is right.  My mom used to chant it too, and  told me that it meant "I want to sleep with you". I am not sure if that's right, because since that time I have never encountered that type of sentence arrangement.  Other than that episode, I have never heard of any Haitians using the word "mo" to mean "I".  My 87 year old Haitian friend just told me that he had never heard it in Haiti (in his lifetime).
If it was ever used in Haiti, my guess would be that it happened during the time when slaves from one plantation (say, Guadeloupe or Martinique) used travel to work in other plantations.  Haiti was the first black republic in Latin America and the Caribbean, it attracted people  in search for freedom and better circumstances.
Anyways, as you already know if we did use it, we don't anymore.

Question for you "Rachal",  How did you come to the knowledge that this word was used on Haiti?  I'd love to know.  Thanks :)

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


  1. I have a distant Louisiana Mulatto Kreyol cousin who went to work one day and found out he was to train a new worker who was Haitian. Being my cousin's first languages were Louisiana Creole (LC) and French, they in the span of only 8 hours were able to fluently communicate with each other. Anyway, the Haitian gentleman remembered hearing the word "mo" from one of his grandparents, so he already knew its meaning, but he said in wasn't used in Ayiti.
    My cousin does not speak english very well (it's hard for me to understand his english). Anyway, my cousin is the one responsible
    for me learning Kreyol Ayisyen, as he encouraged me to learn
    "proper Kreyol" (HC); as LC is contaminated by english too much he
    told me. He was very much impressed with HC after learning the differences between the two. He was the one who told me the two languages are the same, with the exception that LC has more english influence, because unlike Ayiti, Lousiana is not an island.

    1. Also, when I say that HC and LC are the same; there are some differences.
      But in my books, if a person who speaks LC can "learn" HC in a days time
      (speaking-wise), then they are one in the same language. By the way, my
      cousin also speaks Cherokee and Spanish. He had to learn Cherokee
      (it took him 4 years to learn it) in order to access his ancestral records
      from the Cherokee Indian Nation. They would not give him the time of day
      until he could speak with them in Cherokee. He learned Spanish from
      working with Cuban workers. He is very talented with learning languages.
      I asked him what happened to the english, and he replied that he had more
      important languages to learn.


    2. It's amazing all the interesting facts you come upon when learning a new language. But everyone does need a little English at some point in their life :)

      I'm glad you're learning Haitian Creole. It should in turn help you to understand much of the Creole spoken in Martinique, St Lucia, Guadeloupe and Seychelles.

  2. Mandaly, what was your mom thinking teaching a chant like that :) Was it a song?

    1. I guess it was such a catchy tune she just couldn't help it :)

  3. Madanm Mandaly,

    I'm sorry, but I meant to ask you if your parents at the time of their being in
    French Guiana could speak HC there and be understood?


    1. Yes she could understand them. And they could understand her.
      My mom tells me that they would say Mo ap, To ap or zòt ap as opposed M'ap, W'ap, or nou ap.