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Monday, March 11, 2013

Bonjou! Kouman tout bagay ye? Men kesyon pa'm pou jodi a: Eske "te ka(pab)" vle di "could (presently)" toutan? Ou sa depann konteks la? "Mwen te ka manje kounyeya" "Mwen te ka manje avan mwen te tande move nouvèl la."

Bonjou zanmi, tout bagay anfòm pou mwen.  M'espere se menm bagay la pou ou tou :)

Yes, it will translate "could (presently)" DEPENDING on the context, as you said.
The other times it will translate was/were able to.  It can also translate the possibility of a future event such as: Mwen okipe kounye a, eske te ka rele m pita? I'm busy now could you call me later?

Here are a few more examples of its usage, including yours

1. "Mwen te ka manje kounyeya."
    "I could eat now."

2. Bòs la pa la.  Men l'ap tounen trè byento. Eske ou te ka fè yon ti tann li silvouplè?
    The boss is not here. But he'll be back soon.  Could you wait for him please?

3. M te kontan vizit ou.  Eske n te ka vin wè m demen ankò?
    I enjoyed your visit.  Could you come see me tomorrow again?

4. Eske w te ka ale achte kèk tomat nan mache a pou mwen?
    Could yo go buy me some tomatoes from the market?

5. N'ap fè devwa nou kounye a pou n te ka ale nan fèt la pita. 
    We're doing our homework now so that we could go to the party later.

6. M panse m te kapab fè l chanje lide.  Men sa pa't fèt.
    I thought I could make her change her mind.  But that didn't happen.

7. Si'm te ka mache, ala kouri m ta kouri.
    If I was able to walk, how I would run.
    If I could walk, how I would run.


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

18 comments:

  1. Dakò. Mwen abitye di "Mwen TA KA fè sa."

    Kounyeya m sipoze sa pa tèlman korèk.

    Eske "ta ka" posib osi, ou sèlman "te ka"? Si "ta ka" posib, ki siyifikasyon li genyen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chances are you were right when using "ta ka".

      I have used "ta ka" also, but it was more of a conditional term. The difference is so subtle:

      Mwen ta ka ale avè w, menm m pa konn si m ap gen konje jou sa a.
      I could go with you, but I don't know if I'll be off that day.
      ....There's a possibility that I would go if I am off that day...

      vs.

      Mwen te ka ale avè w, men kite m panse sou sa toujou.
      I could go with you, but let me think about it.
      ....I am able to go, but I won't to think about it some more....

      And then, there are instances where "ta ka" would mean "would be able to":

      Eske w ta ka ede l avèk ekolaj lekòl la mwa sa a?
      Would you be able to help him with the school tuition this month?

      M ta ka ede l si m te kapab, men domaj m pa kapab.
      I would help him if I could, but unfortunately I can't.

      Delete
  2. Dezyèm kesyon an (li twò gwo pou Formsping Box la):

    Mwen sòt jwenn yon fraz tèlman enteresan:

    "Demokrasi bay pèp la prezidan yo te vote pou li a."

    (sòt yon tchapit ki rele "Kreyòl Ayisyen, or Haitian Creole" ekri pa Michel DeGraf nan liv "Comparative Creole Syntax: Parallel Outlines of 18 Creole Grammars")

    Sa ki enterese mwen se "pou li." An Angle, nou ka fini yon fraz ak yon prepozisyon ki izole: "...the president they voted for."

    (menmsi gen moun akademik ki pa renmen sa)

    Si nou ta tradwi fraz anwo a mo pou mo: "Democracy gives the people the president they voted for him/her."

    DeGraff di Kreyòl pa janm pèmèt yon prepozisyon ki izole konsa, e se pou sa nou mete yon "li" la kòm "pou li."

    Sa ou panse sou sa? Eske ou ka bay lòt egzanp?

    Mèsi anpil!

    (Osi, èske mwen te ka mande ou "Sa ou panse ak sa?")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pa gen moun ki ka fè konpetisyon ak Msye Degraf. Pawòl Mesye sa a sou lang Kreyòl la se lalwa. lol!

      Sa m panse ak sa?
      Sa m panse sou sa?

      Toude bon :)

      I actually have seen and used a lot of sentences like this. It would have been good if I could quote the writers that have used this form. Perhaps when I have time this week I'll browse my Creole books and add some similar quotes from other writers to these comments.

      Men kèk egzanp:

      1.
      Kote malèt ou te vin avè l la?
      Where the suitcase you came with?

      2.
      Nou ban mwen move soulye yo. Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou yo a.
      You gave me the wrong shoes. I want the shoes for which I paid for.

      3.
      Mwen ta renmen wè anplwaye m te pale avè l la dènye fwa m te la a.
      I would like to see the employee with whom I had spoken the last time I was here.
      (I am not sure about my English here, but the Creole ....anplwaye m te pale avè l la ... will translate ... the employee I had spoken to ...

      4.
      Ou pa ka sèvi moun akasan nan vaz ou te pise ladan l lan.
      You can't serve people Akasan with the chamber pot you pee'd in.
      (Pawòl sa yo soti nan yon blag Ayisyen :)

      5.
      Eske ou konn jennonm ou t'ap danse avèk li a?
      Do you know the guy you were dancing with?

      Delete
    2. !!! These are great! You are the best! This is one of those things I saw in Creole now and again that just confused me. There are many such things, but hopefully day by day, week by week, I will become familiar with them all.

      A few comments/questions:

      - I have recently discovered DeGraff and his publications and they are giving me a lot to think about regarding Haiti and Haitian Creole. I am really enjoying them.

      -I believe your English translation of (3) is fine, in fact "proper" in a linguistic prescriptivist sense. But I imagine most people would say "I would like to see the employee I spoke to the last time I was here" with the dangling "to"

      - I am a little confused by the definite articles in (2) "Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO A." I believe the "yo" = "shoes." What is the "a" doing? What is it linked back to?

      Delete
    3. Mèsi anpil pou sijesyon Angle a.
      Piblikasyon Msye Degraf yo ale nan pwofondè lang Kreyòl la nèt. Yo ede mwen tou.

      Konsènan kalite fraz n’ap pale yo, w’ap vin abitye avèk yo anvan lontan. Ou pral remake yo pi souvan lè w’ap li Kreyòl, paske kounye a ou konnen yo egziste.

      In
      Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO A
      The article “a” is linked to “soulye”. It literally says:
      I want shoes I paid for THEM THE.
      So we’ll just have to place the ending “the” at its proper place when translating into English:
      I want THE shoes for which I paid for.

      Other examples like that:
      Eske sa se medam ou t’ap pale ak YO A?
      “a” modifies “medam”.
      Are these the ladies you were talking with THEM THE? (literally)
      Are these THE ladies you were talking to?
      Are these THE ladies with whom you were talking? (to be more correct)


      ON THAT SAME NOTE, you will find a lot of cases like that in Creole, where even if the noun seems to already be linked to an definite article, we still add another article (a, an, la, lan, or nan) at the end.

      Some examples:
      1.
      Eske se ak medam SA YO ou t’ap pale A?
      Were THESE THE ladies you were talking to?
      "a" is linked to "medam"

      2.
      Eske se machin SA ou te vle A?
      or
      Eske se machin SA A ou te vle?
      Is THIS THE car you wanted?
      We, Haitians, will say either the above first or second choice.

      3.
      Eske se timoun SA YO ki te kale w LA?
      Are THESE THE kids who beat you up?
      "la" is linked to "timoun"


      4.
      Kote linèt solèy m te achte YO?
      or
      Kote linèt YO m te achte A?
      Where are THE sunglasses that I bought?

      5.
      Sa se komisyon YO li te ban m NAN.
      or
      Sa se komisyon li te ban m YO.
      Those are THE messages that she gave me.

      6.
      Sa se ekip YO nou te vannen AN.
      or
      Sa se ekip nou te vannen YO.
      Those are the teams that we beat.

      Delete
  3. Alright, so here is the real question...

    My understanding had always been that "la (a, an, elatriye)" is the definite article for singular nouns, "yo" for plural nouns.

    [http://sweetcoconuts.blogspot.nl/2012/03/where-do-i-place-definite-article.html
    or
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Haitian_Creole/Articles
    or every Creole textbook I have ever had]

    (And of course "yo" can also function as "they, them, their")

    Then we have this sentence:

    "Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO A"

    The "YO" = "them," making it clear that "soulye" is plural. But thennnnn we use "a" for the determiner... "a" which I had believed was the definite article for singular objects only.

    So I would predict "Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO YO" if there were to be a definite article linked to "soulye," (though I do not think I have ever seen "yo yo" repeated like that...)


    Looking to the DeGraff article, he describes "yo" as a "plural marker." "La" (in all its realized forms) is the only definite article he mentions.

    Elsewhere on wikipedia they do the same, saying "If a noun is definite, it is pluralized by adding yo at the end. If it is indefinite, it has no plural marker, and its plurality is determined by context."
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_creole#Plural_of_nouns]


    SO, if "yo" is only a plural marker... is the following possible:

    "Mwen konnen elèv yo a."
    "Mwen (N) konnen (V) elèv (N) yo (Pl) a (Def Art)."
    "I know the students"
    "I (N) know (V) the (Def Art) student (N) -s (Pl)."

    I do not think I have ever seen that.

    But look at the examples above (!):

    "Sa se ekip YO nou te vannen AN.
    Sa se komisyon YO li te ban m NAN.
    Kote linèt YO m te achte A."

    Elatriye...

    Tèlman enteresan...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Particularly

      "Kote linèt YO m te achte A."

      where "linèt" is linked to both "yo" and "a," correct?

      Delete
    2. Definitely interesting ….

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen “Yo Yo” either. And I have never used it.

      I think someone had previously raised this question, but he/she was talking about the possessives, and asked if we can say “pitit yo yo” to translate the English “their children”. But it ended up sounding like “Yoyo’s child” :)

      Concerning the definite articles
      Yes, as you believe, we definitely use “la” (and the others) to modify singular nouns.
      And we use “yo” for plural nouns.

      Concerning the singular definite articles
      I think most Haitian Creole textbooks at least mention four (a, la, an, lan). There’s always a debate regarding “lan” or “nan”. Some books will either mention “lan” or “nan”, but not both. And that’s because some Haitians don’t use “nan” as a definite article. They use “lan” instead. I think Carrié Paultre (the man who translated/edited the new edition of the Haitian Creole Bible) is one of them. You’ll see evidence of it in his book Tonton Liben.

      But I'm sure throughout your reading, you've encountered all five of them.

      Your sentence example:
      Mwen konnen elèv yo a.
      I would translate it as:
      I know THEIR student.
      Instead of:
      I know THE students.

      And that sentence is possible because you do find the “trailing” definite articles in the possessives:

      elèv mwen AN → my student
      elèv ou A → your student
      elèv li A → his/her student
      elèv nou AN→ our student
      elèv yo A → their student

      And for the plural, we’ll have
      elèv mwen yo → my students
      elèv ou yo → your students
      elèv li yo → his/her students
      elèv nou yo → our students
      elèv yo → their students


      and, concerning that sentence:

      "Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO A"
      I guess it’ll be easier to understand a sentence where the noun is considered singular:
      “Mwen vle valiz m te peye pou li a.”
      "Demokrasi bay pèp la prezidan yo te vote pou li a."
      But the idea is the same. Since we can’t say “yo yo”, we say “yo a”.

      I’ll look through some books and find examples of similar sentences and post them. In the meantime this is what I’ve found:

      1.
      “Apre sa yo te remèt yo nan men Bondye, Senyè ki te gen tout konfyans YO A” Travay 14:23 (Edisyon 1999 Nan nouvo òtograf la)

      2.
      “Tout moun ki renmen jan ou delivre YO A, se tout tan pou yo di: Senyè a gen gwo pouvwa” Som 40:16

      3.
      “Li fè zeklè ak lapli. Li fè van yo soti kote li sere YO A.”

      4.
      “Si pitit ou yo kenbe kontra ou fè ak YO A, si yo kenbe prensip mwen ba yo, pitit pa yo tou va toujou chita sou fotèy ou a.”

      5.
      And there's a song that says: "Bondye yo an pa gen zye ....."

      #3, #4, & #5 look like they could be plural.


      Generally, one would say, "Kote linèt m te achte yo?".
      But that will not prevent some people from saying, Kote linèt yo m te achte a?

      In this case, I don't just look at the definite article "a", but I look at "YO A" as one.

      Delete
  4. Ah,

    So "YO A" is possible, but when?

    Here are my thoughts based on our conversation so far:

    "YO" can have four roles

    1.) Possessive "their"
    2.) Objective "them"
    3.) Subjective "they"
    4.) Plural Marker (or Plural Definite Article)


    1.) When you see a simple sentence of the form "noun verb noun YO A" you read the "yo" as the possessive. (Maybe this happens whenever the "YO A" occurs directly after a noun?)

    "Mwen konnen elèv yo a" is interpreted as:
    "I know their student."

    And not
    "I know the students."

    2.) Sometimes we see "YO A" where "YO" is like the English objective "them," generally when "yo" is preceded by a preposition like "pou yo" or a verb like "delivre yo."

    "Mwen vle soulye m te peye pou YO A."
    "I want the shoes I paid for (them)."

    "Tout moun ki renmen jan ou delivre YO A, ..."
    "Everyone who loves the way you deliver them, ..."
    (maybe not a good translation)


    3) We haven't seen "Yo" as subjective "they" directly followed by "a." For reasons I cannot articulate, I would not expect this to ever happen.

    4.) Somewhat surprisingly to me, we never see "yo" as Plural Marker/(Definite article) directly followed by "a." However, they can be linked to the same word, as in

    "Kote linèt YO m te achte A."

    This case makes me think "YO" is not really a definite article, but only a plural marker. But I would think "YO A" (plural marker + def article) would be possible, which it seemingly isn't...

    Oke, se minwi isit, m'ale kouche. :)

    Bònn nwi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wi, ou fè yon bon ti rezime sou tout sa nou te pale.

      M dakò avè w. M pa kwè #3 ap janm posib.

      Pou #4, m'panse m'dwe pran nòt lè m'ap li Kreyòl. Si m te fè sa, mwen ta gen pi bon egzanp pratik pou ou :)

      M'admire debouyay ou.
      Kontinye kenbe la kòm toujou.
      Pase yon bon nuit (oubyen yon bon jounen)

      Delete
    2. Mèsi. Mwen ta vle konnen, si ou tande oubyen li

      "Mwen konnen elèv yo"

      èske ou konprann

      "I know the students"
      "I know their student"
      "I know their students"

      ou sa tèlman depann sou konteks la?

      Mèsi!

      Delete
    3. Men si ou tande sa SAN konteks, sa ou ta panse? (

      I am curious if there is a "default" understanding)

      Delete
    4. Lè mwen wè:
      Mwen konnen elèv yo.
      Mwen otomatikman konprann li kòm:
      I know THE students.


      Konsa, si ou te ekri:
      Mwen konnen elèv yo a.
      San ankenn kontèks, mwen ta li li otomatikman kòm:
      I know THEIR student.

      Men, pou'm ta vin resi rive konprann dènye a ("I know their students"), se petèt avèk yon pakèt envestigasyon :)

      Delete
    5. So if you wanted to express "I know their students" could you say

      "Mwen konnen elèv pou yo"
      ?

      How would you understand
      "Mwen konnen elèv pou yo a."
      ?

      The same as "Mwen konnen elèv yo a" ?

      Delete
    6. "Mwen konnen elèv yo." jeneralman tradui "I know THEIR STUDENTS" tou.
      Se nan ka sa a, kontèks la va ba w repons lan.

      Mwen ta konprann "Mwen konnen elèv pou yo a." kòm "I know students for them."
      E mwen t'ap panse ke "a" a pa nan plas li.

      Men si w te ekri "Mwen konnen elèv PA yo a.", Mwen ta konprann li kòm "I know THEIR student"

      E

      "Mwen konn elèv pa yo.", pou mwen, ta vle di "I know their students"

      Anfòm?

      Delete
    7. Dakò, men konklizyon pa'm:

      a.) "Mwen konnen elèv yo" is ambiguous between

      i.) "I know the students"
      ii.) "I know their students"


      You said i.) is your automatic understanding of a.). I think this is because ii.) can be unambiguously expressed with

      b.) "Mwen konnen elèv pa yo."

      So if someone wanted to express ii.) they could use b.) and be unambiguous, so the default reading of a.) is i.).


      This relies on there being no clearer way to express "I know the students" than the ambiguous "Mwen konnen elèv yo."

      I do not think there is, for "Mwen konnen elèv" has a different meaning, and "Mwen konnen elèv yo a" takes "yo" as the possessive, not a plural marker.

      Oke, m'ale fè espò!

      Mèsi anpil pou reponn tout ti kesyon pa'm yo!

      Delete
    8. Dakò :)
      Esplikasyon konpreyansyon ou an presi e konkrè.

      Egzèsis pou kò fizik la se kle lonjevite pou lemoman. Kenbe la.

      Gwo kout chapo.

      Delete