Bonjou! Learn to Speak Haitian Creole

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Most requested translations added here for your convenience: I love you → Mwen renmen w. I miss you → Mwen sonje w. My love!Lanmou mwen!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mandaly, m' bezwen èd avè kèk kont. 1. Pi bèl fanm abiye nan bwa. "Repons: kajou" The most beautiful woman dressed in wood. Answer: cashews. Poukisa kajou se fanm? 2. M al nan magazen. M achte yon rad. Mwen wè landwat, mwen wè lanve l. Lè m rive lakay m pa jwenn ni landwat ni lanvè. Repons: pit. Mo m pa konnen: landwat, lanvè, pit. 3. M achte yon towo bèf, se pou lang li. Repons: seri. Li pa fè sans. I buy a male cow, it is for its tongue. Answer: series. 4. M ale ya. M tounen ya a. Respons: lanmè. Ki sa vle di 'ya' epi 'ya a'? 5. Ganmel ale kay kiyè. Kiyè pa ka ale kay ganmel. Repons: plènlin. Huh? M kwè m pa bon avèk kont. M pito fè matematiik. :(

You're right about math being way easier to figure out.  There are general rules and formulas for solving math problems, but none for solving these Haitian riddles (called devinèt).

1. Pi bèl fanm abiye nan bwa. "Repons: kajou"
   The most beautiful woman dressed in wood. Answer: cashews. Poukisa kajou se
fanm?

   -It's bwa kajou, or kajou ("Acajou" in French)→ mahogany

    Many Haitian Creole proverbs compare women to bwa kajou
    "Bwa kajou" is strong (like a woman :),
     it makes beautiful home decoration (like a woman beautifies a home :) ,
     withstands the test of time (like a woman endures :).
     And, it is as "bwa kajou" gets older that you realize its lasting beauty and what makes it stand apart from all the other woods :)



2. M al nan magazen. M achte yon rad. Mwen wè landwat, mwen wè lanvè l. Lè m
    rive lakay m pa jwenn ni landwat ni lanvè. "Repons: pit
."
    Mo m pa konnen: landwat, lanvè, pit.

     landwat (or nandwat) → right side out
     lanvè (or nanvè) → inside out, wrong side out
     pit → fiber, textile fiber

    Response hint:  You cannot tell the right or wrong side of a fiber unless it is sewn into a dress or something.

    examples for usage of "landwat" and "lanvè":
    a.  Mwen te abiye nan fènwa.  Se sa'k fè m mete chemiz mwen lanvè.
         I got dressed in the dark.  That's why I put on my shirt inside out.

    b.  Ale ranje chemiz la sou ou.  Fwa sa a, mete l landwat.
         Go fix the shirt on you.  This time, wear it correctly.


3. M achte yon towo bèf, se pou lang li. "Repons: seri."
     Li pa fè sans. I buy a male cow, it is for its tongue. Answer: series.
   
      Seri → is the lock that goes inside a keyhole, or it could be a padlock

      Response hint:  The tongue refers to the part of the lock that goes into the keyhole.



4. M ale ya. M tounen ya a. "Respons: lanmè."
    Ki sa vle di 'ya' epi 'ya a'?

    "ya" is an interjection.
    It makes reference to the wave of the ocean that comes and goes.
    The answer, here, should have been "vag lanmè".




5. Ganmèl ale kay kiyè. Kiyè pa ka ale kay ganmèl. "Repons: plènlin". Huh?
 
     plenn lin  →  full moon
     kiyè → spoon
     kiyè bwa → wooden spoon
     ganmèl → receptacle, pot, vessel

This comes from the following proverb:
Chak jou kiyè bwa al kay ganmèl, men fòk ganmèl al kay kiyè bwa tou.
Everyday the spoon goes to the pot, but one day the pot must go to the spoon too.
or
The spoon stirs the pot everyday, but the pot needs to stir the spoon too.
so,
It's about a one way relationship where one side always gives and the other always receives.
    

And so, you will hear the expression:

a. Yon jou fòk ganmèl al kay kiyè tou.
    Which means
    One day the shoe must go on the other foot too.

Here's another example:

b. Chak jou m'ap ede w, men ou pa janm ede'm.  Li pa bon!  Fòk ganmèl al kay kiyè too.
    Every day I'm helping you, but you never help me.  It's not right!  The situation needs to be reversed too.

Response hint:  I think this devinèt should have been the other way around.....Kiyè al kay ganmèl. Ganmèl pa la kay kiyè.... 
And, I'm not sure why the answer is "plènlin".
I asked around.  I was told that it may mean "the moon shines on us and we don't shine on the moon".  To me this sounds too ....easy.

I'll look into this last one further.

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

2 comments:

  1. Mezami! M toujou gen pwoblem konprann kèk devinèt yo menm apre w eksplike m yo. M fèk pran li yon liv plen ak devinèt. Tit liv la se 'Di Yon Vèb Tire Yon Kont' epi m te li sèlman premye de paj yo.

    Oh my!

    Mèsi...Li sanble m pral bezwen anpil èd. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ☺ Tèt chaje!

      Men m konnen plis ou li devinèt yo plis w'ap vin konprann yo.
      Kenbe la, pa lage :)

      Delete