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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Can you tell me how you would translate "kina yo." I know it is hard to answer this without knowing the context. In context it sounds something like "the locals." But can you perhaps elaborate or be any more precise for me about its meanings and connotations? I am doing a translation of an oral history of an elderly Haitian from 1987. Thanks!

You will hear this type  of expression in Northern Haiti.

1. kina yo (kinan yo) - theirs, or it can be their family

   Sa se kinan m - This is mine; This is my race, my family

    Sa se kinan nou - This is ours

2. Northerners tend to "an" or "a" before their possessive adj.
    for example:
   We usually say:
Liv mwen.
Sa se liv mwen.
   A person from the North might say:
Liv an mwen.
Sa se liv an mwen.

3. Here's another example:
    We usually say:
Sa se papa li.
    But the Northerner might say:
Sa se papa a li.

4. And one more example:
   We usually say:
Ayiti se peyi nou.
   The Northerner might say:
Ayiti se peyi an nou.

So, when you see "kin an yo" or "kin an mwen", it's as if they were saying:  kin an yotheir kin (their own) or kin an mwen my kin (my own)

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


  1. Can I add another observation about the northern way of speaking? We've lived in the Cap Haitian area for about 10 years. I would add that in an example like "Sa se papa a li." The folks in the north will not contract the the "li" at the end to an "l" sound. In fact they will drop the "l" sound and insert only an "i" sound. Thus the sentence would most likely sound like this: "Sa se papa a i." (Of course you'd never see it written like that!") And it sounds almost exactly like they're saying, "Sa se papay." You hear this anytime they contract "li" after another word. "Vin pran i." "Pa pale ake i." And even at the beginning of sentences: "I pa bon, non."

  2. Yes, thanks for your comment.
    My husband is from the North West area, and he does drop his L's.
    Also there are many terms and expressions that I use which he's not familiar with and vice versa... (i am from the West area).

  3. Thanks Mandaly! It's encouraging to know that even the two of you don't always know each others terms and expressions! :) Blessings to you and yours!