Bonjou! Learn to Speak Haitian Creole

Bonjou! ...Mèsi! ...E Orevwa! Check out our Audio bits. Do as many exercises as you need. Take an online QUIZ and get your answers right away. Finish a crossword puzzle. Reinforce your learning with the Audio/Video exercises. Search for English or Haitian Creole words translation. Also search the whole site for expressions, idioms and grammar rules. And ask questions about the language in the ASK QUESTIONS HERE section.

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, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kisa ay la?

M pa fin konpran kesyon w lan nèt :)
M panse ou vle mande m ... Kisa ki ay la?  oubyen Kisa ki lay la?

Ay se yon entèjeksyon
Lay se sa yo rele GARLIC nan lang Angle a.

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

Is there a significant different between sevi ak and itilize? Mesi anpil!

Not a big difference.

Sèvi ak or itilize → to use, to make use of

kèk egzanp:

1. Nou pa sèvi ak elektrisite lakay mwen.  Nou sèvi ak lanp.
2. Si ou fè Bondye plezi, li va sèvi ak ou pou fè travay li.
3. Nou pa sèvi ak bon chodyè pou bouyi pwa sèch.
4. Yo pran m sèvi temwen.
5. Moun sa yo pa konn sèvi ak recho elektrik.  Si w pa montre yo kouman pou sèvi avè li y ap mete dife nan kay la.

In all these examples (and more...) you can replace sèvi ak (or sèvi in #4) with itilize.


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Sak pa se, Mandaly ! Now ur computer is working, how soon can I expect to see the next set of audio ? (kamsa hamnida)

Bonjou zanmi :)
Non the computer was not fixed.  I got another one.
But we are re-doing the recordings. When I post them.  I will try to post more than one at once to make up for lost time.  I cannot promise this weekend.  Hans (the male voice) is not available for the recording.  Dakò :)

Thanks for your patience.

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

Ok, this might be outside the scope of this blog, but I've got a question about this wording from a book. Speaking of Jesus, it says, "Poto mitan istwa a se yon ti bebe." (Istwa Jezi nan Bib la, p.17) Would this phrase, "poto mitan" not conjure up voodoo images for Haitian children?

No.  It wouldn't.
Poto mitan means center pillar.  The one that holds everything together.
Haitians use this word especially when they talk about a person that is important and everything goes back to (revolves around) him/her.

For example, I might say "Manman'm se poto mitan fanmi m.  Si'l pa't la fanmi an ta gentan divize."

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

How do you know when to use Sa, Sak, and Sa k'ap? Sak seems redundant.

"Sa" (contraction for "kisa")

"Sa'k" (or "sa ki") are contraction for "Kisa ki" basically translates "what" when used as a interrogation pronoun.
So the three are the same.

pa egzanp, ou kapab di:
1.
Kisa ki genyen?
or
Sa ki genyen?
or
Sa'k genyen?
What's going on?

2. 
Kisa ki pase w?
or
Sa ki pase w?
or
Sa'k pase w?
What's going on with you?

3.
Eske ou konnen kisa ki te fè m fache?
or
Eske ou konnen sa ki te fè m fache?
or
Eske ou konnen sa'k te fè m fache?
Do you know what pissed me off? 

By the same token, adding "ap" indicates the progressive form:
"Sa k'ap" (or "sa ki ap") is contraction for "Kisa ki ap".
pa egzanp, ou kapab di:
4.
Kisa ki ap fè tout bri sa a?
or
Sa ki ap fè tout bri sa a?
or
Sa k'ap fè tout bri sa a?
What is making all that noise?

Other examples (with different tenses)
5.
Kisa ki ta fè w kontan?
Sa ki ta fè w kontan?
Sa'k ta fè w kontan?
What would make you happy?

6.
Nanpwen moun ki konnen kisa ki pral pase demen?
Nanpwen moun ki konnen sa ki pral pase demen?
Nanpwen moun ki konnen sa k pral pase demen?
No one knows what will happen tomorrow?



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

by chance, by accident

by chance (by accident) → pa aksidan, pa aza, pa kowensidans

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How do you use ma, wa, na vs map, wap, nap in the future? I found when using ma, wa, or na I was not understood.

You should be understood...  Haitians use that combination of the contracted pronoun and 'a all the time.  Are you using it as in the following?:
m'a (mwen va) → M'a wè ou demen (I'll see you tomorrow).
w'a (ou va) → W'a salye manman w pou mwen (Say hello to your mom for me)
n'a (nou va) → N'a  wè pita. (We will see later or See you later)
l'a (li va) → L'a ba w machandiz la lè w peye l.  (She ll give you the merchandise when you pay her)
y'a (yo va) → Y'a manje ansanm lè tout moun antre lakay(They ll eat together when everyone comes home.)

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hi Mandaly! Are you familiar with the Bible story book in Creole called Istwa Jezi nan Bib la pou timoun? It's a beautiful book, but sometimes the Creole seems a little off. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0615615910 I'd love to know what you think of it.

I actually have one copy of this book and have used it as a reading book with a beginner (learning Creole for just two months 5 days/week)  He bought his own copy from Amazon.  He did awesomely well with the help of a Creole language dictionary.  A few word/term choices could have been different if this were written for foreigners learning the language, but considering that it was written for native Haitian children, I thought the H Creole used in there was pretty straightforward and effortless (re: font and typeset).

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

I know that we discussed this already, but I want to know about this. Can I say or use 'yon pa...yon lòt pa...' as well. Example in both languages, "On the one hand I love the freedom of being single, but on the other hand the idea of being married and having a family is very attractive."

Good question.....

I would not be comfortable using "...yon pa, ... yon lòt pa"
We've always used "....yon bò (or yon kote), .... Yon lòt bò (yon lòt kote)"

If there's anything that does not click too well in that sentence, it's the following:
replace "de" with "pou" or "pou'm"
remove "se"

 "Yon pa mwen renmen libète de pou viv kòm yon selibatè, men yon lòt pa mwen renmen lide de pou vin marye et gen yon fanmi ki se atiran."

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

"Lew we yon moun devenn menm let Kaye kase tet li" what does this mean?

Lè w wè yon moun an devenn menm lèt kaye kase tèt li.
When misfortune follows someone, even curd milk would break (smash, split) his head (skull).

This is the same saying as:

Lè w wè yon moun an devenn menm po bannann (or sometimes they say: po patat) blese l.
When misfortune follows someone even a banana peel (or potato skin) will hurt him.

As you probably can already tell, this proverb is saying that when misfortunes follows someone, even the least little thing will imperil or injure him.

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


Why have I been told not to say "ou dous" when someone does something nice? Does it not mean "You're sweet?"

Yes that is the literally translation, but it refers to sex. 
People use it to express that something feels good.  It is most commonly  used, for example, during a massage, petting, or the  sexual act.
Pa egzanp:
This feels so good.
It feels so good
Li dous.
Or
You feel so good
Ou dous.

If you want to say "You're sweet." when someone does something nice, then you'll say: "Ou janti." or "Ou trè janti."

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what does estera mean

estera - rowdy, rambunctious
pa egzanp: "Bann estera!"

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kijan ou di 'idea' 'organize(v)' 'fluent(adj)' ak 'translate(v)'

idea - lide
organize  - öganize
fluent - kouran
translate - tradui

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

Can you explain the meanings of fet and fet la? And all the accented variations? It seems like a very common word.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What does kadejak mean

how do you say, "How come you won't tell me your name?"

How come... ?kouman fè...?, kijan fè... ?, kòman fè ...?

How come you won't tell me your name?
Kouman fè ou p'ap di m non w?

Why won't you tell me you name?
Poukisa ou pa vle di m non w?

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Any idea what this word means? It sounds like "bah-low" (using English phonetics), but I guess it could be "pah-low" too. Context was a command to a child, as in "George, balo."

It sounds like H. Creole's "M pale w"
In this context, it sounds like an impatient parent talking to a stubborn child, giving him a warning (usually one more time):
George, m pale w.
George, I've warned you.

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

 

Will you be my wife? how to say it please. I have trouble with using "pral".

I hear you. I would have 'trouble' using "pral" here too :)

Will you be my wife?
Eske ou vle vin madanm mwen?

Would you be my wife?
Eske ou ta vle vin madanm mwen?

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

How do you express'the day after tomorrow'? jou a apre demen? or jou apre demen a?

Neither.
Just say apredemen.

1.  N'a wè apredemen.
     I'll see you the day after tomorrow.

2. N'ap rive la apredemen.
    We'll get there the day after tomorrow.

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I hear when Haitians say mwen grangou it can be sexually suggestive. Is it true?

Really?
Whenever I think of the word "grangou", I usually think of hunger, famine, food and sometimes coconuts and cassava :)  But now that you've got this into my head, I'm gonna have to think twice whenever a beggar in the street say "mwen grangou" :)
But seriously, I think that when 95% of Haitians say they're hungry, they're expressing a desire to eat.... food.

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Pou ki sa ou di "ANNOU ALE" (Let's go) and then "KITE M KONNEN" (Let me know). Why can't you say "ANNOU KONNEN" for LET ME KNOW?

Let us and let me are two different things.  Aren't they?

Let us (Let's) [sort of a command] in Haitian Creole is Annou, Ann, and sometimes Kite nou
pa egzanp:

1. Let's meet later.
    Annou rankontre pita.

2. Let's help them
    Ann ede yo

3. Let's pray.
   Annou lapriyè.

4. Let's get it done.
    Kite nou fini l.

It is different form Let me (permit me)

5. Let her come in.
    Kite l antre.

6. Let me see it.
    Kite m wè l.

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

Eske ou ka di mwen yon kote mwen ka jwenn kèk literati Ayisyen? Mwen te eseye chache sou entènet la men m pat jwenn twòp. Genyen kèk liv an Franse men m plis vle bagay an Kreyol. Petet pa genyen anpil.

Genyen anpil literati an Kreyòl.  Sa depan ki  nivo Kreyòl w'ap chache.  Si w'ap chache liv sou entènèt la ou ka jwenn kèk, men ou p'ap janm konnen ki materyèl ki anndan yo vrèman.  Li toujou pi bon pou ale nan magazen an anpèsòn enpi gade anndan liv yo pou genyen yon bon lide osijè yo.  Si pa genyen magazen nan zòn kote ou abite, cheke Educavision.com, oubyen rele Libreri Mapou nan Miami, oubyen cheke Presses Nationales an Ayiti - Moun yo nan konpani sa yo kapab byen asiste ou nan telefòn pou jwenn sa w'ap chache a :)
Dakò.

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

What is the difference between the word said and told in Creole? Are both just "te di"?

"di" in Creole can translate both "to tell", and "to say"

A. To tell (to give an account) → di, rakonte
pa egzanp:
1. To tell me - di mwen, or rakonte mwen
2. Tell her - di li, or rakonte li
3. Tell us please - di nou tanpri, or rakonte nou tanpri
4. Tell them the story - Rakonte yo istwa a.

5. He told us what happened.
    Li te rakonte nou sa ki te pase.
    or
    Li te di nou sa ki te pase.

B. To tell (to inform, to notify) - di
pa egzanp:
6. She told me to come early.
    Li di m vini bonè.
   Li te di m pou m vini bone.
   But you will never say:
   Li te rakonte m vin bonè.

7. He told her to move out.
    Li te di l pou l demanaje.
    Never:
    Li te rakonte l pou l demanaje.

You also need to know:
to tell a liebay manti
pa egzanp:
8. He told us a big lie.
    Li ban nou yon gwo manti.

To tell about → pale osijè
Pa egzanp
9. Tell me about Jesus Christ.
     Pale m osijè Jezi Kri.

10.  Tell me about her.
      Pale m osijè li.
      or even
      Pale m de li.

11. Tell me about your kids.
       Pale m osijè timoun ou yo.
       or even
      Pale me de timoun ou yo.


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

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bonswa! I just picked up the book "Haitian Creole for Adoptive Familes" for a little extra practice with some CD's. I am familar with PA meaning "negative, or not" and also with it being a possesive, but in this book they use it in a way I don't understand. ....

"Bonswa!
I just picked up the book "Haitian Creole for Adoptive Familes" for a little
extra practice with some CD's.

I am familiar with PA meaning "negative, or not" and also with it being a
possesive, but in this book they use it in a way I don't understand.

For instance the following are their translations:
Are you hungry?
Ou pa grangou?
Doesn't that mean "you are not hungry?"

Do you need help:
Ou pa bezwen m' ede ou?
Again, doesn't that mean, you don't want me to help you?

Do you want more?
Ou pa vle plis?
Again I would assume that means "you don't want more"
I thought the correct translation would be more like:
Eske ou vle plis?

What am I missing?"


ANSWER:
Your are right, this would be confusing to any H. Creole learner who is expecting a simple interrogative sentence.
What they are using in this book is a negative interrogative sentence.
I'm not sure why they chose to go that route, but your "correct translation" (at the end of your question) should be the one to start with if you're learning the language.

Ou pa grangou? (Eske ou pa grangou?)
Aren't you hungry?

Ou pa bezwen m ede ou? (Eske ou pa bezwen m ede w?)
Don't you need me to help you?

Ou pa vle plis? (Eske ou pa vle plis?)
Don't you want more?

Dakò Mèsi :)
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Li mete soulye # 6½. Can you express "#61/2" in hc(spelling) ?Thanks ( kamsahamnida)

Do you know of any good places on the internet for hearing H. Creole to keep your ear sharp?

Youtube, Haitian internet radios, Haitian news online....
Sometimes the news is in French, sometimes it's in Creole.

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

From now on I am all yours

From now on → apati kounye a, apati jodi a, koumanse kounye a,  kòmanse jodi a, anpatan kounye a, anpatan Jodi a

From now on I am all yours.
Apati kounye a mwen se pa w.
Apati jodi a mwen se kinan w :)




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

Intense, intensive?

intense → fò, ekstrèm, pasyonan
intensive → konsantre, konplè, konpreyansif

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

le jew ap bat ki sa li vle di

O O! mezanmi!
Ayisyen di lè je ap bat sa vle di lapli pral tonbe oubyen ou gen yon moun ki pral mouri.
Mwen se moun Akayè, se sa mwen konn tande :)

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

Bonjou! M gen yon kesyon sou diferans fason yo a pou eksprime yon ......

"Bonjou! M gen yon kesyon sou diferans fason yo a pou eksprime yon
posesif. Patikilyement, poukisa nou pa itilize mo a "pa" toujou pou eksprime
posesif. Pa egzanp:
Kreyol se lang pa m.
Kreyol se lang mwen.

Oubyen
Se te chapo pa l.
Se te chapo l.

Eske gen yon diferans? Pafwa m wè atik yo ki itiliz 'pa' pou yon posesif e lot
fwa m pa wè l. Poukisa?
Mesi anpil pou blog ou (pa w?)! Li t'ap ede m anpil!"


ANSWER:

Toude fason ou itilize pou posesif la bon.
Lè ou itilize "pa" kòm posesif an Kreyòl, se sa ou rele an Angle POSSESSIVE PRONOUN
pa egzanp:
Machin nan se pa m. - The car is mine.
Eske timoun sa yo se pa w? → Are these kids yours?

E lè ou itilize lòt pwonon yo, se sa ou rele POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVE an Angle.
Se machin mwen.  → It's my car.
Se machin pa m. → The car, it's mine.  or This car is mine.
Sa yo se timoun mwen yo. → These are my kids.
Timoun sa yo se pa m. → These kids are mine.






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

Eske gen yon diferans ant "gen" e "genyen" pou itilize yo? Kilè me dwe itilize youn e kilè m dwe itilize lòt? Pa egzanp, nan lòt blog ou, m te wè yon atik sou bidonvil yo an Ayiti ki di: "Pa genyen elektrisite, pa genyen dlo potab, pa genyen latrin...” Poukisa se pa "pa gen elektrisite, pa gen..pa gen"? Yon gran mesi!

Dakò :)

"GEN" ak "GENYEN" vle di menm bagay la. Ou kapab boukante youn pou lòt nan nenpòt fraz.  Men ou pa kabab itilize "GEN" nan fen yon fraz.

Pa egzanp:
Ou kapab di:
Se pa sa ou genyen (That isn't what's wrong with you)
Men ou pa kapab di:
Se pa sa ou gen.

Ou kapab di:
Se yon sèl dola mwen genyen.
Men ou pa dwe di:
Se yon sèl dola mwen gen.

Men nan atik "Bidonvil" la.  Otè a sanble te vle itilize anfaz (emphasis), se pou sa li sanble pa't kontrakte mo "GENYEN" an. Men, sètènman, ou ta kapab ekri "...pa gen elektrisite, pa gen..., pa gen....". Li ta kòrèk si ou ta ekri li konsa tou.

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m ta renmen se yon ti bwa ki pou debouchem pito poum pa tro senyen My try is” "I would like a Little girl who ....prefer one not tight” Please, translate for me

No....not really :)

M ta renmen se yon ti bwa ki pou debouche'm pito pou'm pa trò senyen.  
I would like to be pierced with a little twig instead so I don't bleed too much.

ti bwa - twig, small piece of wood, small branch
senyen - to bleed
debouche - to open up

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Hello there, What's the difference between the two sentences:"I'll go unless he phones first,"and I Won't go unless he phones fisrt."THANK YOU.

Unless you wanted the Haitian Creole grammar for these sentences, I think this is a question for  English teacher - Not a Haitian Creole teacher.
But I'll think you what I think anyway :)
The second sentence makes sense.  The first one seems unfinished.

I'll go, unless he phones first (then I won't go?)
Mwen va ale, men si l telefone anvan sa (mwen pa prale?)

I won't go unless he phones first. (Basically: If he calls I will go. But if he doesn't call, then I guess I will not go :)
Toutotan li pa telefone mwen pa prale.

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

 

"San" with or without further negation: "L ap jwenn ni san li pa kite kay la" or "L ap jwenn ni san li kite kay la" ?

In this example you do need the negation "pa".
You'll use "pa" if you use a subject after "san".
L'ap jwenn ni san li pa kite kay la. (He'll find it without leaving the house)
Nou pati san nou pa konnen kote nou t 'a prale. (We left without knowing where we were going.)
Li monte machin nan sa l pa peye. (She got into the car without paying)

But without the subject you may omit "pa":
L'ap jwenn ni san kite kay la.
Nou pati san konnen kote nou prale.
Li monte machin nan san peye.
Same translation as above.


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what is a maleng?

Maleng (maling, blese, java)open wound, open sore

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