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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Why is "lan" used in this translation of this scripture? "Se tout tan peche m lan devan je m." — Sòm 51:3. Is it literally saying, "The sin of mine is constantly in front of me"? Couldn't it also just say, "Se tout tan peche m devan je m."?

When it comes to using the HC definite article “nan” or “lan”, some Haitians primarily use “lan”.

They will say “ponm lan” – the apple , while others may say “ponm nan
Or “fanm lan” – the woman, while others say “fanm nan
Or “zanmi m lan” – my friend, while others say “zanmi m nan

Or “peche m lan” – my sin, while others say “peche m nan

I don't think the bible you're reading from uses "nan" as a definite article at all.  

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  1. Thank you for your response. Is it necessary that the definite article even be used at all here? "...peche m", isn't sufficient? To be correct, is it better said, "...peche m lan", or ...peche m nan"? Doesn't that mean, "THE my sin"? Isn't just " sin" enough. Why is the definite article being included there? I notice that it isn't when it says, " eye" -- " m". It doesn't say, "... je m lan." I guess I'm confused as to when to use the definite article when you are already indicating the "article" with "MY" or "MINE" -- "MWEN". Such as "my sin" or "my eye".

    1. You’re not alone. A lot of people get confused by the definite article after the possessive adjective.

      You can say, for example, “kay mwen” or “kay mwen an” and it would basically mean “my house”.
      You can say “zanmi mwen” or “zanmi mwen an” and it would mean “my friend”.
      You can say “peche mwen” or “peche mwen an” and it would mean “my sin”.

      Both forms are correct. But sometimes the situation calls for the addition of the definite article. Using the definite article after the possessive adjective, sometimes, can help in specifying one out of many. If you’re unsure of when to use it, just use the possessive adjective without the definite article.

      Here are some examples:
      Zanmi mwen an te vini wè m lotrejou. – My friend came to see me the other day.
      This HC sentence implies that the friend of mine, which we may have talked about, came to see me. It indicates that we are talking about one specific friend.
      It feels more specific than saying Zanmi mwen te vini wè m lotrejou. When reading this sentence I feel like asking “Which friend”?

      You’ll notice that we never say “manman mwen an”, or “papa mwen an” – but we do say “frè mwen an”, “matant mwen an”, “bondye mwen an”.

      We could not say Tèt mwen an ap fè m mal. My head hurts. We say instead Tèt mwen ap fè m mal.

      Here are some examples of using the definite article after the possessive adjective. Keep in mind that if we removed the definite articles in the following sentences, the sentences will still be correct.
      Pitit mwen an vini sot nan peyi etranje.
      Eske ou te wè valiz mwen an?
      Mwen mande w padon pou peche m nan.
      Piti li a malad.
      Kay nou an kraze.
      Li bati yon kay sou tè sè m nan san mande pèmisyon.
      Retire kò w sou sofa m nan.
      Prezantasyon yo an pa’t bon menm.

  2. Wow, what a great explanation. Thank you so much. That is very helpful to know and have cleared up for me.