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!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ki sa "Gendwa"?

Gen dwa – to be able, to be entitled, to have the right to, to be allowed

1. Ou gen dwa manje nenpòt sa w vle. – You may eat whatever you want.

2. Nou pa gen dwa jije moun senpleman sou aparans yo. – You should not judge people solely on their appearance.

3. Ou pa gen dwa fè sa. – You should not do that.


4. Konstitisyon peyi a di tout moun se moun, yo gen dwa pou yo viv lib. – The country’s constitution says that everyone is human, they have the right to live free.

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I'm reading through the creole songs in Chants D'esperance which seem to use an older style spelling. I can still recognize most of the words but I'm stuck on gnou - such as in "Gnou jou avan kouche soley." Also, are the last two words reversed from their normal order?

Gnou, youn, or yon – indefinite article a, an

Gnou jouone day
To answer your question, no it’s not reversed. It’s the possessive being used here.
kouche  /solèy / la
setting / sun / the
the setting of the sun

gnou  / jou / avan / kouche / solèy
a / day / before / laying / sun
one day before the setting of the sun
one day before sunset



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What are words for "sprain" or "wramp" as a noun and as a verb?.................

sprain  - fouli, foulay, antòch
to sprain (to twist) – foule, dejwente
egzanp:
M foule pye m antan m t’ap monte mòn nan.
Oubyen

M te pran yon foulay antan m t’ap monte mòn nan.

for a shoulder strain you'll also use depole or dekloke

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what is wap ban bouden?

W’ap ban m bouden
You’re misleading me.


Bay bouden – to deceive, to double cross
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apparently and impact in kreyol, also what does fouti mean?

apparently - aparamman
impact – efè, enpresyon, chòk
fouti – to be able (used in negative sentences)
such as:
M pa fouti konprann sa misye ap di la.
I can’t understand what he’s saying.


M telman  fatige lò m fin travay, yon fwa m met tèt nan kabann m pa fouti leve jouk li maten. – I’m so tired after work that once I go to bed I can’t get up till it’s morning.

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how do you say: ......

I meant to come get you but I forgot. – M te fin pare pou m vin chache w, men m vin bliye.

This means a lot to me. – Sa konsekan pou mwen.
you can use the word konsekan or enpòtan

What do you mean? – Kisa ou vle di?
Basically - esansyèlman
 steering wheel - volan
seat belt – senti sekirite

bald - chòv

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labapen? and what's that saying, it goes something like gason se labapen.....

labapen - Artocarpus camansi fruits, look like chesnuts.

I thought it was women that were given the name labapen …once they’re ripe, they fall from the tree.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

How do you say "any of you" in Creole?

Any of you – nenpòt nan nou, nenpòt kilès nan nou, nenpòt moun nan nou
It can happen to any one of you. – Sa ka rive nenpòt kilès nan nou.

Any of you, anyone of youyoun nan nou
Does anyone of you know what time it is?
Eske gen youn nan nou k’ konnen ki lè li ye?

None of youokenn nan nou
They were all sitting at the church’s doorway, yet none of them noticed that the door was removed.

Yo tout te chita nan papòt legliz la, poutan ankenn nan yo pa’t remake ke yo te retire pòt la.
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How do you say "bear" in Haitian Creole? As in, "teddy bear?" Or the animal in general? I want to say, "My Haitian Bear," "My Island Bear," etc...as terms of endearment. Mesi.

Teddy bear – nounous, ti nounous
A teddy bear – yon nounous

A bear (animal) – lous


Terms of endearment: chouchou, cheri, toutou, koukout, cheri koukout, etc….

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

what is the meaning of: sa je pa we, ke pa tounen?

Literally, what the eyes do not see cannot gross you out.
You cannot be repulsed by what you don’t see.


The fast food restaurant employee did not wash her hands after using the restroom.  Hey, if you do not know that you’ll trustingly eat the sandwich that she just prepared with her bare hands for you :)

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n’ava al bwè yon ti kafe ansanm. Can you please explain "n’ava al bwè" in detail ? kamsa hamnida

N’ava al bwè yon ti kafe ansanm
N’ava (future marker) or Nou va
Al (contraction for “ale”)
Nou va ale bwè yon ti kafe ansanm.
We will go drink some coffee together.


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Hello, First of all I'd like to say Thank you for everything you do. I am in CA and you can't find ANY creole courses. My husband is from Haiti and we have a 7 month old son. My husband works a lot so he doesn't have the time to sit and teach me phrases. So Can you teach me a few things to say to my son? "come here baby", "mommy loves you" and some others maybe you can think of.

Thank you.
The few phrases that I can give you might be useful for a limited amount of time as your interaction with your son expands.
If you are looking for HC phrases that you’ll use with your son eventually the list can get quite long. If you want to go that route then get a big notebook, make note of those phrases as they come to mind, when your husband comes home from work he should be able to help you with some of them at least – and he can be there to help you with articulation.  You can email some of the sentences in your list and I’ll help you as I can. 
If you do a few phrases every day, you’ll filled many notebooks within a month time.  There are also some Haitian Creole materials you can obtain online from Amazon, Educavision, Barnes and Nobles, etc… that might be helpful with speech and pronunciation.

Come to me – Vin jwenn mwen
Come here! – Vin isit!
Come to mommy – Vin jwenn manmi

Mommy loves you – Manman w renmen w.

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How do you say, "In tracing my bloodline origins, I've found that I have SO MANY FLAGS to wave!"?

Do you mean “flag waving” as in being patriotic?

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What does frè mean when describing a person? I was told cool or interesting?

As an adjective, yes, it would mean cool or fresh-faced

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Bonjou! I wanted to ask about the North Haitian Creole dialect and the way it is spoken differently than in Pòtòprens. What are a variety of words or spellings of words that are used and written that are different from the standard Haitian Creole dialect that is written and spoken in Pòtòprens, the capital? I heard that instead of "Li pral wè w avèk mamit la", the northerners would write or say "i pray vwa w ake kanistè a"? What are some words to say or write in the North Haitian Creole dialect?

 First and foremost they have a different accent.

Yes, they do say vwa instead of , ake instead of avèk, avè or ak, kanistè instead of manmit, and “i” instead of “li”, and pray instead of pral
Other different terms they use (that I can tnk of):. 
They might say kòk instead of kokoye
They say kawo, we say fè (fèarepase);
They say kinan for possessive
they say twade we say wayal
They say kwoke when talking about sexual intercourse
They say dite we say te
They usually say fèrenk instead of  fèk
They will say “y” when using the contracted third person object pronoun  “l”.
They might also say chapitè when talking about yon oungan



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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I just read your interpretation of a proverb. Since you’re on the subject how would interpret this Haitian proverb? Kout machet nan dlo pa gen mak.

“Kou manchèt nan dlo pa kite mak?”, it means  “when a man sleeps with a woman, he leaves no trace”

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Mandaly. I have 2 questions pertaining to the same subject. Nan fraz yo: "Ou ka achte yon jilet aswe a." ak "Ou pa ka achte jilet aswe a." Is it right that in negative statements you do not use "yon"; if so, is it all the time in this manner for correct Kreyol? My other question is: "M pa ka." ak "Ou pa ka."; I thought you could not use a contracted form at the end of a sentence. Or, is this an exception to the rule in proper Kreyol? I realize that there are grammatical exceptions (if this is the case), but I do not want to sound like a hillbilly speaking Kreyol. Mesi anpil.

:)

Answer to the first question:
No.  Using “yon” or not will have to depend on whether you’re talking about non-specific nouns and how many of these “non-specific” nouns you’re referring to or are you using a general term for them.

You can actually say  “M pa’t ka menm achte yon grenn  jilèt aswè a“.I could not even buy one single blade tonight.
Other examples:
M pa gen yon dola sou mwen. – I don’t have a dollar on me.
Pa gen yon kretyen vivan nan lari a aswè a. – There’s not a single soul in the street tonight.
M konnen se yon papiyon ou wè lè w gade imaj la. Mwen menm m pa wè yon papiyon, se yon fèy mwen wè. – I know you see a butterfly when you look at the image. As for me I don’t see a butterfly, I see a leaf.
So you ARE able to use “yon” in negative sentences.

And you will not use “yon” if you’re using a non-specific noun in general term or if it’s plural, etc....
For example.
M pa bezwen jilèt.  - I don't need blades.
M pa wè moun deyò a. - I don't see anyone outside
Nou gen kola pou tout moun. - We have sodas for everyone

Answer to the second question.

You are right.  You should say “M pa kapab” instead.
"kapab" will go at the end of the sentence instead of "ka".

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chwal ki gen dis mèt mouri nan poto meaning plzz

Chwal ki gen dis mèt mouri nan poto  “The horse which has ten masters dies at the hitching post” – A task with too many “handlers” gets neglected.
Basically, delegate specific people to do specific tasks and the task will get done, or at least you’ll know who to blame if it’s not done.

This makes me think of another Haitian Creole proverb.  It deals with task delegation also:  Si tout moun a cheval ki moun ki va fèmen baryè? “If everyone is on a horse, who will close the gate?”

Basically, everyone wants to be riding the horse but whose job is it to close the gate  after all the horses have passed through? 
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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Question: Can you explain to me what "kob sol" is?

Kòbmoney
Sòl – a short-term money saving method among a group of people

Money used to pay “sòl”.
Sòl is a short-term money saving method that a group of friends use.
Each person in the group contributes a predetermined amount of money at a specified time.  The money will go to one person in the group each time it’s collected until everyone has received their “hand” (yon men).

So, a group of 10 people makes a payment of $500.00 on the 1st of every month –each person will take turn receiving a payment of $5000.00 on the 1st of every month until everyone is paid.  At that point, the group will most likely start the “sòl” over. As you can imagine, the first person that gets paid is usually the neediest person and the last payment will be a receipt of a nice $5000.00 saving.

It’s helpful when people who do not have access to banks do it (in Haiti). Some Haitians do it even when they have access to banks because they know the money will not be available to them until a specified time. It works for them if they’re trying to build a small saving or if it’s dangerous to go to the bank (as it can be in Haiti) when crooks, hiding in every corner, watch your comings and goings from the bank.

Many Haitians from all over the US do it, Africans too (They have another name for it).  Mostly women do it.  Some use it as a way to keep their spouse from spending their money too :)

Sometimes a friend may invite you to participate in a sòl.  They try to gather a lot of people because large groups yield large payments, but it can be a gamble if you don’t know the people you’re dealing with.


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Mandaly. Would you please translate these Books of the Bible for me; I cannot locate the correct spellings because of the "sound spellings" that accompany them:

Deuteronomy Detewonòm
Job jòb
Ecclesiastes Eklezyas
Ezekiel Ezekyèl
------------------
Ephesians Efezyen

Colossians Kolosyen

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Mandaly. I forgot to ask about the Book of Romans. Is Romans "Wom" with a grave accent on the "o",or is it "Women"? Mesi anpil

It’s Women (no aksan fòs or aksan grav)

Wòm is Haitian Creole for Rome

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

One of my friends often says "gen bezwen" instead of just "bezwen." I believe she is from a different region of Haiti... is this just a form of accent?

We say it like that sometimes.
Pa egzanp:
Gen moun ki gen bezwen finansyèl, gen moun ki gen bezwen medical, e genyen ki bezwen sosyal.
Di m sa w gen bezwen, e m’a di w sim ka ede w.

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Yon moun te dim "mwen wè ou vle pyejem." Kisa li vle di?

Yon “pyèj”a trap, a lure
Pyejeto entrap, to trick

Mwen wè ou vle pyeje’m.” – “I see you want to entrap me

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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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