Haitian Creole ↔ English Reference, Look up Haitian Creole and English Words
"Mandaly, The Official Alphabet which was approved, I think, in 1979 has letters: "ou" and "w". At times, I have seen the English word "you" written as "ou" in Creole, and at other times, written as "w". Also, when I have seen it written as "w" it is not always in the situation where it might form a spoken sound contraction (such as "kisa w ap manje?"). So, how should I write, "I haven't seen you for a while"? M pa we ou or M pa we w Furthermore, when we talk about contractions, there are mandatory contractions and optional contractions. When should optional contractions be written? For example: "I would like" Mwen ta renmen ... or M ta renmen ... Are there any rules as to when optional contractions should be employed in writing? (Because in English unless you are writing in vernacular, you should avoid contractions.) Part of what I am asking is should contractions which are optional be uncontracted and left to the reader only if the passage is being read out loud? (As I know the guiding principle is that we write as we speak/pronounce.) If I am writing a text book on computer programming in Creole is there a more formal style in which to write or should I write as if I were talking to a class? (This is not a totally hypothetical question, since I have considered the preparation of educational materials.) Thank you! PS: I am very excited to see so many Haitians now writing their language. When I first learned/taught in the 1970s, it was very much a "chicken and the egg" situation. If no Haitians could read Creole, then who would be there to read literature and text books in Creole? If no Haitians could write Creole, then who would author our literature and text books. And so, back around 1970/80, myself, the other volunteers, and priests who ran the the community center firmly believed the key to Haiti's future was Creole literacy and broad public education. I am truly happy to see that there has been progress."
1. 'w' is a short form for 'ou'. (I'm sure you know that)
2. If you see the word 'you', more than likely it's a typo. Autocorrect is awesome but not when you're trying to write another language :) I actually had to teach my iphone and ipad to "speak" H.Creole so that it would stop correcting my texts and emails.
3. There are a few definite places where you shouldn't use contractions (or fòm kout), otherwise it's pretty much as you wish depending on the setting of the conversation, texts, or written work . Some instructors tell you that it's best to use the long form at the beginning of a sentence but if I want to say 'M ap vini demen' or 'M t ale wè l lopital la' or 'M ale. N a wè pita.' or 'W a gentan konnen' I would be more comfortable using the short form at the beginning of these sentences because that's the way I talk.
4. Some place where you cannot use contractions: after pou, san, sou towards the end of a sentence.
a. Pote yon ti dlo pou m.
We should say: Pote yon ti dlo pou mwen.
b. Dlo enpòtan anpil. Ou pa ka viv san l.
We should say: Dlo enpòtan anpil. Nou pa ka viv san li.
c. Kote malèt la? M te mete liv mwen yo sou l men kounye a m pa wè l.
We should say: Kote malèt la? M te mete liv mwen you sou li men kounye a m pa wè l.
Also consider words that have short forms: konnen, pote, mete, etc....
We don't usually say Mwen pa konn. we say Mwen pa konnen.
Konbyen malèt ou pote? instead of konbyen malèt ou pot?
and also no contractions after consonants:
tèt mwen instead of
pitit li instead of
chemiz mwen instead of
Somehow people from North Haiti make these exceptions work :)
You know.... they say 'tèt m' (tèt anm or tèt an mwen); 'pitit l' (pitit a l or pitit a li); 'chemiz m' (chemiz anm or chemiz an mwen). Anyways you cannot make this work if you're not from there :)