Bonjou! Learn to Speak Haitian Creole

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I saw your blog and you had answered this, but wasn't sure as there are many ways the word stop could be used. When I was in Haiti any Stop sign I saw was in English. What word in Haitian Creole should be on a Stop sign...sispann? Thank you so much!

I love your question. Why, indeed, are all the stop signs in Haiti in English? Maybe when the Haitian government ordered the stop signs they sent them the wrong batch, and the H. government never thought to return them. No return slip included?

Anyways, the proper terminology for a stop sign on the streets of Haiti should be arè which means to halt. It comes from the French arrêt (noun), the verb is arrêter in French, and rete in Creole.

Other words in Creole that means to stop is kanpe.
Kanpe la! - Stop there!
Kanpe machin nan  / Rete machin nan - Stop the car
Kanpe mizik la - Stop the music

It would be hard to use sispann in that sense. Sispann means to cease or to end something.
Li sispann pale. - He stopped talking
Konpani manifakti a sispann fè modèl rad sa a. - The manufacturing company stopped making this type of dress.
To use sispann by itself, you'll need a context.
Li lè pou sispann manje gato. Sispann! - It's time to stop eating cake. Stop!

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


  1. Can you explain the use(s) of "sa"? When should it go before, when should it go after words? Thank you!!

    1. In English you have the demonstrative adjectives and pronouns.

      demonstrative adjectives
      this house - kay sa a (some people may say 'kay sa')
      that book - liv sa a
      these cars - machin sa yo
      those houses - kay sa yo
      So, in that case 'sa' always goes after the noun.

      This is my book - Sa se liv mwen.
      That is my dad - Sa se papa mwen.
      These are not my clothes. - Sa yo se pa rad mwen.
      Those are beautiful. - Sa yo bèl.
      It's really bad. - Sa vrèman mal.
      What is this? - Ki sa sa ye?
      Do you want this one? - Èske ou vle sa a?