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Common Creole Grammar Rules to Know

Haiti

If languages are the muscle and flesh of communication, grammar is the skeleton. Without the skeleton, there’s hardly any structure for languages to hold on to. There exist a lot of languages without a documented grammar for usage which works just fine. However, to develop literature and maintain the ubiquitous nature of any language, having a body of grammar which is universally accepted is key. In this article we will explore the various aspects of Haitian Creole Grammar.

But first, some peculiar rules of Haitian Creole grammar...

  1. Verbs do not have any conjugations and do not change for any gender, pronoun or tense.
  2. Pronouns for the second person are the same for both genders.
  3. If you want to create a negation of any sentence, use the word ‘pa’
  4. Sentence structure for both English and Haitian Creole are the same - Subject, Verb, Object
  5. If you want to ask a question use Eske.
  6. For writing a sentence in future tense, use ‘ap’ or ‘te’ before the verb

Most people think that the knowledge of grammar comprises only some arbitrary rules. However, there’s much more to grammar than just rules. For instance, grammar is also about observing when the words sound just about right. However, there’s a catch. To get a language to sound right you have to invest time into reading and listening to thousands of hours of content. Once these words become familiar to you, they become easy to identify in a sentence. Since you watch the same words being used in a variety of content, it becomes a habit to see those words written and aligned in a particular way in a content.

To learn the grammar of Haitian Creole experts, advocate different methods:

  1. Dividing the grammar into several structures like tense, gerund, participle and working your way through each in a timely fashion.
  2. Working with transforming a sentence into several structures in order to see the changes they undergo in each.
  3. Working through the exceptions to the rule in the grammar and looking at several possible examples in order to understand the concept

Here are some rules of Haitian Creole Grammar that break the language into essential parts and make the whole approach a lot easier for beginners who want to learn Creole Grammar.

1. Indefinite Articles - A, An

Rule: The rule for using indefinite articles is to place ‘yon’ before the noun.

Examples: Yon pom. Yon fig.

Translation: An Apple. A Banana

2. Definite Articles - The

Rule: The use is made according to the sound of the noun ending

For vowels, use ‘a’.

Example: dife a. Translation: The fire.

Consonant, use ‘la’.

Example: fig la. Translation: The banana.

For nasal n, use ‘an’.

Example: pwason an. Translation: The fish.

For hard n or m, use ‘nan’.

Example: pom nan. Translation: The apple.

3. Pronouns

Find below a list of major pronouns

Mwen- I

Ou- You

Li- He/She/It

Nou- We/ You

Yo- They

4. Possessive Pronouns

Rule: a. Pronouns don’t change

Example: Pom mwen. My Apple

b. For denoting possession, place the pronoun after the noun

Example: Pom li. Her Apple

5. Questions

The classic set of Who/How/ When/Which/ Why/ Where is represented in the Haitian Creole by the words kimoun/ kijan/ kilè/ kilès/ poukisa/ki kote.

6. Verb conjugations

Rule: There are no conjugated verbs

7. Verb Tenses

Rule: Verb tenses are always placed before the verb

Examples:

Ap pale. Speaking

Te pale. Spoke.

T ap pale. Was speaking.

Pral Pale. Going to speak.

Ta Pale. Would speak.

8. Irregular Verb

Rule: When a pronoun is added to the verb bay, it changes.

Examples:

Ban mwen. Give me.

Ban nou. Give us.

Ba ou. Give you.

Ba li. Give him.

Ba yo. Give them.

As for establishing a command over any language, apart from the steps mentioned above, the steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Vocabulary

You can start with short phrases and common words and build a reasonable grasp over vocabulary over time.

  1. Grammar

Haitian Grammar is fairly consistent and follows a simple set of rules.

  1. Practice

This goes without saying that practice makes a man perfect. The more you practice with a group of people who know the language, the better you are going to be at it.


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