Haitian Creole/Etymology

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Most of the lexicon in Haitian Creole is derived from French. Here are some patterns involving the pronunciation of the words borrowed into Haitian Creole.

Phonetic spelling[edit | edit source]

The standard orthography of Haitian Creole is phonetic, more so than French.

French Haitian Creole English
activité aktivite activity
alcool alkòl alcohol
Océanie Oseyani Oceania

Unrounding of front rounded vowels[edit | edit source]

/y/, /ø/, /œ̃/ and /œ/ are unrounded to /i/, /e/, /ɛ̃/ and /ɛ/, respectively. /ə/ also becomes /e/ because it sounds similar to /ø/.

French Haitian Creole English
États-Unis Etazini United States
cheveux cheve hair
seul sèl alone, only

Loss of r in the coda[edit | edit source]

When r is in the coda position (i.e. end) of a syllable, it is dropped.

French Haitian Creole English
merci mèsi thank you
recherche rechèch research
noir nwa black

Simplification of consonant clusters[edit | edit source]

French Haitian Creole English
question kesyon question
croix kwa cross n.

Tendency for verbs to end in e[edit | edit source]

There is a tendency for verbs to end in e. This might be because they are derived from the vous form of the present tense, or because the largest group of verb infinitives in French end in /e/.

French Haitian Creole English
mettre (mettez) mete put
vouloir (voulez) vle want
entendre (entendez) tande hear

Tendency for verbs to drop their first syllables[edit | edit source]

There is a tendency for verbs to drop their first syllables.

French Haitian Creole English
entendre tande hear
attendre tann wait
écouter koute listen to

Confusion between close-mid, open-mid and nasal vowels[edit | edit source]

/e/, /ɛ/ and /ɛ̃/ are sometimes substituted for one another. Likewise with /o/, /ɔ/ and /õ/.

French Haitian Creole English
docteur doktè doctor
fermer fèmen close
connaît konnen know

Merger of /a/ and /ɑ/[edit | edit source]

All instances of /ɑ/ in French are pronounced /a/.

French Haitian Creole English
mâcher mache chew
pas pa not