Haitian Creole/Verb Tenses
There is no conjugation in Haitian Creole. In the present non-progressive tense, one just uses the basic verb form for stative verbs:
|Mwen pale kreyòl||I speak Haitian Creole|
|mwen manje||I eat|
|ou manje||you eat|
|li manje||he/she eat|
|nou manje||we eat|
|yo manje||they eat|
(Note that manje means both "food" and "to eat" -- m ap manje bon manje means "I am eating good food".).
For other tenses, special "tense marker" words are placed before the verb. The basic ones are:
|te (short form: t)||simple past|
|tap (or t ap)||past progressive||a combination of te and ap.|
|ap||present progressive, near or definite future.||With ap and a, the pronouns nearly always take the short (see below).|
|a||future||some limitations on use|
|pral||near or definite future||translates to "going to"|
|ta||conditional future||a combination of te and a.|
- The short forms are: m for mwen, w for ou, l for li, n for nou, y for yo and k for ki. All of these were covered in Lesson one except for k.
- mwen te manje - "I ate" or "I had eaten"
- ou te manje - "you ate" or "you had eaten"
- li te manje - "he/she ate" or "he/she had eaten"
- nou te manje - "we ate" or "we had eaten"
- yo te manje - "they ate" or "they had eaten"
- mwen t ap manje - "I was eating"
- ou t ap manje - "you were eating"
- li t ap manje - "he/she was eating"
- nou t ap manje - "we were eating"
- yo t ap manje - "they were eating"
- m ap manje - "I am eating"
- w ap manje - "you are eating"
- l ap manje - "he/she is eating"
- n ap manje - "we are eating"
- y ap manje - "they are eating"
Note: For the present progressive ("I am eating now") it is customary, though not necessary, to add "right now":
- M ap manje kounye a - "I am eating right now"
Also, Those examples can mean "will eat" depending on the context of the sentence.
- M'ap manje apres mwen priye - "i will eat after i pray" / Mwen p'ap di sa - "I will not say that"
Near or definite future:
- mwen pral manje - "I am going to eat"
- ou pral manje - "you are going to eat"
- li pral manje - "he/she is going to eat"
- nou pral manje - "we are going to eat"
- yo pral manje - "they are going to eat"
- N a wè pita - "See you later" (lit. "We will see (each other) later)
- Mwen te wè zanmi ou yè - "I saw your friend yesterday"
- Nou te pale lontan - "We spoke for a long time"
- Lè li te gen uit an... - "When he was eight years old..."
- M a travay - "I will work"
- M pral travay - "I'm going to work"
- N a li l demen - "We'll read it tomorrow"
- Nou pral li l demen - "We are going to read it tomorrow"
- Mwen t ap mache e m te wè yon chyen - "I was walking and I saw a dog"
Additional time-related markers:
- fèk - recent past ("just")
- sòt - similar to fèk
They are often used together:
- Mwen fèk sòt antre kay la - "I just entered the house"
A verb mood marker is ta, corresponding to English "would" and equivalent to the French conditional tense:
- Yo ta renmen jwe - "They would like to play"
- Mwen ta vini si mwen te gen yon machin - "I would come if I had a car"
- Li ta bliye w si ou pa t la - "He/she would forget you if you weren't here"
- Lefebvre, Claire. The Tense, Mood And Aspect System of Haitian Creole And The Problem of Transmission of Grammar in Creole Genesis Université du Québec à Montréal
- It explains the theory that Haitian Creole was formed by relexification of the substrate languages; in other words, the earliest speakers adopted the French words, but retaining the grammar of their native languages. It explains the meaning of the tense markers of Haitian Creole to show their similarity to those of the Fon language.