User:Robbiemuffin/Kreyol/Chapter 1/Orthography

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Kreyòl was predominantly an oral tradition long before there were any official recognition of the language as a whole, or a common writing system. This shows through in the orthography of the language, from the presentation of the alphabet to the more-or-less literal representation of sounds by their letters. Kreyòl is a fairly new language, and that along with its strong tendency to be "written as it sounds", leads to a fairly fluid language: ie, the spelling of words can be suggestive of the authors accent and may not lead to a match in a dictionary for what is really a common word.

Graphemes[edit]

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w y z

Kreyol uses a set of latin characters to write its letters. It is important to note that the graphemes are not the alphabet of the language: there is a large number of digraphs and some of the graphemes only occur in digraphs (for example, h is never capitalized, as it only occurs in the letter Ch).

Diacritics[edit]

Grave accent[edit]

The grave accent is not really a diacritic, as it differentiates completely different vowels (e and è, for example). It is included for completeness.

Acute accent[edit]

The acute accent --probably denotes syllabic stress.

Double dot[edit]

The diaeresis (trema)

Circumflex[edit]

The circumflex is used to show a long vowel.

Punctuation[edit]

Apostrophe[edit]

Apostrophes are used between a verb and a pronoun in its short form (as a direct object): l'ale, l'gen (he/she has), but not after l in yo wè l (they saw him/her).

Hyphen[edit]

Hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity with nouns seperated from their determiners. bagay-la (the thing), is fine but unnecessary, while poul-nan kakaye (the hen is crowing) is better than poul nan kakaye (the hens in the process of crowing).

Alphabet[edit]

Each letter in the alphabet tends to have a one-to-one corrospondence with its sound. Like some other langauges (eg, Hindi), the alphabet is not presented as a single line of symbols for memorization, but rather it is divided analyitcally into consonants, vowels, semivowels (vowel-consonants), and nasal vowels.

Consonants[edit]

The pure consonants (Konsòn) and semivowels (Vwayèl-konsòn) taken as a whole are treated together as consonants.

Konsòn yo
b ch d f g j k l m n ng p r s t v z
[b] [ʃ] [d] [f] [g] [ʒ] [k] [l] [m] [n] [ŋ] [p] [ʁ] [s] [t] [v] [z]
 
ui w y
[ɥi] [w] [j]

Vowels[edit]

The pure vowels (Vwayèl bouch) and nasal vowels (Vwayèl bouch-nen) are taken together as the vowels.

Vwayèl yo
a e è i o ò ou
[a] [e] [ɛ] [i] [o] [ɔ] [u]
 
an en on oun
[ɐ̃] [ɛ̃] [ɔ̃] [un]

- despite the fact that /un/ combines two sounds, it is counted as a single letter. There is some support for considering oun as a nasal U (close back rounded vowel) sound, /ũ/, but this appears to be a minority view.


Prep work