Diri ak djon djon (Haitian Creole) for rice with mushrooms, is a native dish of Haiti. It is essentially a meal consisting of rice and edible black mushrooms called “djon djon”. The meal is more common in the northern region of the country and therefore can be considered a regional delicacy. When the mushrooms are boiled, they release a grayish-black coloring giving the rice its gray color and the dish’s distinctive flavor. The dish is often served with some sort of meat whether it be fish, chicken or shrimp (usually mixed in the rice).
Although we do not often touch upon economic history of Haiti, it is an important aspect of Haitian history that should be included for a more holistic perspective. Fritz Jean, an economist currently in Haitian news, gives a fascinating talk on Haiti’s economy, agriculture and underdevelopment . The video is in Creole, but there are English subtitles.
Justin Lhérisson (1873-1907) was a Haitian historian, lawyer, teacher and writer, Lhérisson is most notably remembered for authoring the Haitian national anthem, La Dessalinienne (1903). In his short life (37 years), he also wrote many literary works, including La famille des Pitite-Caille (1905) and Zoune chez sa ninnaine: fan’m gain sept sauts pou li passé (1906) (the latter being a very courageous move, as writing in Haitian Creole was frown upon by most intellectuals of the day). He also founded the literary magazine Jeune Haiti. (Source)
Hey guys! Idk if this has already been posted but the UCLA Language Materials Project is a really useful website with a large list of resources for some really uncommon languages with few resources, like Haitian Creole and Albanian (there are A LOT more too, haha I just kind of randomly picked those two). You guys should check it out!
Haitian Creole is a language spoken in Haiti by about twelve million people, which includes all Haitians in Haiti and via emigration, by about two to three million speakers residing in the Bahamas, Cuba, Canada, France, Cayman Islands, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Belize, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and the United States.
Haitian Creole is one of Haiti’s two official languages, along with French. It is a creole based largely on 18th to 21st-century French, some African languages, as well as Arabic, Spanish, Taíno, Arawak and English.
The two official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole. All Haitians speak Haitian Creole, while only about 10% of the population can be considered bilingual in French and Haitian Creole. More than half of this 10% is less than fluent in French. About 90% of the population speaks Haitian Creole only.
Traditionally, the two languages served different functions, with Haitian Creole the informal everyday language of all the people, regardless of social class, and French the language of formal situations: schools, newspapers, the law and the courts, and official documents and decrees. However, because the vast majority of Haitians speak only Creole, there have been efforts in recent years to expand its uses. In 1979, a law was passed that permitted Creole to be the language of instruction, and the Constitution of 1983 gave Creole the status of a national language. However, it was only in 1987 that the Constitution granted official status to Creole.
Attitudes toward French and Haitian Creole have been slow to change, however. Ever since colonial times, fluency in French has served as an indicator of social class. Since only whites and educated mulatto freedmen spoke French in colonial times, knowledge of French became the distinguishing trait between those who had been free before the Revolution and those who had only recently acquired freedom; and it ensured the superior status of the mulattos.
Although Haitians of all classes take pride in their native language as a means of expression, many have built a mystique around French and perpetuated the myth of Haitian Creole as a nonlanguage which has no rules. Thus it is not surprising that almost all Haitian refugees will claim to be able to speak French (even if they don’t). In addition, there is still great controversy in Haiti over using Haitian Creole (and teaching Haitian Creole literacy) in schools; the U.S. counterpart of this controversy is evident in the stance of some Haitians against bilingual Haitian Creole programs in their local schools.
Linguists do not agree on the origins of the various creole languages found around the world, and this is certainly the case with Haitian Creole. Some believe that it emerged from a Romance-based pidgin (Afro-Portuguese), used by sailors, slaves, and slave traders who came in contact with the nonstandard, 17th century French of the first settlers. Others believe that Haitian Creole is a derivative of a pidgin spoken by Portuguese and French sailors in the 15th and 16th centuries, and that its history predates the settlement of Haiti. Others say it developed from contact with French slave masters, along with some Spanish, Italian, and English masters with the languages of enslaved Africans. The Spanish influence can be heard in the vocabulary, words, and some phonetic speeches.
In any case, it is important to remember that French and Haitian Creole are two distinct languages, and not varieties of the same language. Haitian Creole grammar (or syntax) has strong characteristics of African languages, while its vocabulary is mostly of French origin, with contributions from Spanish, African languages, and, much later, English. Check out this dictionary of kreyol words.
The first text written in Haitian Creole contains about ten lines and appeared in the book Voyage d’un Suisse dans différentes colonies d’Amérique published in 1786 by Justin Girod de Chantrans, a Swiss traveler who had lived in St.Domingue between May 1782 and July 1783. Here is that brief text as it appeared in de Chantrans’s book. It is a letter written by a young female Negro to her lover in order to apologize for the infidelity she was accused of:
Moi étais à la case à moi; moi étais après préparer cassave à moi; Zéphir venir trouver moi, li dit que li aimer moi, et qu’il voulait que moi aimer li tout. Moi répondre li que moi déjà aimer mon autre et que moi pas capable d’aimer deux. Li dit moi, que li mériter mieux amour à moi que matelot à li. Moi répondre li, que li capable de mériter li mieux, mais que li pas te gagner li encore. Li dit moi que li va gagner li, et tout de suite li faire moi violence… Ah, toi connais comment li fort! Juger si gagner faute à moi! Le ciel témoin, cher dombo, de l’innocence et de fidélité à moi!”.
I was in my hut, preparing some cassava; Zéphir came to see me , and told me that he loved me , and would like me to love him too. I told him that I already had a lover and that I was not able to have two . He told me that he deserved my love better than his rival. I told him that he could but that he did not have it yet. He told me that he would have it, and suddenly he assaulted me. … You know how strong he is! It’s up to you to decide if I am to blame! God knows, my dear, that I am innocent and faithful to you!
I should maybe stop analyzing other people speaking. (Nahhhh)
Due to my nerdy enthusiasm for linguistics, I am constantly analyzing the way other people are speaking. As much as I try to keep it to myself, I often end up going on little rants explaining to people just how interesting their recent utterance was. Much to the chagrin of my fellow asshole MPs. Sorry, I can’t help it.
Case in point: My current Advanced Oral French prof continues to make many odd little switches in her consonants. Now, I could go on for days about exactly what type of shift is occurring but that would be silly and pointless. Point is I just want to know WHERE she is from that would result in these ridiculous variants! Ultimately, it’s perking my interest and I am wondering if it would be far too awkward of me to fully ask her about it.
It is particularly difficult considering we spend the majority of class in discussion, working on our pronunciation and spontaneous oral skills. A specific example would be her switching of /b/ for /v/ in intervocalic environments (between vowels). So, instead of saying “mobile” she will say “movile”. It’s awkward. But even stranger - is changing her /Ʒ/ to /z/ regardless of placement. So, instead of saying “ajoute” she will say “azoute”. WHAT IS THIS BUSINESS?! I am assuming this is how a region of France speaks and I am just blissfully unaware as I am only truly familiar with quebecois and standard french. Other than that, my phonetic knowledge of other french dialects comes mostly from books and only some snippets of actual speech (pro tip: look into Haitian Creole when you get a chance, it is flipping awesome). Thus, I am curious.
Unfortunately, I have far too much school work to be doing to properly look into this but I definitely will this weekend. And there will be joy.