christinaceles  asked:

I was wondering if you know what is the best way to learn creole? I grew up around my non-Haitian side of the family so I was only taught their language and never got around to learning creole.

Hello, many thanks @christinaceles for your question (and my apologies for this very late reply)! 

While this is a bit outside of what we cover at this blog, I still wanted to answer as I am sure it might be somewhat useful for others.

Now, I have little expertise in teaching languages and know nothing about what are the best practices but I often heard that talking to native speakers helps. Judging from your message, this may not be possible for you so the best solution might be to surround yourself, even if just via your computer with Haitian culture. One thing you could do is look for stores online and purchase Haitian movies. Many now have English subtitles (which I am guessing is targeting Haitian-Americans). This could be a good way to not only to become familiar with how the language is spoken but also to witness what Haitians find funny or sad, depending on the genre of the movie. You can find some Haitian movies on Youtube. (I would normally suggest looking into Haitian music but, it is more difficult to find translations.)

Another, more straight-forward way to lean Haitian Creole would be to look into books. I’ve never anticipated this question and I’ve read more on debates surrounding language usage in Haiti than on Haitian Creole per say, so I have few to suggest. Anything by scholars such as Michel DeGraff  and  Robert Berrouët-Oriol (that I mentioned in this post) would be good in my estimation. 

Depending on your region, you might also take advantage of Haitian Creole classes. I am convinced they cannot be too hard to find in places such as New York, Boston or anywhere in Miami. While this last option might be impossible for you, some instructors might be willing to give Skype sessions. This may be a good way to have a steady routine and listen to the language when it is spoken – all this with the help of a professional. 

Learning a new language is always difficult and it takes time. Given the complexity of Creole and how poorly it is often translated in English, I would insist again on trying to make “direct” contact with Haitian culture and if you can, with native speakers. Finally, I would advise emailing any Haitian community centre and explain your situation. Even in the case of a long distance, they might be able to help you.

I hope this answer was clear and if other people comment on this post, I will make sure to reblog their additions.

(Re: Oh, and of course, how about asking the Haitian side of your family for help, if this is possible?)

Best of luck!

Just Updated: The Pearl of the Antilles, Chapter 13 - The Wheel of History

Banner by the amazingly generous and talented @wwrebel1992 .  Peeta and his blue eyes!

now on AO3/ffnet

Summary:   Historical AU set in Saint Domingue (French Territory) in 1790, one year before the Haitian Slave Uprising. Capitaine Peeta Mellark is the incorruptible Captain of the French Army in Le Cap, Saint Domingue. Katniss Everdeen is the daughter of a wealthy French merchant and mulatta mother. After the death of her parents and the dissolution of her father’s estate, Katniss survives by becoming one of the most sought after courtesans in Le Cap. A chance encounter in a Saturday market leads to a passionate affair set against the backdrop of one of the most brutal slave uprisings in recent history. Based on the novel, The Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende.

So many thanks to the incredible @eala-musings@everllarkingnewtina , @thegirlfromoverthepond and @akai-echo for betaing this chapter, not once, but twice. They are lovely and work so hard and I am very grateful for them.

There are now approximately five chapters remaining in this story!

Happy reading!

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.

Linguist Llama gets it.


Michaëlle Jean was the first back GG of Canada from 2005-2010, and the 3rd woman to hold the position. Born in Haiti in 1968, her family immigrated to Canada settling in Montreal.

While studying at University of Montreal, Michaëlle became involved in working with shelters for battered women eventually leading her to help develop a network throughout Quebec and other parts of Canada

After her time as GG, Michaëlle committed herself to working on educational issues and providing aid to the people of Haiti

Additionally, she is fluent in 5 languages including; Haitian Creole, English, French, Italian and Spanish. She can also read Portuguese.