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Old 12-04-2013, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Randolph, MA
508 posts, read 642,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caribny View Post
Don't understand this. You say that Haitians speak French period, but then go on to claim that you can communicate with them using your Eastern Caribbean French Creole.


Well given that it is a long time since French was regularly spoken in St Lucia, and you probably do not speak standard French, that will imply that Creole is a definite dialect which is strong enough to survive even when French is replaced by English as the official language.

It is clear that your creole hasn't been transformed by the fact that it is over 200 years since French was the official language on your island. That becomes interesting in that your French creole doesn't need an ongoing connection to French to sustain it.

I just want to point out that the modern day Creole that is taught in Haiti is different from the Creole taught in past generations. My parents didn't go back for 16 years (we visited when I was young) and my little cousins and me were pretty much speaking the same language but with different sentence structure and pronounciations for certain words. I spoke French Creole and they spoke Haitian Creole allegedly. Creole borrows heavily from English and Spanish as well. Not enough to change the French base of the language but enough for it NOT to be actual or close to French. I can read French but don't ask me to speak it. But I also can't speak Haitian slang; which is used by the Haitian population in Haiti but not by the Diaspora around the world. Just to add on to my point this may be OT but most of the fluent French speakers of yesteryear have moved(Brain Drain) to Quebec and France***. Quite a number of Haitians don't go to school and do not know French very well. They know it exists and that the elites use it but it's not their language. I believe one scholar called it a "Living Language".

***Most Haiti-born Americans speak French as well***
*The diaspora overall does not well represent the reality in Haiti*
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:37 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caribny View Post
Don't understand this. You say that Haitians speak French period, but then go on to claim that you can communicate with them using your Eastern Caribbean French Creole.


Well given that it is a long time since French was regularly spoken in St Lucia, and you probably do not speak standard French, that will imply that Creole is a definite dialect which is strong enough to survive even when French is replaced by English as the official language.

It is clear that your creole hasn't been transformed by the fact that it is over 200 years since French was the official language on your island. That becomes interesting in that your French creole doesn't need an ongoing connection to French to sustain it.
I speak standard English (mother tongue), Kweyol (mother tongue) and a high level of standard French (learnt at school). What I mean is I can choose to communicate with them in any of these languages (sometimes English which they learn at school). St. Lucians are often bilingual in their friendly conversations, so for me it is easy to slip between French and Kweyol when speaking with Haitians or people from the French islands. If both you and your friend were fluent in Spanish and English, wouldn't you talk to them in both languages?

Kweyol is a language with its own structures. If it is a dialect, what is it a dialect of? Surely not of French or of the African languages where its structure comes from. Around the Caribbean Kweyol does not vary much. I can read or hear Hatian creole and understand it almost completely and I've never been to Haiti. As you may know, St. Lucia actually changed hands between England and France many, many times (over 20). In contrast, we do not have an English Creole we just have some slang and our everyday English is not that far at all from standard English.

The point is that Haitians speak French and Kweyol equally like people in Martinique, Guadeloupe and like St. Lucians who speak English and Kweyol. You will always find people who are better at one language or who use both equally.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:23 PM
 
7,437 posts, read 5,936,205 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-anne View Post
I
The point is that Haitians speak French and Kweyol equally like people in Martinique, Guadeloupe and like St. Lucians who speak English and Kweyol. You will always find people who are better at one language or who use both equally.

I agree with every thing that you say. My point is that, while St Lucia was a French colony at various times, it hasn't had direct connections to France for more than 200 years. It was a British colony and yet your vernacular is based on French and not English creole.

So in the face of the dominance of English in St Lucia for a long time, as it is the language of education, business and government, your kweyol has remained intact. Ditto for Dominica. This goes to show, that unlike the English dialects, kweyol can exist long after its "master" language has all but disappeared.

In fact even in Trinidad and Grenada, where kweyol survives only in small pockets, their English vernacular is tied very much to kweyol in terms of their accent and grammatical structure.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:56 AM
 
821 posts, read 698,525 times
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Most Haitian people understand and speak French but French people can't understand creole.
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:04 AM
 
535 posts, read 713,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradlover View Post
Can say the average Haitian peasant in the countryside understand you if you were to start talking to them in pure European French instead of the Creole that they speak?

I want to know to what extent French is understood there.
As a French speaker, I recently went down there and found myself floundering. At the time I spoke and understood very little Haitian Creole. Initially you won't understand a thing that they are saying, but they will understand you. Now it depends on what you want to do. If you are going to see tourist destinations you will be fine. Everyone speaks French, Spanish and sometimes English. But if you are just trying to hang out with the locals.. Creole. But for the most part they will understand.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:08 AM
 
695 posts, read 737,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listennow32 View Post
As a French speaker, I recently went down there and found myself floundering. At the time I spoke and understood very little Haitian Creole. Initially you won't understand a thing that they are saying, but they will understand you. Now it depends on what you want to do. If you are going to see tourist destinations you will be fine. Everyone speaks French, Spanish and sometimes English. But if you are just trying to hang out with the locals.. Creole. But for the most part they will understand.
This is true.

I'd say out of the entire Haitian population, probably 70% cannot speak French at all, though they may understand it to varying degrees. Of the remaining percentage, most aren't fluent but reasonably competent in French, analogous to other former French colonies in Africa. Maybe 10-15% of Haitians are truly fluent in French.

At the same time, créole itself has many different dialects within Haiti that vary based on socioeconomic status and region, some of which are closer to standard French than others.
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