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Old 03-05-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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I would say that they could probably understand you more than you can understand them. The average person in Haiti, even though they may not speak French and really speak only Creole, has been exposed to French in movies, TV, music, and in a host of other ways.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Near Tours, France about 47°10'N 0°25'E
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I don't know, I've never been in Haiti, nor knowing any haitian. But I tend to think that is probably depends of their level of education. If they have been at school they would probably speak and understand fluently standard french since it is offcial lanaguage. If we are speaking of peasants in remote rural areas it would probably be another story/
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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French

They have glorified ignorance, now they call "Haitian Creole" to Haitian patois. Haitian Creole is official.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:05 PM
 
Location: American Expat
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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.
They don't speak Creole, they speak French-based creole. There are other creole languages. I guess it's somewhat similar to German/Dutch and Italian/Spanish. It's not the same, but a lot of similarities. A Dutch or German probably can understand some German/Dutch. Dosen't mean everybody will or most people even will understand a lot. Probably a couple of words here and there.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Canada
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It would depend on familiarity. I would compare this, for English speakers, to the difference between backwoods Jamaican and Belizean dialects of English and more familiar dialects of English. If you've ever watched films from Jamaica, like "The Harder They Come", or are familiar with more than the watered down accent, you'll see that it can be difficult to get a handle on if two Jamaicans are speaking to each other, especially if you've never been exposed to this dialect before. Likewise, when two Haitians speak Creole to each other, I can understand certain individual words but often find it hard to follow the meaning of what they're saying (I'm a bilingual Anglophone born and raised in Quebec). But when a Jamaican or Haitian who`s lived in Canada awhile speaks to me, the languages are similar enough that they can switch to a more formal register and then, while the accents can be thick, I understand them. So it depends on how familiar the speakers are with each other's dialects, they'll usually use words that they share in common or adopt aspects of the other's dialect so that things go smoother. Should be noted that Creole is a bit more distant than Jamaican English and NA English. If a Haitian who'd never heard French and a Frenchman who'd never heard Creole were put in a room together, they could probably communicate in a primitive way, but they would have trouble carrying on a conversation. The languages are similar enough, though, that they could learn each other's tongues very quickly. It think it's fair to say Creole's a different language, but it's quite related, maybe like Czech and Slovak or Norwegian and Danish.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:05 PM
 
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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.
Most Haitians speak and understand French. French is the first official language of Haiti. In schools and education, French is the main language of instruction. So most Haitians speak French. Haitian French Creole has become a national symbol and source of pride of Haitian identity so most Haitians speak the Haitian French Creole dialect. But if you speak to a Haitian in French, they most of the time know how to speak actual French.
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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I can't believe the posters on this forum. Haitians speak French. period. It's one of their official languages. I have several Haitian friends who I speak to in French and in Kweyol (French-based creole). I am from St. Lucia so I speak a creole that is very similar to theirs and to that in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, the Seychelles... (google it).

Oh by the way, Kweyol does not prevent me from speaking standard English, the official language of my country.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:08 PM
 
7,437 posts, read 5,925,572 times
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
It would depend on familiarity. I would compare this, for English speakers, to the difference between backwoods Jamaican and Belizean dialects of English and more familiar dialects of English. If you've ever watched films from Jamaica, like "The Harder They Come", or are familiar with more than the watered down accent, you'll see that it can be difficult to get a handle on if two Jamaicans are speaking to each other, especially if you've never been exposed to this dialect before. Likewise, when two Haitians speak Creole to each other, I can understand certain individual words but often find it hard to follow the meaning of what they're saying (I'm a bilingual Anglophone born and raised in Quebec). But when a Jamaican or Haitian who`s lived in Canada awhile speaks to me, the languages are similar enough that they can switch to a more formal register and then, while the accents can be thick, I understand them. So it depends on how familiar the speakers are with each other's dialects, they'll usually use words that they share in common or adopt aspects of the other's dialect so that things go smoother. Should be noted that Creole is a bit more distant than Jamaican English and NA English. If a Haitian who'd never heard French and a Frenchman who'd never heard Creole were put in a room together, they could probably communicate in a primitive way, but they would have trouble carrying on a conversation. The languages are similar enough, though, that they could learn each other's tongues very quickly. It think it's fair to say Creole's a different language, but it's quite related, maybe like Czech and Slovak or Norwegian and Danish.

Some linguists have said that the English based creoles exist in a continuum between standard English, a mid level (mesolect) which will be creoles that a non Caribbean person might understand, though find unusual. Then there is the basilect which is most distant from the standard and usually not understood at all by outsiders. The most basilectal of these dialects beind found among older people in the most rural areas.

Some claim that one is either speaking French or Creole, two very distinct linguistic systems though the creole draws its words from French, even if highly transformed. Will not argue on this as I know little abut either language.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:13 PM
 
7,437 posts, read 5,925,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-anne View Post
I can't believe the posters on this forum. Haitians speak French. period. It's one of their official languages. I have several Haitian friends who I speak to in French and in Kweyol (French-based creole). I am from St. Lucia so I speak a creole that is very similar to theirs and to that in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, the Seychelles... (google it).

Oh by the way, Kweyol does not prevent me from speaking standard English, the official language of my country.

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.
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