Haitian Creole language

Haitian Creole language
Haitian Creole (kreyòl ayisyen, ; créole haïtien, ), commonly referred to as simply Creole, or Kreyòl in the Creole language, is a French-based creole language spoken by 10–12million people worldwide, and is one of the two official languages of Haiti (the other being French), where it is the native language of a majority of the population.

The language emerged from contact between French settlers and enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Although its vocabulary largely derives from 18th-century French, its grammar is that of a West African Volta-Congo language branch, particularly the Fongbe language and Igbo language. It also has influences from Spanish, English, Portuguese, Taino, and other West African languages. It is not mutually intelligible with standard French, and has its own distinctive grammar. Haitians are the largest community in the world speaking a modern creole language, according to some sources. However, this is disputable, as Nigerian Pidgin, an English-based Creole language, is attested by some sources to have a larger number of speakers than that of Haitian Creole and other French-based Creole languages, particularly if non-native speakers are included.

The usage of, and education in, Haitian Creole has been contentious since at least the 19thcentury. Some Haitians view French as a legacy of colonialism, while Creole has been maligned by francophones as a miseducated person's French. Until the late 20thcentury, Haitian presidents spoke only standard French to their fellow citizens, and until the 21st century, all instruction at Haitian elementary schools was in modern standard French, a second language to most of their students.

Haitian Creole is also spoken in regions that have received migration from Haiti, including other Caribbean islands, French Guiana, France, Canada (particularly Quebec) and the United States. It is related to Antillean Creole, spoken in the Lesser Antilles, and to other French-based creole languages.

The word creole comes from the Portuguese term crioulo, which means "a person raised in one's house", from the Latin creare, which means "to create, make, bring forth, produce, beget". In the New World, the term originally referred to Europeans born and raised in overseas colonies (as opposed to the European-born peninsulares). To be "as rich as a Creole" at one time was a popular saying boasted in Paris during the colonial years of Saint-Domingue, for being the most lucrative colony in the world. The noun Creole eventually came to denote mixed-race Creole peoples and their mixed Creole languages.

  • Haiti
    Haiti (French: Haïti ; Ayiti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti; Repiblik d Ayiti), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small Navassa Island, which is claimed by Haiti but is disputed as a United States territory under federal administration. Haiti is 27750 km2 in size, the third largest country in the Caribbean by area, and has an estimated population of 11.4 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean. The capital is Port-au-Prince.

    The island was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, who originated in South America. The first Europeans arrived on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, who initially believed he had found India or China. Columbus subsequently founded the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad, on what is now the northeastern coast of Haiti. The island was claimed by Spain and named La Española, forming part of the Spanish Empire until the early 17th century. However, competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France in 1697, which was subsequently named Saint-Domingue. French colonists established lucrative sugarcane plantations, worked by vast numbers of slaves brought from Africa, which made the colony one of the richest in the world.