The Creole Language of Dominica

A look at the Creole language of Dominica.

Although English is the official language of Dominica, the much of the population also speak kwéyòl (Creole) - a French-based patois (although in the north-east villages of Marigot and Wesley you might also hear a pidgin English called 'cocoy').

Carib Crafts

In this page we would like to give you the basics of the the kwéyòl language.
This content provided by "Dominica's Diksyonnè Kwéyòl -Annglé, English-Creole Dictionary" by Marcel Fontaine, 1991.


Grammar

Pronouns

The personal pronouns in creole are as follows:

imwen/ mon
you(singular)ou
he/she/iti
wenous
you(plural)

Possessive pronouns are the same as personal pronouns except he/she/it follow the noun (e.g. liv mwen).

The possessive pronoun for he/she/it is 'li' and is contracted form is ' y' which follows nouns ending in a vowel (e.g. liv li, lavi'y).

In the case of 'ou' (you) the possessive pronoun is contracted when it follows a noun ending in a vowel (e.g. manman'w).



Gender

In Creole there are two genders, male and female, which may be applied to nouns when denoting sex.

The distinciton of sex may be shown by:

  • Different words:

    konpè/makoumè godfather/godmother
    kòk/poul cock/hen
    fwè/sèsè brother/sister
    mawi/madam husband/wife

  • By use of compound words:

    mal kabwit/fimel kabwit he goat/she goat

    Note: When showing a female has had young, manman is used instead of fimèl, especially when the feminine has no clear form:

    yon manman chyen a bitch
    yon manman bèf a mother cow

  • Gender may also be shown by derivation:

    kouzen/kouzin male cousin/female cousin
    nèg/nègwès negro/negress



Articles

Creole has a definite article 'la' with a contracted form 'a'. The contracted form is used with nouns ending in a vowel. The definite article, which is translated as the English 'the' and hyphenated, follows the noun e.g.

  • I ka lavé zasyèt-la.  He is washing the plate.
    Zanfan-a ka dòmi.  The child is sleeping.

However, the English definite article 'the' is not always translated by Creole 'la' e.g.

  • Sòlèy kouché.   The sun has set.

The indefinite article in Creole, 'yon' (which also means 'one') or 'on' precedes the noun and is translated as the Englsh 'a' or 'an'. E.g.

  • I ni on layvyè pwé kay-la.   There is a river close to the house.



Simple sentences in creole

Now for the useful stuff!


Sa ki non'w? What is your name?
Non mwen sé Paul. My name is Paul.
Bon jou, Misyé. Good day, Sir.
Bonn apwé midi. Good afternoon
Bon swé. Good night.
Ki sa ou vlé? What do you want?
Mon vlé yon bwè I want a drink.
Mon swèf. I am thirsty.
Mon fen. I am hungry.
Mon pa fen. I am not hungry.
Jodi sé yon bèl jou. Today is a beautiful day.
Lapli ka tonbé. It is raining.
I byen cho jòdi. It is very hot today.
Wela mon sa tapé Where can I find a church?
yon léglize?


Days of the Week

dimanchSunday
lendiMonday
madiTuesday
mèkwédiWednessday
jèdiThursday
vanwédiFriday
sanmdiSaturday


Months of the Year

JanvyéJanuary
FevwiyéFebruary
masMarch
avwiApril
May
jenJune
jwiyéJuly
awouAugust
sèptanmSeptember
òktòbOctober
novanmNovember
désanmDecember




Numbers

nòt0
yonn1
2
twa3
kat4
senk5
sis6
sèt7
wit8
nèf9
dis10
wonz11
douz12
twèz13
katoz14
tjenz15
sez16
disèt17
sizwit18
diznèf19
ven20
twant30
kawant40
senkant50
swazant60
swazant dis70
katwaven80
katwaven dis90
san100




Colours

woujred
green
wozpink
bléblue
kakobrown
gwigrey
nwèblack
owanjorange
jònyellow
vyòletpurple
blanwhite



 


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