Haitian Creole/Alphabet

This is currently the standard orthography of Haitian Creole. Keep in mind that other orthographies can be used. It is very phonetic.

Alfabè kreyòl la edit

The Creole alphabet (Alfabè kreyòl la)
Letter Name Sound in IPA Notes
a /a/. A very simple vowel. The same the vowel in the French word la. Somewhere between the a's in the words father and bat. The letter à occurs only in the combination àn, to distinguish the sounds /an/ from the sound /ã/ that is represented with the digraph an.
an /ã/. Like the vowel above, but breathed through the nose. The same as the vowel in sans in French.
b /b/. Same as English.
ch /ʃ/. As in chef, or ship. The letter c is not used on its own.
d /d/. Same as English.
e /e/. Like é in French. Pronounced like hay in English, but shorter and not diphthongized.
en /ɛ˜/. Like è below, but breathed through the nose. Like the vowel in the French word sain. Do not pronounce this sound like an, above.
è /ɛ/. The same as the vowel in bed. Very similar to e, above.
f /f/. The same as English.
g /g/. The same as English. Pronounced the same way before every vowel, unlike in English or French.
i /i/. Like the vowel in the word need.
j /ʒ/. The same as the sound of the letter s in the word measure.
k /k/. The same as English.
l /l/. The same as English.
m /m/. The same as English.
n /n/. The same as English.
  • May indicate nasalization in the digraphs an, en and on. When between two vowels, it does not usually indicate nasalization, regardless of what the two vowels are.
  • The combination ng is like English.
o /o/. Like the vowel in home, but shorter and less diphthongized.
on /õ/. Like the vowel o above, but breathed through the nose. Like in the French word son.
ou /u/. Like oo as in fool.
ò /ɔ/. Like the vowel in the word fun, but with rounded lips. Same as the vowel in the French word or.
p /p/. Same as English.
r /ɰ/. Similar to English. Not trilled. This sound does not occur before any vowel written with o, that is to say, o, on, ou, ò. It doesn't occur at the end of a syllable either.
s /s/. Same as English. Never /z/.
t /t/. Same as English.
ui /ɥi/. Same as in the French word suis. Some people pronounce and write this as wi.
v /v/. Same as English.
w /w/. Same as English.
y /j/. Same as in the word yes. This is a consonant. This sound can occur at the end of a syllable. Hence, the combination ay is pronounced sort of like the word I in English.
z /z/. Same as English.

In Haitian Creole, the stress goes at the end of a word. This is a phonetic difference, not a phonemic one.

You will notice that there is no need for the letters c, q and x in Haitian Creole. The letter h is very rarely used. The letter u occurs only in ou and ui. Spelling is very phonetic but one must use the official orthography. Lots of Haitians and foreigners out of ignorance or often times on purpose, keep on misspelling the language. This is very unfortunate for Haitian Creole is a very beautiful language with a fine orthographic system.

Extra Practice
A worksheet covering this material is available at Wikiversity.

Orthographies edit

There is only one official orthography published by the government of Haiti in 1979 to 1980. Everyone must use the official version. There are several different non-official orthographies of the Haitian Creole language use by people who do not know the official one. The one presented here is the official and therefore most commonly used. There are some people, however, that don't like it, commonly because it is not as similar to French as some of the others. But of course they are mistaken for this official system is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). It is very modern and efficient orthographic system.