Haiti Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

The two official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole.


  • principal written and administratively authorized language
  • spoken by 42% of Haitians
  • spoken by all educated Haitians
  • the medium of instruction in most schools
  • used in the business sector
  • used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church Masses

Haitian Creole

  • recently undergone a standardization
  • spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti
  • one of the French-based creole languages
  • Its vocabulary is 90% derived from French, but its grammar resembles that of some West African languages
  • has influences from Taino, Spanish, and Portuguese
  • related to the other French creoles, but most closely to the Antillean Creole and Louisiana Creole variants [1]

Difference between Haitian Creole and French

  • Haitian Creole and French have similar pronunciations and share many lexical items
  • over 90% of the Haitian Creole vocabulary is of French origin
  • many cognate terms actually have different meanings
  • the grammars of Haitian Creole and French are very different (in Haitian Creole, verbs are not conjugated as they are in French)
  • both Haitian Creole and French have also experienced semantic change; words that had a single meaning in the 17th century have changed or have been replaced in both languages [2]

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Language Aids


  • Féquière Vilsaint & Jean-Evens Berret, English Haitian Creole dictionary, Coconut Creek, FL : Educa Vision, 2005 - Available at WorldCat
  • Charmant Theodore, Haitian Creole dictionary & phrasebook, New York Hippocrene Books 2009 - Available at WorldCat
  • Jean Targète & Raphael G Urciolo, Haitian Creole-English dictionary, Kensington, Md. : Dunwoody Press, 1993 - Available at WorldCat
  • Evelyn Goldsmith, Amanda Earl, Lyn Mitchell & Adriana Capadose, French dictionary, Bromley : Harrap, 1990 - Available at WorldCat
  • Pierre-Henri Cousin, Collins French dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers, Boston, Mass. : Credo Reference 2012 - Available at WorldCat

Online Dictionaries

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

  • Cécile Accilien & Jowel C Laguerre, Haitian Creole phrasebook, New York : McGraw-Hill, 2011 - Available at WorldCat
  • Albert Valdman, Haitian Creole : structure, variation, status, origin, Sheffield, UK : Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2015 - Available at WorldCat

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Haiti," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti#Languages#Languages, accessed 3 Apr 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Haitian Creole," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Creole#Difference_between_Haitian_Creole_and_French, accessed 3 Apr 2021.