Site Meter Learn Kreyol (Haitian Creole): February 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

23. Free mp3 Haitian Creole announcements from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health makes available its public health announcements in downloadable .mp3 files in Haitian Creole.
Transcripts are available in Creole, and an English version is available too. At 200 words, and spoken fairly slowly, these may be useful relatively topical listening for learning Creole related to medical care and public health. Nine episodes listed through January 2010 focused on flu prevention topics, including handwashing, covering coughs, and H1N1 vaccine.

22. Haitian Creole English Dictionary by Targete & Urciolo (free download)

The extensive Haitian Creole-English Dictionary (1993) compiled by Targete & Urciolo is available for free download in .pdf format from the publisher, Dunwoody Press.

The introduction lays out the authors' lexicography challenges in detail and provides a bibliography.

Two interesting features of this dictionary are designed to aid English-speaking learners of Creole/Kreyol: first, nouns are listed with their associated definite article. (Definite articles, meaning approximately "the" in English, follow the noun and take multiple forms depending on the sound pattern at the end of a Kreyol noun.) Second, English cognates are followed by an asterisk (*) to draw the reader's attention to the similar vocabulary item in English and Creole/Kreyol.

Sample sentences are given, both from everyday life usage and from literature published in Creole. A list of source literature is provided.

Friday, February 26, 2010

21. Creole/Kreyol Haitian proverbs (free sites and a book for purchase)

Haitian Creole is rich in proverbs used frequently in everyday speech. There are quite a few Internet sites that provide a list of proverbs translated literally into English, but few that begin to unpack how the proverb is used in real conversation, and the multiple meanings that it can convey. For one set of interpretations of these layers of meaning, readers may want to consult Wally Turnbull's Hidden Meanings: Truth and Secret in Haiti's Creole Proverbs. ISBN: 9780967993768. The book is widely available from online booksellers.

A free internet site in Kreyol/Creole with classification alphabetically and by main verb, with alternate wording and some interpretation of meaning:
This site is from Emmanuel Vedrine, scholar of Haitian Creole.

Free internet sites with lists of proverbs and their translation into English include:
This one is configured into sub-pages that are tricky to navigate. The source of the original proverbs and the translations is not provided.
This site claims a "complete" list of Haitian proverbs, a claim which one should take with a grain of salt. Again, the source of the original proverbs and the translations is not provided.
This wiki list of proverbs is quite long, but again, does not provide author information.

A free site with Kreyol/Creole proverbs listed without translation, organized into thematic categories labeled in French:
This list is part of a larger French-language site called Haiti Référence

This is one of my favorites for learners of Kreyol/Creole who read French, because each proverb's possible interpretation is explained a bit, in addition to the original translation. The author of the work is Talégrand Noël

Thursday, February 18, 2010

20. Two English-Haitian Creole medical dictionaries from Educavision (for purchase)

These two medical dictionaries are handy. They are generally available from online booksellers.

#1: English/Haitian Creole Medical Dictionary (Diksyone Medikal Angle Kreyol), by Maude Heurtelou & Fequiere Vilsant, published in 2000 by Educavision, ISBN 1-58432-072-9
I appreciate the organization of content in this book. Chapters each focus on a medical topic such as "Digestive System," "Cardiology," or "Equipment & Supplies." Synonyms are offered, often providing the student of Creole both a more formal, technical term plus the everyday term for an ailment or a part of the body. Common "collocations" (words that pattern together with high frequency) are also provided. The last two chapters provide a phrase list covering all phrases in the book, first in English alpha order, then in Kreyol alpha order.

#2: Systems of the Body (Sistem ko moun) is also published by Educavision, with no individual author listed. ISBN 1-58432-237-3
The first 83 pages are dedicated to detailed anatomical diagrams, labeled in both Kreyol and English. A long index at the end then lists all the vocabulary in the book without the pictures.  This is basically a bilingual guide to human anatomy terminology.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

19. Listen to Haitian Creole Radio out of Boston (free)

The Boston radio station Radio Soleil International broadcasts Haitian music, advertisements for local businesses (mainly in Brockton, Mass.), public service announcements, news and talk from The music library is terrific. Since ads and public service announcements are all in Kreyol, they provide an opportunity to hear highly repetitive contextualized chunks of the language, with exaggeration typical of commercials, making the words easier to pick out & understand. This is the first post of a few upcoming links to radio stations broadcasting in Kreyol/Haitian Creole on the web.

18. Red Cross provides 17 emergency/disaster preparedness docs in Creole (free)

The Red Cross provides its standard emergency and disaster preparedness advice sheets translated into multiple languages. At date of this post, seventeen were available in Haitian Creole at Some appear quite a bit more relevant for language learners wishing to communicate with Haitian Creole speakers in cold climes in the U.S., for example the one on winter storm readiness. Nonetheless, while the content may not always fit the current earthquake context in Haiti, language learners may still find that all of the documents provide practice as a set in reading, understanding, and rehearsing conversation in Haitian Creole.

17. Kreyol/Creole-English Dictionary (free)

This 147-page dictionary does not provide author information, and I have not had a chance to fully review contents, so proceed with at least a grain of salt. The first ten pages are labeled "a crash course in Kreyol" and give a quick grammar overview plus a topically categorized phrase list. There is no audio associated with this dictionary. The dictionary is available for download in .pdf format.

16. National Library of Medicine offers medical documents in Creole (free)

The U.S. National Library of Medicine, part of NIH, offers a number of medical brochures and other documents in Creole (and links to collections of documents in Creole) for free download under "multilingual resources" at Most of these resources are also available in English, which enables a learner of Creole/Kreyol to pick out key words, to look up a translation when they get stuck reading, etc.

15. Dozens of free health documents in Creole from the Refugee Health Information Network

The Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) offers a collection of numerous documents on health translated into Haitian Creole. Learners of Creole may find it helpful to read these documents out loud, to summarize these documents in Creole, and to imagine what questions in Creole these documents answer. To help parse the Creole, most documents are also available in English, and some in Spanish & French too.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

14. Hesperian offers Kreyol (Haitian Creole) translations of medical brochures and pamphlets (free)

Hesperian Foundation has set up a new site with health brochures translated into Haitian Creole, English, French and Spanish. Hesperian invites submission of additional resources. Beyond being useful for health education, these documents are terrific resources for learners of Kreyol for medical purposes. For example, users could read the documents without looking at the translation and try to guess words from context, then check them in the translation. Or users could highlight words in the English (or French or Spanish) that they wish to know in Kreyol, and then go comb those key phrases from the Kreyol version of the document. More advanced learners could, for example, read segments of the Kreyol documents and then try to summarize them verbally, in Kreyol, or make up questions in Kreyol that the documents would answer.

13. Google Translator offers Haitian Creole (text and sound) (free)

Google's translator now offers English/Kreyol translation, with the added bonus of being able to hear the words/phrases in Kreyol. The voice synthesizer works pretty well, but be cautious, as some key sounds don't come out quite right, such as the "ou" pronoun at the end of a phrase, which is usually reduced to a "w" sound in Kreyol, but can sound more like the vowel "ah" in this dictionary. This dictionary is built off of corpus data from multiple sources, including a large database from Carnegie Mellon University, so at least in its written version, it may be more accurate than dictionaries built more intuitively. It is still a work in progress, and invites user-suggested "better translations" and additional datasets to continue building from.

12. Tradui iPhone app English/Kreyol dictionary (free)

Apple now offers a free iPhone app, Tradui, which means "translate," to translate English/Haitian Creole. There is a version for the Google Android smartphone too. Available at the iPhone App Store and

11. Microsoft Bing translator English/Haitian Creole (free)

Post-January 12 earthquake, Microsoft launched a beta version of its Bing online translator for Haitian Creole. "Thank you so much" results in "mesi anpil." Very appropriate.

10. More books in Kreyol and to learn Kreyol (for purchase)

This bookstore site may look at first pass as if it doesn't offer much, but each category listed with one example book actually links to a long list of books available for purchase. Quite a few are aimed at children--but children's books in Haitian Creole are a fantastic way for grownups to experience and remember vocabulary, the rhythm of the language and common proverbs.

09. Haitian Book Centre Kreyol (Creole) textbooks for purchase

While not exhaustive, there is a pretty good list of Kreyol (Creole) textbooks for speakers of English at Some titles can be found at less expensive prices on other sites, but this is the most comprehensive browsing collection I've found in one place.

08. Phrase list and easy grammar overview (free)

Paul Le Corde provides a high-frequency phrase list and an accessible but comprehensive overview of grammatical structures at

Saturday, February 13, 2010

07. Haitian Creole phrase collections (including medical terminology) (free) is a site that provides two "crash-course" free resources. The first is a list of phrases organized by theme for "short-term" international medical providers in Haiti. The second is an 18-page mini-textbook that consists of phrases, sample sentences, and a little bit of information on grammatical structure. The text ends with 218 sentences to translate from English into Kreyol for practice. The intended audience is short-term missionaries.

06. home-made Kreyol dictionary (free)

There is a word-and-phrase dictionary formatted as a text page for each letter of the alphabet at While the dictionary is not sourced in frequency studies of language corpora, it does appear to be a pretty good intuitive list of high-frequency items. Access is free, but the site has quite a few ads.

05. Pimsleur audio Haitian Creole dialogue learning

Pimsleur offers dialogues that are then broken down and analyzed with repetition of each word and phrase, building up to dialogue practice. The "compact" ten-lesson Haitian Creole set is being offered for free to support relief and reconstruction efforts. However, the "add to cart" download was not working when I tried it on February 13, 2010. Here is the link if you'd like to try:
NEW: See comment offers the same free materials successfully at this link.

04. Haitian Creole "Byki" free flashcard software

Byki is software that, in its free version, provides a "smart" flashcard interface for lists of translation pairs. The user can pick from four steps for any "list" of vocabulary items: (1) see the Haitian Creole phrase and its English translation and play the Creole phrase at normal speed or slowed down, (2) see the Haitian Creole phrase and self-quiz or type the corresponding English phrase, and (3) see the English phrase and do the reverse in Haitian Creole. While the match must be exact, even including capitalization and punctuation, there is a button to click to "accept this answer as correct," which provides the user a little more flexibility. If you are a visual learner, or wish to see words paired with hearing model pronunciation, you might find this interface helpful for vocabulary memorization. One can also upgrade to a paying version, but I haven't tried it. Finally, Byki tries to take advantage of social networking capabilities to get users to share more vocabulary lists and to practice communicating with each other. The following link goes to the set of lists currently available for Haitian Creole: Users can download the software for Mac or Windows via a link on that same page.

03. Voice of America (VOA) Creole Service (free)

Updated May 29, 2010: The VOA Haitian Creole News Service has launched a brand new interface, with easier audio access, RSS feed, and video clips. See what you think!

The Voice of America news service offers multiple audio programs daily in Haitian Creole, including extensive interviews with relief and reconstruction participants on the ground in Haiti. Downloads of the programs of the last seven days in .mp3 format are available on the VOA website, which also streams the most recent program. This is a way to hear many different voices & speaking styles as hosts and interviewees communicate about Haiti right now. Some segments are available separately and are summarized or transcribed in Haitian Creole, so lots of practice reading and visual support for listening are available.

02. Indiana University Creole Institute textbooks for purchase

The Indiana University Creole Institute offers a list of titles of Creole-English dictionaries and instructional texts for purchase, at Some free samples are available, including sample sound files. Texts include the 1988 classic Creole language textbook Ann Pale Kreyol, updated in 2001.

01. K.U. free online Haitian Creole textbooks with audio

KU, The University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, has made available a fantastic array of Haitian Creole language instructional materials for non-commercial use.

There is a medical phrase book that goes beyond body part translations to the conversations that actually take place during patient care.

There is a "survival guide" for true beginners, introducing key features of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, with high-frequency words and phrases. The focus is largely on using language as a visitor to or traveler in Haiti.

There is also a "conversation manual" that consists of humorous dialogues built around the romance that evolves between two students of Haitian Creole. The dialogues are annotated with information about what phrases are commonly used for what purposes conversationally.

Learning Haitian Kreyol

Twenty years ago, most people around me were puzzled as to why an American student of French would study the Creole/Kreyol languages of Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guyana.

On January 12, 2010, after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, our nation opened its eyes, as it periodically does in times of crisis, to our Caribbean neighbor. We have all been reminded how Haiti's history is intricately entwined with that of the United States. And in order to contribute to short-term disaster relief and Haiti's rebuilding its future, many Americans are now trying to learn or become more fluent in Kreyol, the language spoken by all Haitian citizens.

I'm re-learning it, and as I find online resources for doing so, I'll share them here, in the hope that others will find them useful.

(Steven, in response to your comment below--yes! Byki is #4. Please pass on any additional sites you've found useful. :)  Mesi anko--pamela)