The Creole Alphabet – No Q – No X

The Creole Alphabet is very similar to the English with  three notable differences.  Before we get to the differences, it’s important to first point out that Creole is purely phonetic; there is no silent letter and every letter makes a unique sound. In those cases where two or more letters would make the same sound, one of the letters is eliminated from the alphabet. Such is the case of “K and Q”; “K” makes the most natural [k] sound; the letter “Q” becomes redundant and is not required. I know you must be wondering if “C” would then suffer a similar fate since it also makes the “K” [k] sound when followed by a hard vowel as in “CAR” and the “S” [s] sound when followed by a soft vowel as in “CIRCLE”;  “C” makes the cut because it plays another role.  It is always followed by “H” to make the “SH” [ʃ] sound as in “SHOW” or “TCH” as in “MATCH”, which is another one of those words with identical spelling in both languages. There are a few other letters that behave differently than English; which leads us to the three main differences.

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  • There are 3 letters that are always paired with one or two other letters: C, H, & U never walk alone; they are always seen as follows CH, TCH, OU, UI.
  • There are 2 letters in English that do not exist in Creole: Q & X.  Q makes no unique sound; X makes 2 distinct sounds GZ & KS, which are the combinations that are used in its place depending on the letter that follows.  Pronounce the following words slowly and you’ll detect those combinations: Exam, Egzamen in Creole;  Exist, Egziste in Creole; Excited, Eksite in Creole.
  • There are 3 accented letters: à, è, & ò pronounced [a], [ɛ], & [ɔ] respectively.  Example: MÀN, pronounced just like MANNA, means manna, SÈT, pronounced just like SET is the number SEVEN and NÒT whose pronunciation is very close to NOT means NOTE.

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