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 cases where two or more letters would make the same sound, one of the letters is eliminated. 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 “CHO”, which sounds like “SHOW” and means HOT or “TCH” as in “MATCH”, which is another word 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.
- 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.