Today we continue the series of articles on short words; if you missed the article on the relationship between Creole and US states that started the series, I suggest you check it out. Remember from the post on the alphabet that there are 4 vowels in Creole: a, e, i, o plus the 3 accented vowels à, è, and ò. If we pair any vowel with virtually any of the consonants, we end up with a valid word. Without boring you with too much detail, the primary reason for such a large number of short words is the phonetic nature of our language where there is no room for silent letters. For example ‘dans’ and ‘dent’ are homonyms in French, the ending s & t are silent, the first translates to ‘in’ while the other means ‘tooth’, but in Creole, whichever we refer to is written ‘dan’, another easy word to remember with identical spelling to Dan, my neighbor’s first name.
Rare, is another great example; the same word is used in both French and English, but in Creole it’s ‘ra’, which is also easy to remember because it’s the first two letters of the word rare. Because we don’t pronounce the second r and the e that follows, we don’t write them either.
Starting with the letter A, we give you the chart below with 13 two-letter words with A as the second letter and 4 more with A as the first letter of the word. Similar to English A by itself is also a word, which, by pure coincidence plays the same role it does in English. It is a synonym of An just like in English; the only two differences are: whereas in English A and And are indefinite articles and they precede the noun in the sentence, in Creole they are indefinite articles and they succeed the noun. Examples: The plan is plan an & the doctor is doktè a.
Two-letter words – A
Ba: kiss / low / socks (sports) / leggings
Ka: can (verb) / case
Ma: rest / residue
Na: We (na is short for nou and is used sparingly)
Sa: this / that
Va: will (future, used sparingly
One way to easily remember those words is to use R2R and associate them with an acronym that you are familiar with; for example PA for Physician’s Assistant or AP for Associated Press.
Here are a couple of example sentences using those words:
Wa a pa ka ba Christina ja a, which means: The king cannot give the treasure to Christina.
Ka wa a ra, which means: The king’s case is rare.
Look forward to reading your comments and/or questions.