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Memorizing Kreyòl words, as easy as 123

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Most people teaching you Creole usually start you off with Sa k pase? N ap boule, meaning: How are you? I am doing great. That’s cool, but there is no logical progression from there. You are pretty much stuck with learning random words and expressions and you quickly lose interest. The reason being that up to now, no one has taught of using English to teach Kreyòl. I stumbled upon that possibility of using one language to teach another while doing research about Kreyòl that has become a passion of mine. I found out that there is a very large number of words that are written the same way in the two languages. This is not me tweaking the Kreyòl spelling to make it match English; all the words used in this book are correctly spelled in their respective language as they should be. The similarity in spelling in the two languages is real; due to that similarity, you truly already know most of the Kreyòl words used in this article. You only need to learn to pronounce them differently than you do in English. The blog post on phonetics covers that. And you also need to be able to remember their meaning; that is covered below.

As someone who is fluent in four different languages and knows a few words in at least twenty others, for years, I have used a technique that has served me right and I am about to share it for the first time. It’s an awesome tip that will be beneficial, not just for Kreyòl but also if you choose to learn any other languages. I call this technique R2R, which stands for Relate to Remember. The logic is if you can relate to something you can easily remember it. Here is how it works; whenever I am taught a new word in a foreign language, I relate what I hear to something or a word or expression in Kreyòl that reminds me of what I hear from the person teaching me. Since you are reading this, and you are not actually hearing me speech, you want to check out my post on phonetics and also download my Quick Start Guide bookmark to learn the Kreyòl, which is also very similar to English. Let me illustrate with a couple of examples.


Al is the abbreviated form of Ale, which means to go. Well, what do you know, Al is a male first name and Ale is a type of beer. Using the R2R technique, the relationship I would create in my mind to remember how to say to go is simply to think of somebody named Al and to think of that particular type of beer. I could even take it one step further and create the following relationship: “Whenever I drink Ale, don’t let me go anywhere”

Let’s take a look at dan, which means tooth or teeth. Again, I would think of a man named Dan that I know or have read about to remember the meaning. And if, by luck, the Dan I know has something particular about his teeth, then I am golden.

A third example is pile, which means to step on. My relationship there is to make a mental note of not wanting to step on a pile of something. That is my favorite example of all because the two words are so close to each other in the sentence.

Let’s do one more example: The word kite means to leave to let go. In this case I would think to myself, what do you do with a kite? You release it; you let it go up in the air.

For good measure, let’s do one last one: lèt, pronounced let, means letter. My relationship in this case is: the word lèt has 3 letters and the first 3 letters of the word letter means letter in Kreyòl; I just need to remember the funny looking accent on the e. And if I replace the è with an ò, I get lòt, which means other. I get two for the price of one, by creating one relationship and replacing one letter, I remember the meaning of another familiar word.

By the way lèt has a second meaning: milk.

You get the point; you can pretty much relate any words with something that help you remember them. I believe it’s best that you come up with your own relationships because at the end of the day, you will need to remember them. If you use the relationships I create, it will be harder for you to memorize. How cool is that? You are learning a new language, using English words that you only need to learn to pronounce in the language you are learning and you apply R2R to remember what those the meaning. It does not get any better than that.  What do you think?  Is it really as easy as I believe?

Below are some additional Kreyòl words; remember I did say Kreyòl. The most difficult part is already taken care of since you already know these words. Practice pronunciation and use R2R and you are good to go. Keep in mind this list is only a sample; there are many more, which you will see later.

a: the         admire: to admire    adore: to adore     an:the    ant: between     al or ale: to go

ba: to give    ban: to give or bench    bank: bank    bare: to block  bay: to give    dan: tooth

do: back        don: gift             fin or fini: finish        foul: crowd      gate: spoil      kit: either

kite: to let go      match: match          men: hand or but or here is       met or mete: to put

mèt: can or owner or master        niche: to lick       on: a      pale: to speak         pen: bread

plan: plan            plane: to impound        plant: plant        plat: plate      retire: to remove

rive: to arrive    site: to recite       tire: to pull or to fire a gun      van: wind

vini pronounced Vinny: to arrive or to come (short form vin)          

won: round         wont: ashamed

tou: too, not an English word but an interesting case; same pronunciation and same meaning

And now some sentences to practice after setting up your own R2R.  See pronouns and articles: A, An, L, La, Lan, Li, M, Mwen, Yo, W.  I leave it up to you to translate the sentences below in the comments.



Dan an fin gate

Yo mèt al pale

Ou mèt ale

L ale kite m

Ban m men w

Li rive

Li vini tou

Yo ba l plant la

Mwen tou

Men bank la

Met plant la

Yo ban m on pen gate

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Legend: words with same exact spelling an meaning Interesting similarities in meaning and pronunciation


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