How do you make sure you have the best experience possible when you travel abroad? You probably hit YouTube and Google to research the hotels, restaurants and interesting spots to visit. I’m sure you also do some research on safety. Before your next trip, you should add one more action, and that’s to learn some essential travel related phrases and expressions.
Are you one of those who think learning a new language is too challenging? It’s actually much easier than you think. In this article, I’m going to show you that there’s so much you can learn with little to no effort. Starting today, spend about 15 minutes a day practicing the phrases I’m about to share. One week before your trip, increase your practice time to 3o minutes. It will be great if you have someone you can practice with, even if it’s on the phone. If you have no one, I’m only a click away; feel free to add your comments or questions in the comments section.
It’s not a good idea to solely rely on an interpreter or someone you travel with to speak on your behalf. Knowing a few words will have a huge effect on the people you interact with. Your speaking in their native language will bring a big smile to their face and will win you many friends and fans. If they laugh when you speak in Creole, they aren’t making fun of you; they’re genuinely happy to hear you try to speak their language. Haitians are easy to please; a simple greeting such as “Bonjou” meaning Good Morning will go a long way.
If you don’t have anyone to let you know whether your pronunciation is correct, check out this short video on my YouTube channel for some valuable tips. No matter how strong your accent, people will go out of their way to understand you. Don’t hold back; go for it!
Below are some phrases to get you started.
- Good Morning means Bonjou
There are multiple ways to greet people, but bonjou is the most common. It’s pronounced [bohN-zhew]; the hN means the n is silent, which is the case for all the nasals: an,en,on.
- How are you? means Kòman ou ye?
Ou is the second person pronoun singular: “you“. An easy way to remember this pronoun is to view ou as you without the y.
- Yes is Wi & No is Non
At some point, you’ll have to answer Yes or No. In Creole, Yes is Wi, pronounced We and No is Non, pronounced as English with the difference that the ending n is silent.
- Excuse me means Ekskize M
These two words Excuse and Ekskize are cognates, which means they are the same word but in two different languages. They share the same Latin root; their pronunciation and spelling are pretty similar. The main difference is that you need to pronounce the letter i in the Kreyòl word like ee and the M becomes an extension of the preceding word; the pronunciation is [eyx-kee-zeym].
- Where means Ki Kote
I’m pretty sure you’ll also need to ask where something is. Ki kote pronounced [kee-koh-tey] is how you say it.
- When means Ki Lè
Those two words combined sound very much like killer with the difference that the ending r is silent and the è sounds like e in let. Whereas in English your mouth is closed when pronouncing the accented e, in Creole your mouth has to be wide open.
- How much means Konbyen
If you’re going shopping, you have to learn this very valuable phrase, which will help you haggle with the street vendors.
- What did you say means Kisa ou di?
This is perfect to practice pronunciation. This sounds just like “Key Saudi“, which you can read and deduce the following: di means to tell and sounds like the letter D pronounced in English. We saw ou earlier as the second person pronoun, and finally kisa by itself is what.
If you think of additional phrases or expressions you’d like to learn, add them in the comments.