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Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:20 pm
by Gelin_
For those of us who had to learn english later in life as a second language (ESL), there is always the problem of our accent. But that's not all.

Years ago, after listening to my dialogue with a native speaker, my older son told me: <I>Dad, why can't you speak just like me.</I> I had no answer to that.

One day, I was driving my minivan and there was a lot of noise in the back. They were laughing, singing, teasing each other - you name it. I kept asking them to lower the volume so to speak, but the more I asked, the louder they became - apparently. Finally, I turned back and yelled: QUIET UP !!!!!</B>. Complete silence. Then I heard a little voice: <I>Dad.</I> I said W - W - W - H - A - A - T ????</B> The same voice replied: <I>It's quiet down.</I>

A looooooong silence....


Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:16 am
by Leonel JB
Gelin, I've been having problems with my teachers at home: my wife, my girls even my son. This is on a daily basis. And my answer is always the same: Americans always think that they don't have an accent. They even think that they can correct the English...

My accent is very Haitian (who come after puberty in the US). Sometimes, I translate creol into english word by word which makes it very hillarious from their point of views. I am a mess, man. I lost my french (almost), my english is a little harder to understand and my creol is with more than 50 % english...

This reminds me of a co-worker from Taiwan:

She was in a classroom, right before November 2nd (election day).
Thinking that her english was very good, she stood up in class and outloud she said:
"Will we have classes for Erection day"
The class was silent for about a few seconds, then, everyone was laughing.

One guy stood up and said:
"Whose erect
ion. for myself there would have to close school, cause I have that everyday."
(by Ya Shun)


Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:33 pm
by admin
Leonel, true story:

When I worked for one of the biggest insurance companies, I had to report one day to my Director about the work that I was doing. I made several references to a particular worksheet I was working on. Each that I said the word, I could see his stupefaction rising to a level of incredulity. It took me a few more seconds to realize that every time I mentioned that worksheet, he was hearing "that work shit".

I apologized enough to keep my job, but I don't think he ever put me up for a promotion.

That is an absolutely true story. The worse thing is that after so many years, that could still happen to me today.


Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:54 pm
by Gelin_
I have lost the hope of improving my accent and I don't worry too much about it now. But it can be quite embarrassing, especially when you have to listen to a record of yourself. It's like those <I>fransè sirèt</I> we have in Haiti...


Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:33 am
by Manze Choublak
msye yo mèsi anpil, anpil. You made my day

Manzè Choublak

"KSL"--KreyOl as a Second (or third) Language

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:41 am
by Martha
When I read (often hilarious) stories of people's struggles with ESL, I can relate oh-so-well because of my own sometimes-hilarious mistakes in Kreyol. Here's my stupidest:

To make a very long story not quite so long, one time when I was in Haiti a group of us needed to estimate the volume per second of water from a particular small waterfall and needed a large container to be able to do this. We decided that, since we had to walk some distance (probably a mile or so) to the waterfall and cross a small river several times en route, that one of those large plastic buckets would be the easiest thing to carry. Well, since I was the only person in the group who spoke any KreyOl, of course I had to explain this to our guide. Not so difficult, you say, except that.....

I learned KreyOl via French (which I already spoke fairly well because of a two-year immersion experience when
I was a young adult), so I always have to be on the lookout for linguistic "false friends" and the tendancy to just sort of pronounce a French word with a KreyOl accent and hope that it is right. To complicate matters, I spend a good bit of time each summer in QuEbec province and have tried very hard over the years to learn and remember usage differences between QuEbeCois French and French from France. So....

Armed with the certain knowledge that the Kreyol word for bucket was _not_ "un seau"--the European French word for it--I thought a minute and remembered (or so I thought) that "chodyE" was the right word. (Oh, I was so proud of myself.....hmmmmm....that pride that "goeth before a fall.....). So.....

Our guide went off who-knows-where to find said "chodyE" and finally came back (a good 10 minutes later) proudly carrying.....yep.....a huge, heavy cooking pot. Which we were, of course, going to have to haul across all those fords and up all those hills, etc. And, of course, I didn't hav
e the heart to even try to explain that what we really wanted was a different item. So, of course, we hauled the beast over the river and through the woods and back again.

Of course, sometime along the line I finally remembered "bokit," and I guess that you can imagine how dumb I felt when I realized that I had gone searching in two different versions of French to find a word that actually came straight from my native tongue. (As one of my friends says in such instances, "How do you spell 'duh!'")

If you like this story, I've got another couple "up my sleeve" that I can pass along--don't want to bore you.


Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 5:37 pm
by admin
A KSL story! Great... you're opening a can of worms here, 'cause I am sure Leonel and Gelin have tons of stories about 'blan franse' ak 'meriken' and their initial troubles in trying to speak Kreyol. But hurry up telling your stories, because you know that once Leonel starts, he will tell stories to make any angel blush -- he even succeeded in making the devil blush once!

But it is comforting to know that while we struggle with ESL, English speakers have struggled with KSL too. [And our friend Leonel has struggled so much with DSL, he has since switched to cable... ok, that's an obscure joke!]

OK, back to you (or any other KSL graduate on the forum).

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:10 am
by Anacaona_
Leonel Wrote:

[quote]My accent is very Haitian (who come after puberty in the US). Sometimes, I translate creol into english word by word which makes it very hillarious from their point of views. I am a mess, man. I lost my french (almost), my english is a little harder to understand and my creol is with more than 50 % english...[/quote]

Leonel, don't feel too bad about translating Creole into English word by word. I used to feel bad when I do that, but not anymore. And here is why.

My 4 year-old little friend who was born in the US does that also. My mom, who is her babysitter always speak creole with her and other kids that she babysits. Once she told one of them chache w kote ou chita. My 4 year-old friend replies: Mannini said look somewhere to sit.

Leonel, I realize that if she can do it, then so can I.


Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 10:53 am
by Martha
Ah, yes--"fE bak"--one of my all-time favorite HC expressions! As Marilyn indicates, expressions like this (and their derivation) really underline the richness and diversity of the language.

Another "what language am I thinking in anyway" experience of mine came when I asked a Haitian friend of mine whether the correct word for the large rain barrel was "doum" or "droum"--to which she answered me that her mother (who is, apparently, insists upon true, correct Kreyol) says that "droum" is correct. When I followed up by wondering whatever French word that might be derived from, she said very simply (and kindly, I think, since I would have deserved to be laughed at!) that she thought that it came from an English word. Oh yeah, "drum"--of course, how stupid of me!

But perhaps my all-time favorite "let's get really confused in the web of languages floating around in our brains" happened when a French friend of mine (who also spoke
very good English) told me, when I asked about a carpentry project that was underway in the retreat center kitchen, that they were building "Chinese shelves." (I don't remember whether this conversation was in English or French, so she may have said something like "une etagere chinoise"--in any case, it boiled down to "Chinese shelves.") She had no idea what in the world Chinese shelves were or why they were considered to be "Chinese." With my curiosity now really aroused, I asked one of the Sisters in charge of the kitchen what was being built, and her reply was "youn china." How's _that_ for "triangulation"!


Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 3:28 pm
by admin
Marilyn, that's a funny one!!! It will go down in the annals of KSL.

As funny as my ESL "work-sheet", which I rendered into "ce travail de merde!"

HA HA! And when I think of it, it was truly "un travail de merde" except that it never was my intention to be so frank.

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 4:21 pm
by admin
Marilyn, I wonder (and I should not say this out loud, because Leonel is listening) how many different ways a woman could ask a man to make love to her in HC and vice-versa. On the other hand... forget that I said that, Leonel! There is not enough forum space for your imagination...


Psssst: Martha, here's one: "Mete chinwa'w nan chinwa'm".
How's that for de-triangulation?

Posted: Fri May 27, 2005 6:32 am
by Leonel JB
Marilyn ak Guy, mwen panse se moun mwen nou te ye???

Antouka, mwen nan yon afE jaden ki pran tout tan m.

I went to the US for a short period of time with my son for a Psycho educational assessment. Two days, right before my return, I felt a "Chest pain". I had to call 911 which sent an ambulance which took me to Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens.

After a lot of blood tests, EKG etc, nada. To be surer, I had to have further testing at North Shore Hospital which is, by the way, one of the best hospitals in the US.

Anyway, I had to stay an additional 14 days for an Angiogram which was also negative.

Now, returning to DK, while I left my little Garden (Eden) in my wife's care, who declared long time ago that she is the grand-daughter of very successful farmers. My "Jardin d'Eden" became a "Jardin de dents de lions" and other plants. NO sign of beans, tomatoes, peppers etc...

I've decided to clean up eve
rything. But, there is a problem. I can not figure out which is grass or vegetable. Therefore, I had to take everything off, including my dream garden.

I have two options after my "Natural disaster". One, is to sue my wonderful ex-grand-daughter-farmer wannabee. Two, get help from the United States Government. Cause, I lost everything.

Even though I'm living in Denmark. I am still an American citizen. I have rights as a FARMER. Even though, I've said a lot of truths against the US Administration, but FEMA applies to any one without regard to political affiliation (Marilyn, do some research on that).

I projected August 15th the "Kombit" day. Now, I am devastated.

Going back to Marilyn, there is a lot of ways to say it.

Ann al kroke (moun Okap)
Ann al Pran (moun andeyO)
Ann al kraze (moun k al nan kafe)
There is a lot more, but I don't want to say too much.

Moun yo a fache, paske Ayisyen pa renmen pale de bagay seksyel, yo jis fE aksyon an. Men yo rele l BET
IZ (lEd).

Kidonk, map kite nou panse ak mo yo. Paske, menm jan ak Danwa, Kreyol trE rEd. Li pa gen souplEs ladan l. Donk, mo yo sonnen dwOl.

Nou wE se moun serye mwen ye...

Posted: Fri May 27, 2005 12:52 pm
by admin
[quote]Psssst: Martha, here's one: "Mete chinwa'w nan chinwa'm".
How's that for de-triangulation?[/quote]

Martha, you probably did not think that I was that bawdy. I have to tell you that I do not mean any disrespect. It's just that all facets of language fascinate me. And inevitably, you know that I must be related somehow to Leonel ;-)

[quote]Ann al kroke (moun Okap)[/quote]
A common misconception from those who should know better. Moun Okap tout bon pa janm di sa. Ou "kroke" rad nan sèso. Men ou pa "kroke" pèsonn. Si se plezi fanm ak gason, retire "r" la nan "kroke" si ou vle dekri sa yap fè a. E li fasil pou nou dekouvri etimoloji mo sa, lò nou gade twa premye lèt yo. Moun Okap pa foure "r" nan zafèrayo.

Posted: Fri May 27, 2005 9:25 pm
by Martha
Guy writes:

Martha, you probably did not think that I was that bawdy. I have to tell you that I do not mean any disrespect. It's just that all facets of language fascinate me. And inevitably, you know that I must be related somehow to Leonel ;-)

Well, Guy--

Fear not, it takes quite a bit more than a bawdy sentence for me to think that I've been treated with "disrespect." I grew up with three brothers and several boy cousins, so I'm used to "guy talk" (or "Guy" talk, in this case) and do not take offense easily. I was not (and am not) insulted--but I must admit that I couldn't (and still can't) come up with a clever response, so I was just keeping quiet.