Kreyòl: The Definite Article and the Possessive

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Tayi
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Kreyòl: The Definite Article and the Possessive

Post by Tayi » Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:35 pm

Pitit mwen = my child
Pitit mwen an = my child

Machin mwen gen pwoblèm = My car has problems.
Machin mwen an gen pwoblèm = My car has problems.

In the above examples, the definite article "an" was omitted in the first sentence but used in the second with the same translation for both in English.

How can I explain the difference in Creole for a learner?

Thanks.

Tayi

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:11 pm

In these two cases, I think the " an " would imply that the listener has some prior knowledge about the child or the car.

gelin

Tayi
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Post by Tayi » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:59 am

That's a good point, Gelin. I think that about solves it for me (until I think of some more examples :-)). The definite article (in this case "an") serves an emphasis to indicate that there is some previous knowledge or mention of the noun being modified by the article. Cool.

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:56 pm

I too thought that this was a very astute observation from Gelin, when I read it; something of an order that only a native speaker and cultural son of Haiti would know innately. The general observation would have been that this "an" was used simply as a nondescript modifier or emphasis of the preceding noun. But Gelin managed to describe it exactly right.

Great job, guys!

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