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#251: Creole from English: Allen replies to Bellegarde-Smith

From: Jeff ALLEN <jeff@elda.fr>

>From: P D Bellegarde-Smith <pbs@csd.uwm.edu>
>The Haitian language (Creole), has incorporated many words from
>English (American language) sources. Might these be some?
>Kanif (knife), 

Not at all.   Kanif is actually very common in modern French in France.  We
a "canif suisse" rather than a "couteau suisse" for Swiss Army knife. It might
be necessary to do some additional etymological research on this one, but it
appears to come from French, not English.

For those interested, the following are all studies on English word borrowing
in the French creoles of St. Lucia and Dominica.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 1994. Sainte-Lucie: relexification, de'cre'olisation,
recre'olisation ou adlexification? Diplo^me d'Etudes Approfondies Thesis.
De'partement des Sciences du Langage & Centre de Recherches Linguistiques et
Se'miologiques, Universite' Lyon 2.  183 pp.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 1994. Has the adoption of words from English led to a new
phoneme in Kwe'yo`l? Paper presented at the Workshop on Developmental
Issues in
Creole Languages and Linguistics held at the University of Westminster
(Britain), 30 April 1994.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 1994. L'influence adstratale des varie'te's anglaises sur le
kwe'yo`l sainte-lucien. Paper presented at the Colloque Morphologie et Syntaxe
des Langues Cre'oles held at the Universite' de Provence (France), 23-25 June

I have electronic copies of these available in Word format.  I can send
them by

There are 200+ examples of English words in these two French Creole (with
multiple cases for many of the examples)  in my thesis indicated above. 
Granted, it's not Haitian Creole, but another French Creole that has been
influenced by English.  Same process though.

At 07:15 24/07/99 -0700, you wrote:
>From: Albert Valdman <valdman@taloa.unice.fr>
>These assimilated loanwords (or borrowings--permanent ones that are never
>returned with or without interest) are no more "broken English than
>assimilated French loanwords in En such as restaurant, tennis or apron
>(from  Fr,  napperon)  make English "broken" French.  

I totally agree.  

>These words and many
>other assimilated loanwords from varied sources are an integral part of the
>HC lexicon. 

Yes, this is the case for many other languages.  St. Lucian French Creole
speakers now often say "ofisyal" (official) rather than "ofisye`l" that is
commonly found in the Creoles of the French speaking islands, but then didn't
French etymologically get "officiel" from English "official"?  I remember
seeing this in my study of that several years ago.   

> Indeed,by 1919, HC had been around as a proper and well
>constituted language for more than a century.

I agree.    Living languages are constantly evolving.  Only the dead ones like
ancient Greek and Latin cannot borrow in new words.  All they can do is give
them away to other languages.


Jeff ALLEN - Technical Manager/Directeur Technique
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)  &
European Language resources - Distribution Agency (ELDA) 
(Agence Europe'enne de Distribution des Ressources Linguistiques)
55, rue Brillat-Savarin
75013   Paris   FRANCE
Tel: (+33) - Fax: (+33)