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#3695: An inconsistency in Creole orthography? Delimon comments

From: Florence Delimon <fdd7929@garnet.acns.fsu.edu>

As far as I know, and full-fledged linguists please correct me if I am wrong
- the right spelling of the word, as per official orthography rules, is
ALWAYS "youn", regardless that one says "youn pitit" (a child), youn grenn
pantalon (one pair of slacks, as opposed to two or three).

This "yon" spelling seems to come mostly from the Haitian-American diaspora,
and from Protestant churches in Haiti affiliated with American churches.  It
is also mostly observed in texts coming from the United States, both from
Haitian-Americans, and Americans who are versed in the language.  But, if
you go back to Haiti, and read any Haiti-based newspapers and/or church
bulletins in the cities and countryside, the spelling is consistently
"youn".  Less and less (as opposed to the beginning of the 80s) you will see
youn spelled yon in Haiti.  The official spelling in ALWAYS "youn".


At 07:59 AM 18-05-2000 -0700, you wrote:
>From: GOPATENT <GOPATENT@msn.com>
>Fellow Corbetters,
>        I presented what I feel is an interesting inconsistency in Creole
>Orthography to E Vedrine on the kreyol@egroups.com list, and he suggested
>that I present it to this list for comment. The gist of what I wrote to E
>Vedrine follows:
>"I recently noticed a major orthographic problem in Creole which I have not
>seen addressed anywhere. If Creole orthography were perfectly consistent,
>then the Creole word "yon" would rhyme with the Creole word "bon". But it
>doesn't. The Creole word
>"yon" seems to have the "o" of  the English words "tone" and "cone". Is
>there any explanation for this? Perhaps the Creole word "yon" should be
>written "yo-n" in the new orthography to indicate how it is to be
>In my response to someone on the list who made some interesting
>observations, I replied as follows:
>The pastor of my church comes from Haiti, so I presented this discrepancy to
>him. He said that he pronounces "yon" as "yo-n" (I should mention that the
>"-n" at the end of "yo-n" is nasalized). I discussed this matter also with
>my friend Sandra and her mother both of whom are native Haitians. Both of
>them pronounced "yon" as "yo-n". And Sandra's mother agreed with me that the
>spelling of these two words should indicate how they are pronounced, and
>that the "o" of "yon" has a different pronunciation than the "o" of "bon" .
>In other words "yon" does not rhyme with "bon" although the way they are
>written in the new orthography suggests that they would rhyme.  Further, on
>the tape which comes with "Ti Koze Kreyol" (Bryant C. Freeman, Ph.D.,
>University of Kansas). "yon" is everywhere pronounced "yo-n". Now it may be
>the case that "yon" is pronounced to rhyme with "bon" in some parts of
>Haiti, and in other parts of Haiti, "yon" more rhymes with the English words
>"tone" and "cone".
>Michael Fitzpatrick