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#3849: Antoine responds to Poincy's query on linguistics (fwd)




From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

Perhaps the simple answer to the "e" and "" query might be the
following:

1) a number of words from Kreyl (or Ayitian, if you will) do originate
from the French language, a precept that no linguist would deny.

2) such words were absorbed in the language, and in that process the
French "e" was changed and internalized as the similar/identical French
sound "", due to the fact that the French sound "e" does not exist in
Kreyl

3) since the French sound "" is already absorbed in Kreyl analogously
AND the French sound "e" is actually transformed into the French sound
""
(but in Kreyl), it would follow that for French derived words, there is
a
2 to 1 addressability or functionality or convergence or whatever of two
graphemes into just one (I am sure that the true linguists must be
pulling
their hair at my utter lack of linguistic formulation here, but I am
only
conveying layman's logic here to an issue that has been raised again and
again).

4) So which symbol do you choose to represent that unique representation
of the original "e" and "" from French-derived words?  It could have
been
"", discarding "e" altogether, and staying closer to actual French
phonetics.
However, perhaps for the sake of SIMPLIFICATION and reducing by
half, at least, the number of those pesky accents (that INCIDENTALLY
make life so difficult for the majority of e-mail users), it was decided
to
drop the accent instead and gloriously adopt the symbolic form "e" in
Kreyl.  And why not?  Though this is not faithful to French phonetics,
we can decide to do what is best for Creole writers and for Creole
literacy
overall.

Poincy has asked the question so many times, I think he deserves an
answer.
However, linguistics is not my field.  If I have been wildly inaccurate
in the
formulation of the above, I apologize and invite from the more capable a
better explanation.

I too fully accept the standardization of Kreyl, Haitian Creole,
Ayitian, Aitian.
But I must say that I have also struggled with the sort of questions
that Poincy
has raised here.  I had a particularly hard time figuring out why the
sound "u"
was not represented in the official orthography, because since I was a
child,
and to this day, I always SAY "duri" for rice, and not "DIRI".  I
noticed that
in a recent post Gina Ullyse also used the spelling "DURI".  Perhaps
this was
a form of poetic license, but I could readily identify with the word as
I have
always phonetically pronounced it.  And I have always said "ju
grenadin",
where the "e"in grenadin sounds like the French sound "e".  The CORRECT
Kreyl spelling would be "ji grenadin", and most Haitian people would
pronounce it as such and with the standard pronunciation of "e" in the
Kreyl language. I do not change the way I speak, BUT I recognize that
for purposes of literacy, it is the way that the majority of people
speak that
should take precedence over "minority" or "middle class" phonetic
variations.

While it was arduous for non-initiates to follow that linguistic debate,
I am
happy to hear that Poincy DOES accept the standardization of the Kreyl
language and does not advocate ANOTHER.  It truly does not follow that
he cannot question the standardization process itself.  I freely admit
that I
have myself questioned it and welcome clarification about the process
from
the experts.

Similarly, I have heard even literacy teachers wonder why they have kept
"ui" as in "manje kuit" and not folded it into the more widely used
"wi".
Granted that this particular discussion is in my observation, not as
neat as
the one we had above about  "e" and "".  Would you prefer "manje kuit"
or "manje kwit", "biskuit" or "biskwit"?  "mache lan nuit" or "mache lan
nwit"?
Is it a matter of personal preference or dialectic variation?  I think
that I have
raised enough questions here, and will dutifully expect some
clarification from
our linguistic experts.

Thanks in advance.

Guy S. Antoine