Mwen renmen Kreyol.

I love Creole.

I swear. Even when I feel the pressure of the short time I have to get some of this language down, even when one word means 259,3241 different things (slight exaggeration perhaps), even when I finally feel like I'm getting it down only to listen to someone actually speak what sounds like complete gibberish. Because I've lately been hitting a wall, I tried to sign up for some classes through a friend that served in Haiti in '07-08 with Erin on his website HaitiHub. Although I was lucky enough to hear back from him (yay!), understandably the process is slow as his website is inundated with requests for their free skype Creole classes.

So until I can actually speak to a real person, I'm stuck with a couple books and internet resources. Not the most interactive or quickest way to learn a language, seeing as my progress is contingent on free time and personal motivation. To put it another way, learning to speak to nobody isn't that much fun.

So I decided to remind myself of my top ten most favorite Creole words to lift the spirits. You'll see that it's not really what the word represents, but just how silly it sounds, that qualifies it for my list. This tends to mean that the word can't be said without the suspicion of a speech impediment. Man, Creole cracks me up. But apparently you really have to be exposed to French to understand how hilarious some of the spellings and French modifications really are. I know this because nobody laughs as hard as I do when they hear these words.

For the best effect, pronounce each word phonetically (phonetic pronunciation=another reason I love Creole) and pretend you have a sock stuffed in your mouth. Or a large wad of something sticky.

1. Afwo. Guess. A hairstyle popular during the disco era. I'm really hoping the disco era didn't skip Haiti. I'll do some research.
2. Orevwa. Like French for 'goodnight,'(au revoir) only spelled like a 2-year-old tried to write it.
3. Ou. You. (Also your and or!) Try to form the Creole sentence "you or your voodoo priest" (ou ou oumenm ou) without sounding like you're really enjoying something. Hopefully that sentence also illustrates the frustration when one word means so many things.
4. Manchèt. Machete. Not because of how it sounds, but because of my surprise when this seemingly obscure word was included in my little efficient "Creole Made Easy" book so near the beginning. When an author only has 15 short vocabulary lists and decides that the word machete is more important than words such as "home," "to help," or even "book," that tells you something about the country... I was suspicious of the utility of knowing the word Machete until my friend Erin confirmed that she, too, thought it odd until she actually got to Haiti and used the word quite often. Vocabulary as social commentary...
5. Twòp. Too many. In a country with so little, I often wonder how much this word is actually used. But it's just so fun to say.
6. Malerezman. Unfortunately. The appeal comes from the butchering (but really the simplifying/improving) of the French word malheureusement.
7. Twonpèt. Trumpet. It's just that easy.
8. Zetazini. The United States. Z's are underappreciated in English but abundant in Creole, and silly sounding after knowing in French it's really Les États-Unis.
9. Nwèl. Christmas! When I arrived, the orphanage was still all abuzz with the gifts that Papa Nwèl had brought.
10. Emowoyid. Hemorrhoid. Learning Creole is full of coming upon complicated scary-looking words and then sounding them out, ending in a moment of disbelief when you realize something that funny looking sounds almost exactly like the word in English.