Thursday, June 14, 2012

Huzzah! Mwen genyen!

Mwen genyen! means "I win!" (one of the things I've learned from my Byki Express Creole program)

The reason I feel like a winner today is because I talked to the janitor in my dorm, and he IS from Haiti! :) I overslept a bit today and I usually hear him in the hall between 8 and 9, so I was worried I had missed him, but... luckily he was there, so I went and talked with him for a little while! We talked mostly about Creole (rather than talking in Creole), and I asked a couple questions about Haiti, too. He said there's just one accent throughout Haiti, so I probably shouldn't have to worry about different dialects/accents - although there's the occasional word that has a couple of varients (kitchen is usually kwizin but might also be kwijin... or something like that). We talked about how Creole is a lot simpler grammatically; verbs pretty much don't get conjugated (thank goodness!), and little connector words are rarely used at all. He used some examples here and there, so maybe I can now start getting used to hearing (and hopefully understanding??) Creole. He's there pretty much every weekday, so I just need to wake up early enough so I can have a little hello with him in the mornings and then get to lab...

I also feel like I've been making good progress in my practice with Byki Express! It's basically a program that shows you flashcards and says each word or phrase out loud in Creole, and you test yourself as you go along. It's organized into topical lists of 6-16 words or phrases, and the free download has about 115 lists. I'm nearly halfway through (that's almost 400 words/phrases that I know!!), and I go back and review old words/phrases most days, too. While it's certainly not the best practice ever for actually communicating and making my own sentences, it's definitely fun and satisfying, and is helping me feel a lot more prepared than I might be otherwise. It's a start! And hopefully Saturday will yield some kind of Creole-learning book... I really need to learn some grammar - the only rules I know now are those I've picked up on and figured out just through learning some phrases.

P.S. Interesting side note about the verb genyen: in Creole, it means both "to win" and "to have". How's that for culturally indicative? That just having something makes you a winner... oof

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