Language of Haiti – Haitian Words and Phrases

Language

Haiti has two official languages, French and Creole. French was the only official language until 1987 when Creole was officially recognized, however, Creole is without question the most prevalent language in Haiti. Large quantities of people only speak Creole.

Haitian Creole is the most spoken form of Creole in the world and derives about 90 percent of its words from French. It also contains words derived from African languages, Arawak, Taynos, Caraibes, Spanish and English.

The word Creole can be traced to the Portuguese word crioulo: criado meaning “raised” (as in a raising a child); “servant” plus a diminutive suffix. Originally the word was used to describe second-generation African slaves and Europeans born in the Americas. Eventually it was used by linguists to refer to a specific type of language.