Morphophonological Variation in Haitian Creole

As part of my research I had read an article written by Anne-Jose, Jason F Sigel, and Albert Valdman titled “Morphophonological Variation in Haitian Creole”. It talks about the different morphological variations of Haitian creole in two different geographical regions of Haiti. The regions that were the main focus were Cape- Haitian and Port au Prince both cities have high populations of Haitians living there. The article starts to talk about the different varieties of Haitian creole that are used in Haiti which are Standard Haitian Creole (SHC) and Northern Haitian Creole (NHC) and which are used more often by people living in Cape Haitian. What I discovered reading the analysis of SHC and NHC is that SHC is the written norm based on the speech monolinguals of the capital area in which the front and syllable /r/ is absent which has become popular in the rest of the country.  

Based on that information the researchers wanted to observe who from Cape Haitian is using SHC more than NHC in their daily speech. In which, the researchers are focusing on the third-person singular pronouns li/l (In which happens after a consonant) and capois i/y (which happens after the vowel) to see which one is preferred to be used by the general public. The researchers observed three subcategories to make their analysis the three subcategories include location, age group, and sex. What was discovered from the results was that many speakers who use SHC that live in Cape Haitian prefer to use capois /i/ went to a subject position rather than SHC. However, they prefer to use the SHC variant when it’s after the consonant. When it is the object position SHC and NHC are used interchangeably. Also, it was discovered that there are not a lot of people who speak capois in Cape Haitian. Most people like women and children and teenagers who go to school prefer using the SHC variation while men prefer to speak NHC. This is due to many women traveling outside Cape Haitian and into the city of port au prince in which they are more exposed to the SHC variant. Along with the children who go to school they are taught with the SHC variant. Therefore based on this study it can be said that in Cape Haitian majority of the people prefer to speak SHC rather than NHC due to the fact they are more exposed to the variant than NHC. I found this article very interesting due to my family being from Haiti. My mother side of the family is from Cape meanwhile my father side is from Port au Prince. Ive now seen myself being more observant in how they communicate to each other to see if I can spot out any variation differences when they speak creole.

Work Cited:


As part of my research, I’ve read an article talking about the different variations of Haitian Creole. In which I learned more about SHC (Standard Haitian Creole ) and NHC (Northern Haitian Creole). One of the main differences was the use of /r/ and /w/. In the SHC variant it does not use /r/ but in the NHC variant it is used interchangeably with /w/. To further explored this I’ve read an article titled Phonemic and Orthographic Realizations of “R” and “W” in Haitian Creole. In the article written by Christopher Hagen and Jeffery Allen, they collected data from different writings like the bible, websites, training manuals, and published speeches. Along with that, they collected speech samples from people located in Port au Prince, New York, Paris, and Pittsburgh. From those speech and writing samples they discovered that the phonemes /r/ and /w/ are used interchangeably and /w/ is an allophone of /r/. To further elaborate the article talked about how /w/ would appear before rounded vowels like (/o/,/u/) and /r/ would appear with non-rounded vowels like (/e/ /a/,/i/). It was noted that in the article written by Hagen and Allen they also quoted Valdman and Massieux in which they stated “/w/ and /r/ became allographs due to the progressive and regressive conditioning by the labial and non-labial vowels; in which they used the example of /ri/ vs /wi/ however even though they are minimal pairs they still have semantics differences.” (Allen, Hogan 1597). Based on the data that was collected it was observed that Norther Haitian Creole (NHC) use more of /w/ than /r/ especially those who mainly stay in the rural area of Haiti. Also, women are more likely to use /r/ since it’s closer to the french uvular /r/. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, and I’m excited to explore this topic more for my research.

Research Updates

Previously when I wrote about my research I was exploring an idea from the lab I’m a part of at my institution. However my mentor and I decided to go for a different idea a couple months back and explore a subject that is more international. For my new project, we’ve decided to survey the Spanish population of speech pathology students currently in their last year of university. We want to ask them about their feelings of self efficacy in clinical practice for the motor speech population as well as their attitudes and understanding of evidence based practice. Evidence based practice has been a topic of discussion as of lately for the speech association in Spain since it is not commonly discussed and is very necessary for effective treatment. With this survey we will get a taste of what students know about evidence based practice and our research will be very telling of the capacity of evidence based practice in other countries such as Spain. I’m conducting the survey in Spanish and will be putting my translation skills to the test which I’m really looking forward to. At this point, the survey questions have been written and we’re now at the stage of translating and formatting it on qualtrics to disperse hopefully at the end of the month. It’s proven difficult to get replies from Spanish institutions so far, but we have 3 which have confirmed their participation in the study. I’m excited to see what the responses will be like for future clinicians!