Kwéyòl is a language spoken which has its origins in French and West African languages. French is reflected in the lexicon (vocabulary) while the African is reflected in the syntax (grammar). Kwéyòl was created by Africans who were brought to Caribbean to work on the plantations as slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries. In days gone by the language was called patois (patwa) but today it is more commonly called Kwéyòl, the internationally accepted term for the language.
Worldwide, there are at least eleven (11) million Creole speakers. Kwéyòl is spoken in Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, French Guyana, Haiti, Louisiana, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion. Kwéyòl is also spoken in St. Maarten, parts of Trinidad and Grenada.
The recently created Dominica Institute for the Arts is a project of the Division of Cultural and the National Cultural Council.
The alphabet for Antillean Creole (Kwéyòl) was developed in the late seventies. Though this emerging language has been in complete usage in the islands of the Creole Antilles or the Caribbean Basin for two hundred years it has been until recently mainly an oral language. It is understandable that various systems of transcription have emerged over the years.
However, the alphabet presented below emanated out of two Creole or ethnography workshops held in St. Lucia in January 1981 and September in 1982. This well integrated writing system has been developed through the coordinated efforts of individual researchers from the University of the West Indies (U.W.I.), The Université Antilles – Guyane groups from St. Lucia (MOKWÉYÓL), Dominica (K.E.K.) and the Groupé d’Etude et de Recherche en Espace, Creolophone (GEREC) from Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The alphabet has thirty-two (32) letters. The letters c,q,u,x have been dropped. C and U are used in combination as 'ch’ and ‘ou’. The French accents, acute and grave, have been adopted with certain conventions such as hyphens, apostrophes, capitalizations and features of punctuation.
|Letter||as in English||Kwéyòl||English|
In Kwéyòl the Subject Pronouns are:
|Kwéyòl Pronoun||English Pronoun|
Sé is to be preceeded by the subject pronoun:
|Bon jou||Good morning|
|Bon apwémidi||Good evening|
|Bon swè||Good night|
|Sa kafèt||How are you?|