Haitian Creole (Kréyol) is a language based on French and spoken in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Most of the lexicon is derived from French; however, many of the words can be traced to West Africa. The language developed in Haiti in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
During Haiti's colonial rule by France, West African slaves were imported in large numbers. Like much of the Caribbean, Africans became the majority of the population. The languages of West Africa are numerous and the only language most newly arrived slaves had in common was French. French is taught in Haitian schools and is understood well by most Haitians, but Creole is the language of conversation.
Haitian Creole often corresponds to French. The Creole phrase Komoun ou ye? (how are you?) is congruent to the (non-existent, grammatically incorrect) French phrase Comment tu est? Likewise, the Creole phrase Sakpasé? (what is happening?) is congruent to Ça que passe? in French.
Haitian Creole has no verb conjugation. For example, a Creole verb chart for traval (to work) is as follows:
|Li traval||He/she works|
|Nou traval||We work|
|Yo traval||They work|
Haitian Creole uses markers for tense such as te, ap and pral, as shown:
|Mwen te traval||I worked|
|M'ap traval||I am working|
|Mwen pral traval||I am going to work|
Mwen for I correlates to the French moi. Traval correlates to the French travailler. In Caribbean and French fashion, Creole words are easily abbreviated or pushed together; in the above example m'ap is a contraction of mwen ap.
Similar French Creole languages are spoken on several other Caribbean Islands. Also, variations of English and Spanish languages also exist in the Caribbean. These extended dialects also feature simplified verb conjugation and optional contraction, abbreviation and words of West African origin and etymology.