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If, as we are told by Prof. Whitney in his Language and the 
Science of Language, no sound ever uttered by a hunaan being 
can be a matter of indifference to the Hnguist and phonetician, 
what shall we say of a whole corner of the United States where 
not only a peculiar Romanic population live the most curious of 
lives, but where, along with this life and seemingly as one result of 
it, a whole series of interesting problems in linguistics is going on, 
the explanation of which throws much light on the processes that 
originate and modify dialects ? 

Louisiana was settled by the French under Bienville nearly two 
hundred years ago. A good many of the earlier settlers were 
Canadians, Acadians, refugees and immigrants from San Domingo 
and the West Indies, adventurers from the provinces of southern 
and western France — a medley of Romance-speaking races from 
every part of Mediterranean Europe, Spain, Portugal and the 
Biscay regions. Superadded to these varied pigments we had 
early in the last century a tint from Africa — large masses of Guinea 
and other negroes who setded thickly on the plantations and haci- 
endas of riparian Louisiana, and soon produced important social, 
agrarian and linguistic changes in the speech, economy, life and 
civilization of the colony. These changes, gradual at first, have 
gone on perpetuating themselves down to the present day, until 
the parishes of Louisiana have a physiognomy as distinct as the 
isles of Greece. 

Several ingenious etymologies have been suggested for the 
word Creole, though most of them are either obelised or asterisked 
in the current lexicons. Littre, with his usual caution, tells us that 
the origin of the word is doubtful (Span, criollo, Ital. creolo ?'), 
that it may or may not come from criar, to rear, feed — an irre- 
gular formation ; or that it may be a Carib word ; or, lastly, that 
the g^ess of the Spanish Academy, that it was a word invented 
by the conquerors of the West Indies and handed down by them, 
may be true. 

' The author is indebted for many of the facts in this paper to Dr. Alfred 
Mercier, an accomplished physician of New Orleans, whose article in the 
Athenee Louisianais contributed materially to the ensuing discussion. 


If we are not bewildered among so many alternatives, a glance 
into Skeat may contribute a little to the clarification of the subject. 

The Cambridge .professor tells us first that a Creole is one born 
in the West Indies, but of European blood ; and then he proceeds 
with agile pen — dashes, abbreviations, equation lines — to deduce 
the word, though with many misgivings, from the Span, criollo, a 
native of America or the West Indies ; a corrupt word made by 
the negroes, said to be a contraction of criadillo, dimin. of criado, 
one educated, instructed or bred up, pp. of criar, lit. to create, 
also to nurse, instruct ; hence the sense ' little nurseling.' 

Victor Hugo uses the word boldly in the line : 

Un noir ou luisaient des regards de Creole. 

Whatever may be the ultimate source of the word, everybody 
who has ever visited Louisiana knows what the thing is— the 
femme Creole, the quite inexpressible expressiveness of the verb 
cre'oliser, and the fundamental changes undergone by a European or 
American temperament when the pp. creolise once becomes appli- 
cable to it. 

The notable differentia of the Creole patois is that it is a dialect 
that has sprung up almost entirely by the ear. Illiterate white 
folk and Africans of the purest blood, catching by ear the more or 
less indistinct utterances of the landed and commercial aristocracy 
around them, have reproduced in their own way, otographically, 
so to speak, the message delivered to their far from fastidious sen- 
sorium, producing a dialect resembling French in a fashion that 
suggests the relation between the j^thiopica of Uncle Remus and 
current English. Innumerable instances of what Haldeman called 
otosis (Outlines of Etymology, 30) are the result — word -jumbles, 
half heard or entirely misunderstood, reproduced in a very 
singular way as the very staple and foundation of every-day indis- 
pensable speech.^ The thick lips — the aural myopia — not of one, 
but of tens of thousands of individuals to whom the term ^oiariav 
vv is nbt far from applicable — a Boeotianism only paralleled by 
that of the editors who in certain MSS of Cicero insist on changing 
consules to asinos — ^gave birth to these winged Ethiopianisms, 
the delight of the French quarter of New Orleans and the nursery 
babble of countless Creole homes. The Franco-Louisianais still 

1 Cf. ' sapsago ' cheese, mispronounced from German ' schabzieger,' the 
' Picket Wire ' river of Colorado, from Purgatoire, etc. 


number several hundred thousands. The whites of this class are 
still surrounded by negroes, with whom they communicate in a 
Pigeon French curiously resembling the English of the Chinese 
seas. The Creole children, entrusted from infancy to the care of 
negro mamans, learn the patois before they learn the regular 
French, just as the children in deaf-and-dumb asylums talk glibly 
with their fingers — dactylically — before they have mastered the 
intricacies of lingual speech. All the petits blancs or ' poor white 
trash ' of the urban and plantation population speak the same 
patois simultaneously with the French. In many households full 
of intelligent boys and girls, the patois is often spoken exclusively 
till the children are ten or twelve years of age. By that time 
their organs-^larynx, speech-chords, pharynx, uvula — are so 
habituated to the drawling utterance of the kitchen and scullery 
that they chant rather than speak the cultivated French — a notice- 
able characteristic of Louisiana as it is of the dialects of the south 
of France, of Catalonia, and of parts of Italy. 

As a general rule those who speak the patois of the parishes are 
able to speak pure French also. Address any negrillon in good 
French and it is a point of honor with him to reply in the same. 
The aboriginal language of the French negro has almost totally 
disappeared in the South, leaving behind hardly a dozen words of 
African origin.^ 

The French negro of Louisiana is endowed with a cunning set 
of wits ; his auditory nerve, while not acute, enables him to pick 
up certain word-fragments and debris of conjugation which he 
adapts to his purposes and weaves into an ingenious and intelligible 
scheme highly interesting psychologically. 

Note for instance how he goes to work with his verb. To his 
consciousness, as often to the Hebrew's, a copula is a mere pleonasm : 
he needs no bridge to slip from subject to predicate, but gathering 
up his linguistic skirts he leaps agilely across and says : Mo conian 
(je suis content). The pronoun is virtually his pres. tense ind. as 
well as his infinitive. 

The progressive forms which we represent by the verb to be 
and a part. pres. he represents thus : He is dining = lape dintn, 
i. e., It (lui) ape (apres) dinin (diner). In every case, seizing the 
emphatic disjunctive form of the pronoun as capable of a strong 
accent (lui, moi, toi, etc.), he adds it to the prep, apris (abbre- 

^ See Thomas's Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar, p. 19, for many 
interesting examples of Creole and African words at the Port-of-Spain. 


viated to ape') followed by an inf. There is no copula. Hence 

the paradigm : 

Mape^ Nape^ 

Tape y dinin. Vapi V dinin. 

Lape j Yape j 

Resolved, these forms become mo {xno\) -\- ape ; to (toi) + a//; U 
(lui) -\-ape ; nou (nous) -\- ap^ ; vou (vous) -|- ape ; ye (ils, eux) + 
ape. So, mo, to, li, ma lade ; vou, nou, ye malade. 

The prep, ape is quite indispensable to the Creole dialect (as 
after is to the Irish). The use of it is now an archaism in France, 
though it is constantly heard in Canada, where the patois has a very 
remarkable resemblance to the dialect of Louisiana. Cf the Can- 
adian je suis apres ecrire, apres m'habiller, etc., phrases which excite 
the righteous indignation of the authors of locutions vicicuses. 

The forms Mape, etc., show that the Creole has reduced his pro- 
noun-prefix to a single letter, as the descendants of the Aryans did 
the suffixes of their verb. Nou, vou, as heard by the illiterate and 
the negro, have no s ; hence none appears in the combination 7iape, 
etc.; while ils, eux, have attracted a parasitic y like the y-sound in 
useless, university, or in the Anglo -Saxon vowel-sounds ea, eo, etc. 
Cf Fch. /ierre, /endemain, etc., for a loose analogy. 

The frequent use of the imperf. tense etais made an early and 
profound impression on the ear of the negro ; chiefly, however, the 
syllable that had the stress, te (-'tais). This sound, occurring 
throughout the French tense, stuck indelible roots in his memory, 
and came to symbolize to him nearly all of what he knew of the 
past. Agglutinating it without trouble to his pronoun-scheme, he 
produced the following characteristic model : 

Mote — j'etais Noute — nous etions 

Tote^ — tu etais Voute — vous etiez 

Lite — il etait Yete — ils etaient. 

Nearly all the other shades, intricacies, delicacies of conjugation 
in the past were swallowed up in this simple and frequent form. 
The Creole after all follows rigorously the genius of his language, 
and, picking out of the syllabic misch-masch that germinal accented 
syllable which the cultivated French itself did when gathering its 
vocables from the Latin, he throws his whole soul into that. Com- 
pare for illustration the manner in which Canadian blasphemers 
have treated the word sacre: {f)acre low, {sa)cre' tete croche; 


rr/ _y/(=sacre Dieu) ; (sac)r/ enfant tannant 7 (sacr)/ innocent! 
/ visage ! (sacr)A z'enfants tannants ! etc. 

As for the Creole's representation of the indefinite pret. tense it 
is very simple : he uses the inf. preceded by a noun or pronoun. 
Thus : la nouite idni, li soupe (la nuit vint, il soupa). The same 
form is attached to any person, and the result is a convenient 
hobby-horse which may be ridden in any number or person without 

With the tenses of the future and conditional he goes to work 
no less ingeniously. The great sign of the Creole fut. is the third 
pers. sing. pres. ind. of the verb aller, va, which the native hears 
frequently from the lips of the people around him ; as, Gro stim- 
botte-la pa capab decende can dolo va basse (= gros steamboat-la 
n'est pas capable de descendre quand I'eau va basse). This use- 
ful monosyllable va is then prefixed to any given infinitive, while 
the noun or pronoun required by the context introduces the whole 
complex. Thus: 

Mo — nou ^ 

To — vou y va chante (va chanter). 

Li— ye J 

This, however, is the primitive future of the Creole verb. Agglu- 
tination takes place without delay, and we have : mova, iova, liva, 
7iouva, vouva, ye'va, chante; and the next result of vowel and con- 
sonant submergence and disappearance is : 


Further abbreviation and wearing-down" take place, leaving be- 
hind a colorless a ; as, Tan bel zordi, zozo a chante plice pace ier 
(= temps bel aujourd'hui, les oiseaux vont chanter plus passant 
hier) ; ouzote a galope dice foi cate narpan (=: vous autres galo- 
perez dix fois quatre arpents). 

For the imperative the inf. is again called into play in a way 
paralleled by many ancient and modern languages ; e. g., Jule vini 
ave vou (= que Jules vienne avec vous) ; to vini dimin (=: viens 
demain). Cf the usage in Greek, in French advertisements and 
physician's prescriptions, and in colloquial German (da bleiben ! 
etc.). See also Chanson de Roland, 11. 11 13 and 2337 (Gautier's 
ed.) The Creole imperative first pers. plu. calls in the help of 


the verb aller, viz. aliens, pronounced anon. (Similar substitutions 
of one letter for another occur in the Canadian aiduille, e'kui, amikie 
= aiguille, etui, amitie. Cf tloud, tlamp for cloud, clamp.) Hence, 
Anon traverse larue cila (= traversons cette rue) ; anon boi, anon 
dromi, anon coude (= buvons, dormons, cousons). 

The inf has been truly called the Creole's anchor of salvation, 
as it is of the speakers of the lingua franca of the Mediterranean 
(see Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme). He clings to it with 
almost passionate attachment and makes it serve many a useful 
purpose. Nothing shows this more curiously than his use of it in 
the evolution of the conditional. 

Just as, in listening to conversations having reference to time 
past, his ear was constantly struck by the sound te (etais), so in 
listening to discussions of doubtful, contingent, hypothetical import 
he is struck by the sound 5r/(serait, chasserait, etc.), which to him 
involves the whole of contingent possibility. He seizes the sound 
sre with characteristic eagerness, prefixes to it his noun or pronoun 
and then suffixes the infinitive, thus evolving a triumphant condi- 
tional admirably suited to his simple purposes. Thus, Mo sr^ 
fumin si mo sre gagnin taba (= Je fumerais si j'avais du tabac) ; si 
sre fe pli frette, becassine sre' dija rive (= s'il faisait plus froid, les 
b^cassines seraient deja arrivees. 

More curious even than this is the genesis of the perfect condi- 
tional. To arrive at this subtle and important distinction, which 
many cultivated languages have failed to grasp (cf the early Ger- 
manic and other dialects), the Creole takes his particle of past 
time // and combines it with his particle of conditionality srd. 
Thus, ler mo te .sr/couri a la chache si te' sre ^2. fe si tan cho (:= 
hier je serais alle a la chasse s'il n'avait pas fait si chaud). Cf 
the Modern Greek use of the particle da (diXei ?) to form the future. 
The gerundial relation with en is expressed in Creole by a circum- 
locution with apris -\- the infinitive. Thus, Ta pranne la fiev' ape 
joue lontan dan soleil (= tu vas prendre la fievre apres jouer 
longtemps au soleil). 

In many of these examples the simplification of the negative 
will be noted, the real neg. ne being dropped and the complemen- 
tary particle pas being retained. The same peculiarity occurs in 
Canadian and in colloquial Parisian and other French dialects : 
li pa peur (= il n'a pas peur). The speaking directness of the 
Louisiana dialect is seen in the economy of effort which is one of 
its marks : Mo comance lasse ; mo ere tan nou tournin ; mo 1^ di 


Madame vou la (= je commence a etre fatigue ; je crois qu'il est 
temps de nous en retourner ; je vais dire a Madame que vous etes 
Ik). Prepositions, conjunctions, copula, non-essential or indetermi- 
nate words are cast overboard as useless baggage despite the 
nXaTvs yekms of the Olympic audience. 

The increasing nasalization going on in cultivated French is very 
obvious in Creole, where a nasal desinence attaches itself unpleas- 
antly to the pronouns (moiw, toi«, etc.) and infinitives (gagni«, 
fumiw, etc.) The intrusion of the nasal is clearly marked in Can- 
adian also, where whole classes of words insert it (a?ipauvrir for 
appauvrir, awbandonner, awgencer, awvaler, awpat, rtwvoisiner, 
etc.), giving rise to an intolerable twang. Sweet (Phonetics, p. 8) 
thinks the nasalization of English in this country and in the cockney 
dialect is due to the pronunciation of the vowels with imperfect 
closure of the nose passage. 

The word capa6 in one of our examples suggests another Creole 
peculiarity — Canadian also : the systematic ignoring of the trill /, 
which gives rise to such examples as admirabe, ahnabe, di&be, etc., 
and Adof for Adolph. In certain Canadian words, on the other 
hand, there is an interloping / or an / substituted for r or t, etc.: a/tere 
for artere, a/t6rage for atterrage, a/ener for a_g-neler, etc. The trans- 
position of dormir into dromi is paralleled in many languages, but 
for the present purpose the Canadian apocalyspe for apocalypse 
(cf lisp from lips, etc.) may suffice. 

The Creole in his corruptions of words is often enigmatically 
concise, almost as much so indeed as the Canadian when he cor- 
rupts the Eng. Happy New Year 1 into Apencuyir : on va feter 
r apenouyir or I'apinouyir. Agglutinations of the article with a 
noun abound in the patois of Louisiana. The petit blanc, in cer- 
tain instances, hears the article associated with the noun ; it strikes 
him as a sort of inseparable prefix to which he clings on most 
occasions, even when the word is otherwise modified. Thus, larue 
(la rue), ain (une) larue ; mo labouche (ma la bouche). Inquire 
of a negrillon what bell it is that rings at a certain hour. His 
answer may be: Ce segon lacloche. So the Creole cuisiniere inquires : 
Ki lasoupe vou oule ? lasoupe bef ou lasoupe cribiche ? (quelle 
soupe voulez-vous ? soupe au boeuf ou soupe aux ecrevisses ?) 

Not content with this, the Creole plays strange tricks with his 
plurals, for in certain cases he associates the plural article with a 
noun in the singular : un os is, in Creole, ain dezo; un ceuf is ain 
ddzef; probably from the continual association of the partitive 


article with such common objects as bones and eggs. Dezo mo 
bra ape fe nioin mal (I'os de mon bras me fait mal) ; vou poul te 
pondi ain dc'zef dan mo jardin (votre poule a pondu un ceuf dans 
mon jardin). 

Specimens of transpositions are seen in the following colloquial- 
isms : Can mo rive, lie te encore ape dromi (quand j'arrivai, il dor- 
mait encore). ; mamzel ape coude en la garlie (mademoiselle coud 
sur la galerie), etc. 

The constant omission of the gen. sign de — not with proper 
names only — is a characteristic of Creole and has parallelisms 
enough in Old French (see Bartsch's Chresiomathie for countless 
examples). As a matter of course, however, it seems pure 
carelessness on the part of the Creole, while in Old French there 
was a strong consciousness of the Latin gen. Cf. the Middle Eng. 
treatment of the words manner, kind, sort, with appositional sub- 
stantives following. 

A curious parallelism between certain Creole locutions and 
Homeric Greek has been pointed out : e. g. li parii court (il partit 
courir, il s'en alia) and /3^ 8' t/jei', ^kv 8' ttmi, /3^ 8e 6eetp. A similar 
usage was widespread in Anglo-Saxon, as in Beowulf 1, 1. 26-27 • 

Hira tha Scyld ^vwilt to gescip-liwile 
fela-hr6ry"/rrt« on frean ware, etc. 

Cf. the Germ, spazieren gehen, reiten, fahren, etc. 

A form of the possessive peculiar to the Creole is believed to be 
an importation brought into Louisiana by hnigres from San 
Domingo ; e. g. zies h moin (mes yeux), tchor a li (son coeur). 
The Canadian vulgarism, " la fete & maman, le chapeau a ma 
soeur, is of a piece with this. Tchor for cceur might be compared 
with the Frisian palatalization of the gutteral k ; cf. original Frisian 
kerke, church, which appears as isuirkc, sthereke, skiricrke, etc. 
(Hewett's Frisian Lang. p. 41). 

Many philologists have noted the felicitous aidLmlif^iv of Uncle 
Remus in the negro dialect of the South. The Creole lends itself 
no less felicitously to the recit and to the cmite, as we may say on 
good authority. The fables of La Fontaine and Perrin and the 
Gospel of St. John have, indeed, been translated into the dialect of 
San Domingo or Martinique ; lately we have had a Greek pleni- 
potentiary turning Dante into the idiom of New Hellas : what 
next? Any one who has seen the delightful Chansons Canadiennes 
of M. Ernest Gagnon (Quebec, 1880) knows what pleasant things 


may spring from the naive consciousness of the people. The 
Creole of Louisiana lends itself admirably to those petiis polmes, 
those simple little dramatic tales, compositions, improvisations, 
which, shunning the regions of abstraction and metaphysics, 
recount the experiences of a story-teller, put into striking and 
pregnant syllabuses the memorabilia of some simple life, or sum up 
in pointed monosyllables the humor of plantation anecdote. Inter- 
esting examples of the patois occur in the romances of G. W. 
Cable, though they are transliterated with far less delicacy than 
in the work of Dr. Mercier, L' Habitation Saint- Yba7's (Nou\-elle- 
Orleans, 1881). 

As eccentricities in the domain of phonology may be mentioned 
the disappearance of the letter r^ in Creole ; ape for apres, di for 
dire, cate for quatre ; exactly paralleled in numerous instances by 
the patois of Canada (cf. Can. i' pa'lent = ils parlent). U, as in 
Junon, becomes i (Jinon), jige, jigemen' (Cable's zizement), dipi 
(depuis). Can. p'is ; compare sich, jist. In many instances 71 has 
been diphthongated into on : nouite (nuit, with prolonged /, as in 
Can. drette for droit, Creole frette for froid) ; tou souite (tout de 
suite). The sound eu is changed into air: I'honneur = lonair, or 
even into i and ie, as in Michie = Monsieur. Cf the Can. con- 
version of u into eu : breune, breume, pleumes, preunes. The 
Creole has a lingual trouble in the pronunciation oija,jou, ge com- 
binations ; he slips easily into the flat sibilant z, as easily as some 
German dialects flatten s into sz : e. g. jalon, toujours, manger, 
become zalon, touzou, manze ; banjo becomes banza, etc. Aphae- 
resis is one of his favorite processes, 'blie = oublie, 'pele =^ appele, 
'baraci = embarrasse, 'tite =; petite, 'sieur = monsieur. The 
same clipping is common among the habitants of Canada. 

As a specimen of the phonetic and syntactical processes and 
of the humorous capabilities of the Creole dialect, I reprint the 
following Co7iie Ncgre after Dr. Mercier, inserting a literal inter- 
linear version to give a clue to the meaning. 


1. Dan tan le zote foi, compair Chivreil ave compair 

Dans temps les autres fois, compere Chevreuil avec compere 

2. Torti te tou le de ape fe lamou a Mamzel Calinda. 

Tortue etaient tous les deux apres faire I'amour a Mademoiselle Calinda. 

1 See Sievers' P/wnttik, p. 212, for interesting observations on Einschiebung 
u. Ausstossvngv. Consonanten. 


3. Mamzel Calinda te }inmin mie conipair Chivreil, cofair 

Mile. Calinda avail aime mieux compere Chevreuil, [pour]quoi faire 

4. li pli vaian ; me li te linmin compair Torti oucite, 

le plus vaillant ; mais elle avait aime compere Tortue aussi, 

5. li si tan gagnin bon tchor! Popa Mamzel Calinda di li : 
il si tant gagner bon cceur ! Papa Mile. Calinda dire lui : 

6. " Mo fie, li tan to male ; fo to soizi cila to oule." Landimin, 

" Ma fille, il (est) temps te marier ; faut te choisir cela tu voulez." Len- 

7. compair Chivreil ave compair Torti rive ton ye de cote Mile. C. 
compere Chevreuil avec compere Tortue arriver tons eux de cote Mile. C. 

8. Mamzel C, qui te zongle tou la nouite, di ye : " Michie Chivreil ave 
Mile. C, qui avait songe toute la nuit, dire eux: " Monsieur Chevreuil avec 

9. Michie Torti, mo popa oule mo male. Mo pa oule di ain 

Monsieur Tortue, mon papa vouloir me marier. Moi pas vouloir dire un 
10. dan ouzote non. Ouzote a galope ain lacourse dice foi cate 

dans vous autres non. Vous autres va galopper une la course dix fois 
il. narpan ; cila qui sorti divan, ma maie ave' li. Ape dimin 

arpents ; cela qui sortir devant, moi va marier avec lui. Apres demain 

12. dimance, ouzote a galope." Ye parti couri, compair Chivreil 
dimanche, vous autres va galopper." Eux partir courir, compere Chev- 

13. 20 tchor contan ; compair Torti ape zongle li-minme : 

son cceur content; compere Tortue apres songer lui-meme : 

14. "Dan tan pace, mo granpopa bate compair Lapin pou 

" Dans temps passe, mon grandpapa battre compere Lapin pour 

15. galope. Pa conin coman ma fe pou bate compair Chivreil." 
galopper. Pas conner (= connaitre) comment moi va faire pour battre 

compere Chevreuil." 

16. Dan tan cila, nave ain vie, vie cocodri qui te gagnin 

Dans temps cela en avait un vieux, vieux crocodile qui avait gagne 

17. plice pace cincante di zan. Li te si malin, ye te pele li 

plus passe cinquante dix ans. Lui etait si malin, eux avaient appele lui 

18. compair Zavoca. La nouite vini, compair Torti couri trouve 
compere Avocat. La nuit venir, compere Tortue courir trouver 

19. compair Zavoca, e conte li coman li barace pou so 

compere Avocat, et confer lui comment lui embarrasser pour sa 
ZO. lacourse. Compair Zavoca di compair Torti : " Mo ben 

la course. Compere Avocat dire compere Tortue : "Moi bien 

21. oule ide toi, mo ga^on ; nou proce minme famie; la tair 

vouloir aider toi, mon gar^on ; nous proche meme famille ; la terre 

22. ave do lo minme kichoge pou nizote. Mo zongle zafair 

avec de I'eau meme quelquechose pour nous autres. Moi va songer cette 

23. To vini dimin bon matin ; ma di toi qui pou fe." 

Toi venir demain bon matin ; moi va dire toi que pour faire." 


24. Compair Torti couri couce ; me li pas dromi boucou, 
Compere Tortue courir coucher; mais lui pas dormir beaucoup, 

25. li te si tan tracasse. Bon matin li parti couri 

lui etait si tant tracasse. Bon matin lui partir courir 

26. cote compair Zavoca. Compair Zavoca dija diboute ape 
cote compere Avocat. Compere Avocat deja debout apres 

27. boi so cafe. "Bonzou, Michie Zavoca." " Bouzou, mo 

boire son cafe. "Bonjour, Monsieur Avocat." " Bonjour, mon 

28. gajon. Zafair cila donne moin boucou traca ; min mo 

garcon. Cette affaire cela donne moi beaucoup tracas ; mais moi 

29. ere ta bate compair Chivreil, si to fe mekie ma di toi. 

crois toi va battre compere Chevreuil, si toi fais metier moi va dire toi. 

30. " Vouzote a pranne jige jordi pou misire chimin au ra 

" Vous autres va prendre juge aujourd'hui pour mesurer chemin au ras 

31. bayou; chac cate narpan mete jalon. Compair Chivreil a 

bayou ; chaque quatre arpents mettez jalon. Compere Chevreuil va 

32. galope on la tair ; toi, ta galope dan dolo. To ben compranne 
galopper en la terre ; toi, tu va galopper dans de I'eau. Toi bien com- 


33. 5a mo di toi ?" " O, oui, compair Zavoca, mo ben 

cela moi dire toi ?" " O, oui, compere Avocat, moi bien 

34. coute tou 5a vape di." "A soua, can la nouite vini, 

ecouter tout cela vous apres dire." "Le soir, quand la nuit venir, 

35. ta couri pranne nef dan to zami, e ta cache aine dan 

toi va courir prendre neuf dans tes amis, et toi va cacher un dans 

36. zerb au ra chakene zalon ye. Toi, ta couri cache au ra 

herbe au ras chacun jalon eux. Toi, toi va courir cacher au ras 

37. la mison Mamzel Calinda. To ben compranne 5a mo di toi ?" 

la raaison Mile. Calinda. Toi bien comprendre cela moi dire toi ? " 

38. " O, oui, compair Zavoca, mo tou compranne mekie 5a vou 

" O, oui, compere Avocat, moi tout comprendre metier cela vous 

39. di." " Eben ! couri pare pou sove lonnair nou nachion." 

dire." " Eh bien ! courir preparer pour sauver I'honneur notre nation." 

40. Compair Torti couri cote compair Chivreil e range tou 
Compere Tortue courir cote compere Chevreuil et arranger tout 

41. kichoge compair Zavoca di li. Compair Chivreil si tan sire 
quelquechose compare Avocat dire lui. Compere Chevreuil si tant sflr 

42. gagnin lacourse, li di oui tou 9a compair Torti oule. 

gagner la course, lui dire oui tout cela compere Tortue vouloir. 

43. Landimiu bon matin, tou zabitan semble pou oua 
Lendemain bon matin, tous habitants assembler pour voir 

44. gran lacourse. Can Ihair rive, compair Chivreil ave 

grande la course. Quand I'heure arriver, compere Chevreuil avec 

45. compair Torti tou le de pare. Jige la crie : "Go ! " e ye 

compere Tortue tous les deux prepares. Juge U crier : " Go ! " et eux 

46. parti galope. Tan compair Chivreil rive cote primie 

partir galopper. Temps compere Chevreuil arriver cote premier 


47. zalon, li hele : " Halo, compair Torti ! " " Mo la, compair 
jaloii, lui heler : " Halo, compere Tortue ! " " Moi la, compere 

48. Chivreil ! " Tan ye rive dezieme zalou, compair Chivreil 
Chevreuil I " Temps eux arriver deuxieme jalon, compere Chevreuil 

49. siffle : " Fioute ! " Compair Torti repoiine : " Croak ! " Troisieme 
siffler: " Fioute ! " Compere Tortue repondre; " Croak ! " Troisieme 

50. zalon boute, compair Torti tink-a-tink ave compair 

jalon au bout, compere Tortue tingue-a-tingue avec compere 

51. Chivreil. "Diabe ! Torti la galope pli vite 
Chevreuil. " Uiable ! Tortue la galopper plus vite 

52. pace stimbotte ; fo mo groviye mo cor." Tan compair 

passe steamboat ; faut moi grouiller mon corps." Temps compere 

53. Chivreil rive cote nevierae zalon, li oua compair Torti 
Chevreuil arriver cote neuvieme jalon, lui voir compere Tortue 

1,4. ape patchiou dan dolo. Li mete tou so laforce 

2c^xis paithiou ! dans de I'eau. Lui mettre toute sa la force 

55. dihior pou aien ; avan li rive cote bite, li tende 

dehors pour rien ; avant lui arriver cote but, lui entendre 

56. tou monne ape hele : " Houra ! houra ! pou compair Torti ! " 

tout monde apr§s heler : " Hourra ! hourra 1 pour compere Tortue ! " 

57. Tan li rive, li oua compair Torti on la garlic ape 

Temps lui arriver, lui voir compere Tortue en la galerie apres 

58. brasse Mamzel Calinda. (^a fe li si tan mal, li 
embrasser Mile. Calinda. Cela faire lui si tant mal, lui 

59. sape dan boi. Compair Torti male ave Mamzel Calinda 
s'echapper dans bois. Compere Tortue marier avec Mile. Calinda 

60. samedi ape vini, e tou monne manze, boi, jika 

samedi apres venir, et tout monde manger, boire jusqu'a 

61. y tchiak.i 
eux griser. 

J. A. Harrison. 

1 TcJiiak is the name given by the Creole negroes to the starling, which, Dr. Mercier tells me, 
is applied adjectively to express various states of spirituous exhilaration.