Haiti and Haitian Creole on the web
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- The University of Kansas Institute of Haitian Studies
Kansas has published some of the most popular Creole learning resources over the years. Currently, Survival Creole, Ti Koze Kreyol, Chita Pa Bay, and several other books are available completely free for download from the KU website. Ti Koze Kreyol is a rich, dialogue-driven text full of mini-vocab and cultural lessons. Survival Creole is a crash-course collection of some of the most immediately useful words, phrases, and constructions. Free audio downloads are available for most of the Kansas texts. Scroll down on the page to find the Haitian Creole resource links.
- Creole Made Easy
Wally Turnbull’s very accessible "Creole Made Easy" is what HaitiHub currently uses as the springboard text for HaitiHub Introduction to Creole Conversation classes. The text is broken into 16 very bite-sized lessons that provide the groundwork language skills needed for more involved conversation. The text also includes over 100 pages of English-Creole translations.
- Learn Haitian Creole with Gloria
Learn Haitian Creole with Gloria is a twenty week beginners-intermediate program of in depth teaching with relevant conversation for missionaries, spouses of Haitians, and families adopting Haitian children. The companion resource to this book is the Facebook group, Learn Haitian Creole, where Gloria posts numerous video instructions based on this program and provides the opportunity for members to interact with people sharing the same interest in learning Haitian Creole.
- Ann Pale Kreyol
Ann Pale Kreyol has been the Creole learning "textbook" for some time. It is a much larger resource than Creole Made Easy. Subjects are explained in more detail but this book comes with a "textbook" price: $80+ from most sellers.
- Sweet Coconuts Blog
Mandaly Claude Louis-Charles’ blog, Sweet Coconuts, is a wonderful free resource FULL of a lot of really useful tools. You can ask Mandaly any Creole question and she’ll respond the same day. There are Creole lessons by category, games, quizzes, and tons of other content.
- The English-Creole Oxford Picture Dictionary
The English-Creole Oxford Picture Dictionary is also a helpful resource for vocabulary. It works well especially for the more visual learner. Chapters are divided by everyday settings and situations.
- Spoken Haitian Creole for Intermediate Learners (& Educavision)
For those beyond the basics, "Spoken Haitian Creole for Intermediate Learners" by Marc Prou is full of very nice exercises. His book is just one of many texts, visual aids, and children’s books published by Educavision.
- Simon & Schuster’s Pimsleur Brand
Pimsleur’s audio courses are available in CD sets. For Creole, only Pimsleur’s basic level is available for $345; it consists of 16 one-hour audio CD’s that introduce and then review Creole vocabulary and expressions. Pimsleur is a good way to memorize vocabulary and certain expressions while hearing correct pronunciation.
- Anmwe Radio is a great free resource for Creole music and culture. Just click and the music player will launch automatically – no downloads are necessary. Anmwe Radio also has a great, very active Facebook page.
- Sweet Coconuts Blog Audio Section
Mandaly Claude Louis-Charles’ free blog Sweet Coconuts also posts mini audio-lessons and youtube videos regularly. It’s a good way to practice correct pronunciations and learn some new expressions. Also, stick around for the Creole song that usually follows every audio lesson – Mandaly’s got good music taste!
- Spotify For more free music, visit Spotify, create and account, and search “kreyol.” Spotify will return a nice selection of songs that you can listen to immediately. Spotify is a very safe, established company so there’s zero risk of any malware or spyware or any of that junk
getting onto your computer.
- La Bonne Nouvelle Television Program La Bonne Nouvelle is a weekly 30 minute television program hosted by Frère Joel and broadcast exclusively in Haitian Creole. The series takes Frè Joel to a new city each week and is a great way to familiarize yourself with Haitian culture and geography while practicing your Creole listening comprehension.
- Creole Made Easy Pronunciation CD’s
Creole Made Easy offers audio CD’s for those who would like to hear pronunciations for the vocab and exercises in the text. It’s not the cheapest audio resource, but is a nice enough companion to the written material.
- The Creole Language Institute at ETS
For learners based in Port-au-Prince, the Creole Language Institute offers short term (1-3 weeks) and long term (2-5 month) courses out of Haiti’s Institute of Social Work. Courses are available for all ability levels. A typical class session is 4-5 hours. The curriculum is a very good mix of classroom learning and cultural immersions. This is a great and affordable option if you are already in Haiti and want an in-person learning environment.
- Florida International University’s Haitian Summer Institute
FIU’s Institute is an established 6-week program designed to immerse students in a Creole-learning environment and provide historical/cultural contexts for learning. If you are in the Miami area and have the time and money to attend, this is the ideal way to learn a language. If you are attending and you are a Florida resident, the institute alone (no housing) costs about $1100. Out of state students must pay $3600 for the institute only.
- UMass Boston Creole Institute
A similar summer program runs for 2.5 weeks out of the University of Massachusetts in Boston for $650 without housing. Classes typically have 20-30 students and are open to the public.
- The Creole Institute at Indiana University
Other universities do very significant work in Creole linguistics. The Creole Institute at Indiana University is "recognized as the only center in the United States that is equipped to deal in depth with linguistic and related educational issues in Haiti."
Mobile resources (iPhone – Search for these apps in the App Store for their full descriptions)
- Byki’s free Haitian Creole app
Byki provides pronunciation and progress tracking and allows the learner to record his/her own voice to compare with the native pronunciation.
- Brainscape’s free Creole flash card system
- Educa Vision’s free Creole medical dictionary
Finding Organizations or People
Meetup is a website that allows people to find groups that meet together for shared interests and activities. There are many foreign language meetups, but unfortunately, not that many Creole meetups outside of New York or Boston. Still, searching here may uncover some groups or people in your city that are connected to Haiti.
Idealist is one of the web’s best resources for non-profits. They have a large searchable database that you can use to find organizations, volunteer opportunities, and jobs. Include "Haiti" in your search terms and you’ll get a lot of Haiti-related opportunities for many (but not all) cities.
Guidestar is a group that works towards transparency and efficiency for all non-profits and tries to be a resource for donors as they decide which groups should receive their money. The Guidestar database is another good place to look up non-profits. Go to guidestar.org and then click Advanced Search on the home page. Use the keyword "Haiti" and search in your geographical area. The non-profits you find may be a good place to start looking for Creole speakers and other ways to become more involved.
Books and Articles about Haiti (history, culture, politics, fiction, poetry, etc.) written in English
- Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go: A Novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner
- Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder
- The Comedians by Graham Greene
- The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer
- Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer
- Paradise Lost: Haiti’s Tumultuous Journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World Hotspot by Philippe Girard
- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
- The Rainy Season: Haiti – Then and Now by Amy Wilentz
- Voodoo in Haiti by Alfred Metraux
- The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist’s Astonishing Journey Into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic by Wade Davis
- Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
- Hidden Meanings: Truth and Secret in Haiti’s Creole Proverbs by Wally Turnbull
- Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
- How Haiti Saved America article in the Boston Globe