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Haitian Creole is a fascinating language spoken primarily in Haiti by approximately 8.5 million people, and another 3.5 people around the world as a result of Haitian immigration. Mixing grammar and vocabulary from French and myriad African tongues, what are the unique features of this language?
The language is hugely based on French with a strong West African influence, including the Wolof, Fon, and Ewe languages. African slaves were brought to modern-day Haiti by the French to work in the burgeoning sugarcane industry. In order for African slaves and the French to communicate, slaves took the French language and mixed it with the vernacular and structure of their native languages.
Haitian Creole is actually not difficult to learn. Given that it has no conjugation, and that it shares many cognates with English and French, it is considered a very easy language. Given the strong French influence, francophones would have an even easier time in learning it.
For a rather small island, Haiti boasts a wide array of ways to speak Creole, which can mainly be separated into Northern, Central and Southern dialects. Larger cities, like Port-de-Paix and Cap Haitien, speak a Creole more heavily based on French (still the language of the elite), while more rural communities speak a Creole more distanced from standard French.
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