Haitian Creole: Use of definite article with possessives

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New Member
English - UK

I've started to learn Haitian Creole using a course book and I have a question about using the definite article with possessives. So far I know that to say, for example:
my house - kay mwen
my houses - kay mwen yo

and have therefore deduced that the article is not needed for singular nouns but is for plural nouns. Another example:
your car - machin ou
your cars - machin ou yo

However I have seen the use of the singular article with possessives and wanted to know why it is used and if it needs to be used. For example:
"Mwen genyen panye ou a" - I have your basket
"Pran zoranj mwen an" - Take my orange
Is the 'a' or the 'an' necessary? If not, then when should it be used? Or is it just a question of style and emphasis?

Mèsi anpil.
  • jamaisvu

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Sometimes just the noun can be singular or plural, and you add the "a" or "la" or "nan" or "lan" to make it clear that it's singular and that it's an object you have already discussed.

    M gen plim = I have at least one pen OR I have pens
    M gen yon plim = I have a pen
    M gen plim yo = I have the pens
    M gen plim ou a =I have your pen that we both already know about (because I borrowed it, etc.)

    If you say "pran zoranj mwen" that could mean "take my orange" or, "take my oranges." So that's why you add the article.

    That said, I'm not a native speaker and am learning this language myself.

    Also, the "a" or whatever article can follow a topic that you have discussed with someone. For example, the text I'm working on says:
    "Ti gason ou kite san ou pa fè entèman li a."
    You left your son there without giving him the burial [that we've talked about]

    Some Haitians have told me that in that circumstance, the "a" can be for emphasis.

    Not a great answer, but I figured it had been a while and nobody had responded...


    New Member
    English - UK

    Thanks for your reply and the clarification. In the book I'm using to start off with these things aren't totally clear, so your comment is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again :)
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