Difference between Haitian Creole and Portuguese Creole

Did you know the only indisputable fact about the Creole language is that it evolved out of the desperation of the African slaves in the Caribbean to communicate in private? They needed a way of fooling their French masters and so the slaves developed this unique language.

Because of its uniqueness, people new to the language often enlist the help of a French Creole interpreter whenever they need to communicate effectively with the locals.

Variants of the Creole Language

Drawn from African grammar and several mispronounced French words distorted beyond recognition, creole has many variants, which like the coronavirus, keeps mutating into new forms depending on where it is spoken and by whom.

Truth be told, in its present forms, it is not an exaggeration to say it is a combination of various languages such that the Creole spoken in Haiti is not the same as that spoken in Louisiana. And if for instance, people familiar with Haitian creole go to Cape Verde, they might encounter communication difficulties not unless they hire the services of a Cape Verdean interpreter. The reason is simple—Portuguese Creole is predominantly used in Cape Verde.

So, What Are the Differences Between Portuguese and Haitian Creole?

As noted above, the Creole language exists in many forms, but according to historical records, only four main types have been documented: Maroon creoles, plantation creoles, creolized pidgin, and fort creoles. What perhaps differentiates one form of the creole language from another is where it is used. If you travel from Cape Verde to Haiti, you will need the assistance of a Haitian Creole Translator, to find your way around.

Influences by Location and Spelling System

  • Haitian Creole has a unique spelling system. It is mainly developed from French words and West African grammar.
  • Portuguese creole is drawn from Portuguese and Spanish languages. These creole languages have Portuguese as their main lexifier.
  • The Portuguese creole is mainly spoken on the islands of Cape Verde while the Haitian Creole, which is French-based, is substantially used by emigrants living in Cayenne neighborhoods.
  • The grammar of these respective languages is different. For instance, the verbs in Haitian Creole are never conjugated.
  • Depending on the absence or presence of certain specific tense markers preceding verbs, the tenses in Haitian Creole are understood differently.
  • Although about 85% of the vocabulary is similar, several cognate terms between the two languages differ where words have the same linguistic derivations as another.
  • Unlike Haitian Creole, the Portuguese variant shows morphological patterns that borrow from languages with inflections such as Portuguese or Latin.
  • There are clear distinctions between suffixes, stems, and roots in the Portuguese creole. The language also exhibits verbal inflections.

Conclusions about Structural Differences

One conclusion that about the differences between various forms of creoles is that structural variations are arising from many substrates influences each type of creole retains from its pidgin stage.

Overall, the lexifier languages from which many of the vocabularies have been inherited are the same. However, adults based on the universals of acquiring a second language, which under specific circumstances permit substrate influences, formed all creoles.

To fully understand the development of various types of creole languages, a lot of research still needs to be carried out. What necessitates this is the limitation of information about the vernaculars European colonialists spoke.

This limitation makes the assessment of the levels of restructuring involved in the formation of each type of creole difficult. Making a comprehensive comparison between different creoles or fully understand the extent and nature of divergence the lexifiers have undergone is impossible.

Therefore, apart from the unique conditions of their development, little has been documented about how creoles differ from other vernaculars in terms of their evolution.