The story behind Haitian Creole

What is Haitian Creole? Before we answer this question, we should clarify what Creole actually is. The term comes from a Portuguese word that means “raised in the home,” and referred to Europeans that were raised in overseas colonies. Later on, it came to describe the languages that arose in the plantations that were worked by African slaves, brought over to French and English colonies, for example. Haitian Creole in itself arose as an effort of those very slaves, who strived to speak the French they heard, and thus led to a creation of an entirely new and independent language, Haitian Creole. It’s important to note that at the time the French spoken in Haiti by the majority of the people (Popular French) was different from that of the ruling classes. It’s this popular French that the African slaves tried to emulate, and as new slaves arrived they communicated with those already on the island in the newly-formed Creole, a mix of popular French and the various African dialects (we have to remember that slaves at that time came from several different parts of Africa and that the dialects were therefore different for all of them).
Today, Creole certainly retains some African elements, especially in its grammar (as complex as English, French, etc). However, the majority of the language is of French origin. Despite this, French speakers may not comprehend it easily due to the varying and drastic changes that have been made to the “original” French in order to arrive at the Creole variants.
Haitian Creole is the official language of Haiti. Despite having originated as a way for slaves to communicate with each other and to better assimilate with their surroundings, the language was also picked up by white people and became the language used in general by those born in the colonies.