still alive

Not dead. Just thinking. This blog needs a reboot. Perhaps a grand re-opening on January 1st.


Learn Papiamento / Papiamentu

This is a monthly message explaining the purpose of this blog. You are tuned to ‘Papiamentu tur dia,’ a resource for English-speakers who want to study or learn the language Papiamentu a.k.a. Papiamento.

You can use the categories (kategoria) visible on the right-hand side of the page to find posts about a particular topic. For example, information about pronouncing the language is in the ‘fonologia’ category.

I also maintain a list of links to websites that students will find interesting and/or helpful.

Feel free to post a comment.


baranka, buraku, buriku

I'm having trouble keeping these three words correct in my memory: baranka, buraku, buriku.

Sometimes I can remember buriku (donkey) by thinking of the Spanish word burro and then thinking of Riku, which is one of my nicknames.

Need to find a memory-hook for baranka (rock) and buraku (hole), something for the memory to hang its hat on.

Buraku probably comes from Portuguese buraco, but what’s the source of baranka?


uTalk HD app

EuroTalk has an iPhone-iPod-iPad app called uTalk HD. If you go to the App Store and search for Papiamento, it will be the only search result. It costs $9.99 in the US.

In this app you will see Papi words/phrases (Curaçao orthography) and hear them pronounced quickly but clearly. If you tap the same word two times, you will hear it spoken by a man and then by a woman, or vice versa. There are some rudimentary matching games that test your knowledge of the items that have been presented.

The vocabulary presented is pretty small, 275 words/phrases according to the official description, and somewhat tourist-oriented, which might not be a bad thing.


link: Cushina Arubiano

Cushina Arubiano is a blog of recipes written in the Aruba style of Papiamento. It has not been updated recently but it is still a source of brief and potentially useful texts to study.


false friends

You can guess the meanings of many Papiamentu words the first time you see them. But there are some boobytraps in the vocabulary. I suppose I should start a list.

bringa means “to fight”
desgrasia means “an accident or tragedy”
sende means “to ignite something”
sonrisa means “a smile”


a Bonaire orthography?

Now that Bonaire has more autonomy, we students dread the possibility that its government might invent a third system for writing Papiamentu. Radio Netherlands did a brief article about this idea. The page includes an interesting audio clip of an interview with linguist Igma van Putte.


weather in Holland

From the Radio Netherlands website. Just a short, simple text, but every encounter with the language strengthens our vocabulary and grammar.

Wer na Hulanda: Awa ta yobe i ta pasa di parti nort di Hulanda pa parti sùit. Mèrdia ta seku i temperatura ta 15 grado. Bientu ta supla un tiki fuerte for di wèst. Den wikènt ta bira mas seku i solo lo bria.

Words I had to look up:

wer = weather
supla = to blow
bria = to shine (compare to Esperanto brilas)

wikènt (weekend) is a good example of voiced consonants at the ends of syllables becoming voiceless when words are borrowed into Papiamentu. Another example is wepsait (website)


músika: Tur Kos ta Posibel

Here is an uplifting song with its lyrics displayed on-screen:


link: Mal Prensa

Malprensa.com is a Papiamentu blog of assorted news and craziness, updated daily. “Nos ta duna e leente news den differente kategoria nan manera: music, sports, gadgets, humor, sarcasme I hopi sorto di bullshit mas.”

Somebody is putting a lot of energy into it so let's give them some appreciation.


a brief ghost story

Mi tin set. = I am thirsty.
kana keiru = walk around

Here is a very short ghost story – well, more like a report of a ghost, than an actual narrative – from the book Zumbi Spiritu Almasola by Pierre Lauffer (1975).

Parse ku den Sabana di Wespen tin un zumbi bisti tur na pretu, ta kana keiru tur anochi. Anto e ta sklama: “Mi tin set. Dunami poko awa.”

Obensio di Wespen ta kere ku ta un homber ku a kai muri den Sabana di Wespen.