frase di awe: sports rulebooks

Over on Kiko Ta Pasando an article appeared several months ago about a new softball rulebook published in Papiamentu: Reglanan Ofisial di Sòfbòl 2014-2017 na Papiamentu.

The article contains this interesting historical note, which can serve as our Sentence(s) of the Day:

Na aña 1938 Dokter Antoin Maduro tabata e promé hende ku a tradusí un buki di regla di deporte na Papiamentu. E tempu ei tabata e buki di regla di futbòl.

loose translation: In the year 1938 Dr. Antoine Maduro was the first person who translated a book of sports rules into Papiamentu. At that time the rulebook was about soccer.

If you haven’t heard of Antoine Maduro here is a very brief explanation of who he was.

add to our vocabulary:

tradusí : translate
regla : rule, regulation
deporte : sport(s)
sòfbòl : softball (the English form softball is often used)


frase di awe 2017-01-07

Sentence of the day! From an article on retkaribense about the family of a man killed by Dutch police trying to get all of the involved officers prosecuted:

E turista arubano a fayesé na yüni di 2015 di violensia ekstremo ku polisnan a usa ora a arest’é.
The Aruban tourist died in June of 2015 from extreme violence that the police used when they arrested him.

add to our vocabulary:

fayesé : to pass away, to die
usa : to use, to utilize
arestá : to arrest; a arest’é : arrested him/her

If you want a bit of background (in English) about Mitch Henriquez’ death you can read this article.

If you’re making flash-cards of vocabulary words to study, do you include obvious words like turista and ekstremo or not?


Wikipedia na Papiamentu

While browsing the Papiamentu version of Wikipedia I was pleasantly surprised to find a long and detailed article about Elis Juliana (a Papiamentu author and poet among many other things). You might like it too.


listening practice: kambio di aña trankil

In the video clip below from TeleCuracao a police spokesperson discusses the relative tranquility of the recent kambio di aña (changing of the year, the hours when one year ends and another begins). Listen carefully and you will hear a lot of already-familiar or obvious words float by. One word that was new to me was kouteloso = cautious, careful.


calendar in Papiamentu

To see or download a very basic Papiamentu calendar for 2017, follow this link.

Is there any source for a nice kalènder na Papiamentu with moon phases and Curaçao holidays? If you know of any source, please post a message in the Comments section below.


Sentences for Absolute Beginners

Based on the idea of mainly studying sentences rather than vocabulary lists and abstract grammar rules… Under that plan, what would an absolute beginner start with? Maybe sentences like these:

Bon tardi. 
Good afternoon.
Mi yama ____.
My name is…… (I am called……)

Mi ta mama di Maria. 
I am Maria’s mother.
Mi no ta mama di Maria.
I am not Maria’s mother.

Mi ta tata di Maria.
I am Maria’s father.
Mi no ta tata di Maria.
I am not Maria’s father.

Those six sentences introduced the copula, possession and negation. Of course you’d need a teacher or some recordings to demonstrate the pronunciation, but those first sentences only use three different vowels, which would make the first lesson in pronunciation easy. Next we’d add e and u to the vowel inventory.

Bon dia, Maria. 
Good morning, Maria.
Muchu gustu. 
Very pleased (to meet you, or whatever).
Un plaser.
(It is) a pleasure (to meet you, etc).

Por fabor, papia poko poko.
Please speak slowly.
Mi ke papia bon. 
I want to speak well.
Mi ke lesa un buki na papiamentu.
I want to read a book in Papiamentu.

At this point the five main vowels are done and some useful phrases have been introduced. Next come the “non-Spanish vowels.”

Kiko señor ke kome?
What would you like to eat, sir?
Hòdòk òf pòrkchòp?
Hotdog or porkchop?
Sèntwich òf spaguèti?
Sandwich or spaghetti?
Kiko señora ke bebe?
What would you like to drink, ma’am?
Sòft òf kòfi? 
Soft drink or coffee?

Mi por hür un outo pa trinta minüt?
Can I rent a car for thirty minutes?
E brùg aki ta hopi drùk. 
This bridge is very busy.
Tin muchu bùs i trùk.
There are many buses and trucks.

In addition to demonstrating the vowels, examples like these would gently illustrate that the sequence of words is different in many Papiamentu sentences compared to their English counterparts.


frase di awe 2017-01-02

Segun sifranan preliminar, kresementu ekonómiko di Kòrsou tabata nulo (0,0%) na 2016.

= According to preliminary figures, the economic growth of Curaçao was nil (0.0%) in 2016.

add to our vocabulary:

kresementu : growth (derived from the verb krese)
nulo : nil, zero
preliminar : preliminary
segun : according to
sifranan : statistics, figures


kresementu ekonómiko : an adjective usually comes after the modified noun
na 2016 : “in” or “during” a certain year is expressed with na
(0,0%) : Papiamentu uses a comma instead of a period to indicate the decimal point


frase di awe (Papiamentu sentences)

frase di awe
Literal translation: sentence(s) of today
Free translation: The sentence of the day!

Bon aña! = (Have a) good year!
Próspero aña nobo. = (Have a) prosperous new year!
Nos ta na komienso di un aña nobo. = We are at the start of a new year.
Mi ta deseá boso tur hopi felisidat den aña nobo. = I wish for all of you much happiness in the new year.

add to our vocabulary:

bon : good (has a nasalized vowel, more like French bon than English bone)
aña : year (nasalized glide slightly different from the -ny- in English canyon/onion)
boso tur : all of you
hopi felisidat : a lot of happiness, a great deal of happiness
na komienso di : at the start of, in the beginning of

Language Learning Tips Found Online

Learn pronunciation first as described in this article. This used to be impossible with Papiamentu unless you had face-to-face access to native speakers. But in recent years many radio stations have become available through internet streaming and many TV news reports and commercials have been posted on YouTube. Good models of speech are available now.

If you don’t learn correct pronunciation at the start you’ll have trouble keeping similar words correctly separated in your memory. Also you will have to put a lot of energy into correcting your pronunciation later.

Study sentences rather than isolated words. Study sentences doesn’t mean memorize sentences— it means savor, ponder, and reflect on sentences. By letting our attention linger on complete sentences we pick up the nuances of words and we learn the phrases in which they most commonly occur. Check out this thread on Reddit. (And here’s a backup copy of that thread.)

Learn Papiamentu / Papiamento

Note to newcomers: This blog is for those who want to learn a little Papiamentu or anyone who simply admires the language. Posts are divided into categories such as Vocabulary, Easy Reading and Music.

There are pointers to Lessons and Textbooks. Interesting Books and Videos are mentioned. Sources of News Articles for reading practice are listed.

We focus on the Curaçao-Bonaire variety rather than the Aruba variety of the language. The two spelling systems are so different that it seems advisable to select one or the other. There are some other differences also.

Thanks for visiting! Feel free to return whenever you feel the need for a little Papiamentu.


Humans of Willemstad & Kralendijk

You’ve probably heard of the Humans of New York project. On Facebook you will find a similar Humans of Willemstad page and a Humans of Kralendijk page. People out in public are photographed and asked to say something about themselves. Often their transcribed comments are in Papiamentu, but sometimes in Dutch or English. Interesting!