2017-01-03

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.