In general, other Creoles spoken around the world have, over the course of their existence, gotten rid of gender. That’s to say that, the masculine and feminine articles have been dropped off, and are therefore no longer used. Or perhaps never were.
In Louisiana Creole, we do not see gender in adjectives, however we do sometimes see them in articles.
Articles in Louisiana Creole can be tedious and by all means, confusing. I suggest reading this lesson thoroughly once, then moving on to another lesson, then returning to this one.
Below is a set of charts to guide you through the Article System in Louisiana Creole.
Definite Articles in Louisiana Creole
Definite articles are: ‘The’ is the definite article in English. It is variable, meaning it is not restricted by gender of the noun following it in English. In Creole it is invariable, which means that it can be restricted by gender of the noun following it.
Definite articles in English are: the
Definite articles in Creole are: la (singular), -yé (plural) and on occasion le (preceding the noun).
*Exercises with’agglutinated’ articles:
1. Lamézon. (Notice that ‘lamézon’ is one word).
Indefinite Articles in Louisiana Creole
Indefinite articles are: ‘A’ and ‘An’ in English are articles referring to any member of a group, and are used with singular nouns.
Indefinite articles in English are: A, An
Indefinite articles in Creole are: Un /uhn/(masculine), Unn /ahn, ann/ (feminine)
There is no relationship between ‘An’ (English) and ‘Ann’ (Creole), despite the resemblance in the spelling. The sound is the same, though.
1. Mo va ashté mo un liv.
I will buy me a book.
2. Çété unn bétiz.
It was a joke.
3. Li gain un gro shar.
She has a big car.
4. Zòt t’olé mèt unn dépomm avèk ça?
You wanted to put an apple with that?
5. Va shèshé un morso pinmaï pou mò, sivouplé.
Go get a piece of cornbread for me, please.
Partitive Articles in Louisiana Creole
Partitive articles: indicate an indefinite quantity of mass nouns. Mass nouns are nouns which have no plural form (sand, oil, honesty, for example).
The partitive article does not exist in English, but corresponds to ‘some’ and/or ‘any’. (Would you like some Sprite? Would happen to have any Boudin?)
Creole sometimes will omit Partitive Articles. This may be the general nature of Creole. Where French is spoken, the Partitive may have been reintroduced into that particular Creole dialect (Suggesting that Partitives were initially used in Creole. We have no evidence to base this on, but it’s worth investigating.).
Another spin: in Creole, some Partitives have permanently fixed themselves to the nouns, becoming one word. (e.g. Dilo/Dolo (Water), Djuri/Diri (Rice), Dépomm (Apple(s))). See examples below.
Equivalent in English: Some, Any
Partitive articles in Creole are: Dju /jew/ or Di (masculine), de la /duh lah/ (feminine), dê /day/ (plural)
Examples with Partitives:
1. M’olé fé mo dju gombô.
I would like to make myself some gumbo.
2. Èskè vou olé dilo?
Would you like some water?
3. Vou-zòt gain dju kafé?
Do you guys have any coffee?
4. M’alé mèt dépomm endan.
I’m going to put some apples inside.
5. Vou sé gain kèk fwi pou mò?
Would you have any fruit for me?