New Book: Hector Poullet’s « Eléments pour un dictionnaire historique du créole guadeloupéen »


Hector Poullet’s Eléments pour un dictionnaire historique du créole guadeloupéen [Elements of a historical dictionary of Guadeloupean Creole] was published this month by Caraïbéditions. Here is a brief description:

The history of a language is inseparable from the history of the country or countries where the language is spoken. Philology can be traced back through the written word, the origin of a word. Our work presents the origins of a thousand Creole words—which history has left us as a legacy—from various languages.

These languages often do not have written records, either because the Amerindian and African languages of that time were not not written, or because the servicemen and sailors from France and other European countries often did not know how to read or write and spoke a dialect variant of French, Spanish, or other languages.

Therefore, in this book we can discover: that kwi was an Amerindian word (Taíno or Arawak); that moun comes from the French “world” [monde]; sipé is of Latin origin (recepere); that krazi comes from the Picard crasille; that krasè, avaricious, from Martinique Creole, comes from the name Crassius, high dignitary of ancient Rome, who was stingy; that zwèl comes from the English “is well”; that neg-mawon come from the Spanish cimarrón; that pawoka, comes from Tamil; that annen, big brother, comes from Hindi; that zouk comes from mazouk, which comes from the Polish mazurka; and finally, that the name Guadeloupe comes from the Arabic Oued el houb, the river of love, from the Moors who occupied Spain for six centuries.

For original post (in French), see

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