Tuesday September 12, 2006

Ile Orishas

some sort of hair thing with a handle

Ile Orishas is an amazing looking botanica in Hialeah, with a great web site, full of incredible photos. Check out this one, for example. Well worth exploring. Information about botanicas in english here. “Santería and South Florida” essay by Chris Leonidas here. (via Reunion-USA2, which also linked here. And so, does anyone know enough Creole to be able to translate what they said? I have a general idea, but am still curious.) Update: It’s French. See comments for translation.


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  1. KH    Tue Sep 12, 07:46 AM #  

    That was French, not Kreyol.

    He said(paraphrased):

    I’m beginning my collection of Miami blogs with this one—CM—which I chanced upon while searching for info about the best Chinese restaurant in the city (and yeah, my food searches lead to everything). Written by “Alex” a Cszech (sp?) living in Miami since 1980, he shows that you don’t have to be a native to know a little about the city. In one of his earlier posts, he spoke of his preparations before the storm; his list of emergency rations is the funniest: blah, blah, blah [all your storm food], not omitting alchohol, which is indispensible (for drinking) in the case that the water gets cut off. I’m going to read his archives.

    [I did the speedy translation here, so forgive the clumsiness!]

  2. KH    Tue Sep 12, 07:48 AM #  

    Oops! Sorry, that was “Chinese market”, not restaurant, duh! I was kind of writing that part without flipping over to the other window to verify it . . .

  3. alesh    Tue Sep 12, 08:09 AM #  

    Wow, that’s pretty funny; I was telling Steve about this, and he said Creole was really difficult to read, much closer to French in the spoken form then the written. I told him I could sort of figure it out, but now I see why. “Creole” beats “Kreyol” in Google search results 16 to 1, so I’m sticking with it for now.

    I hope he didn’t say I omitted alcohol; it was #3 on my list.

    Thanks, KH.

  4. alesh    Tue Sep 12, 08:14 AM #  

    hmm…. a search for “chinese market miami” points to the CM post for Maggie’s, not Lucky, as it should.

  5. Marquis DeSade    Tue Sep 12, 09:10 AM #  

    You can find similar items to the one pictured above in various specialty shops around town. My preference is The Fetish Box, in Dania Beach. They also feature an extensive collection of nipple clamps, attractive devices for which I understand Alesh entertains special fondness. Bon temps, oui?

  6. Betty Boop    Tue Sep 12, 01:11 PM #  

    Dear Marquis, that’s a hair whip/turkey baster, you old fool!

  7. KH    Tue Sep 12, 05:46 PM #  

    Nono, NOT omitting—as in INCLUDING alcohol! He thought it was hilarious that you included alcohol—that it is important to have alcohol in case your water gets cut off so that you have something to drink.

  8. KH    Tue Sep 12, 11:36 PM #  

    In France, French is “Français”, in Germany, German is “Deutsch”, in Haiti, Haitian Creole is “Kreyol”.

    However, the problem with only saying “Creole” instead of “Kreyol” is that there are many different types of spoken Creole (from various countries and regions), and just because you speak the one doesn’t mean you’ll understand the other.

    The word Creole also refers to a type of Louisianan culture.

    But you keep on keepin’ on with your colonial usage, see if I care!

  9. alesh    Wed Sep 13, 07:33 AM #  

    I don’t know why, but folks tend to rename the places and things of folks who speak a different language. What you’re implying is that all city, country, and probably river names be said in their own language. I’m sure there’s a good argument to be made for it, but for now I’ll just stick to being the evil white male, and keep calling them French.

    Btw, it’s “Čeština” if you ever want to correct anyone referring to my language. . .

  10. KH    Wed Sep 13, 08:16 AM #  

    Awesome, thanks!

    But that isn’t what I was saying. I was explaining how Kreyol is different from the word Italiano. There are not tens (hundreds?) of languages out in the world which you can justly call “Italiano” (or even “Italian”, but there are those which you can call Creole. Using “Kreyol” instead makes it more clear.

    I though you might appreciate a more informative take on the usage instead of relying on google page comparisons.


  11. alesh    Wed Sep 13, 08:31 AM #  

    Google page comparisons rule my world, KH. (ps I just searched my site for “Google” and the internet flowed backwards for a split second!)

    OK, I understand the distinction, and I do appreciate the information. “Chinese” is the same way, of course—it encapsulates many different languages.

    But why would you think that using “Kreyol” makes anything more clear?

  12. NicFitKid    Wed Sep 13, 10:29 AM #  

    I’m hardly an expert, but I think Haitian Creole was an oral language until sometime this century, with French being the original official literate language of Haiti. Anybody know which individual, organization, and/or process developed the current written form of “Kreyòl Ayisyen?” My guess would be that missionaries were involved, since written Kreyòl seems to have had its borrowed French words transformed with phonetic spellings, and missionaries have regularly taken the oral languages of many peoples and converted them into a written form using some standard of phonetics and a Romanized alphabet.

    So perhaps “Kreyòl” versus “Creole” refers more specifically to the Haitian version (as opposed to other Creole languages that developed in other colonies of France, Portugal, Spain, etc.). Of course, this specifity would be compromised if the spelling “Kreyòl” is not unique to Haiti. It’s entirely likely that another group of Creole speakers also got the missionary treatment, and ended up with a phonetically written language that also has the “Kreyòl” spelling.

    Just some wild-ass guessing on my part. Anybody out there with a stronger understanding and background in syncretic colonial languages and their history want to pitch in?

  13. KH    Thu Sep 14, 12:36 AM #  

    I think that the spelling/written form came to be more widely accepted and used very recently (‘80’s?), which was in part politically motivated (to forge new cultural identity, to lessen the chance of the populace to suffer under oppression, etc.). I also think journalists, poets and authors were more instrumental than missionaries, but I’m not certain.

    I know there’s no letter C in written Kreyòl, nor is there a phonic equivalent of the “u” sound as in the French word “voiture”; it’s more than a phoneticized French.

    A great (somewhat relevant) film to watch is The Agronomist, directed by Jonathan Demme. Really great.