Despite the fact that Christopher Columbus conquered the entire island in the name of Spain, the languages separated slowly but progressively. The eastern half, which became the Dominican Republic, preserved Spanish as the common language, and the western half, modern-day Haiti, evolved a French-influenced Creole as the common speech.
These linguistic differences still exist today. Most Dominicans are fluent in Spanish, while most Haitians speak Creole. Even though there are some Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic, most Dominicans have no knowledge of Creole.
Another difference between the two countries is their culture. While the Dominicans enjoy many European traditions such as Christmas, New Year's, and Easter, the Haitians mainly celebrate Christian holidays such as Bastille Day, Labor Day, and All Saints' Day.
In addition, the Dominicans are known for their love of baseball, while the Haitians prefer football (soccer). Finally, the Dominicans like to party hard during their weekends, while the Haitians like to rest after a hard week of work.
Overall, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have many similarities but also differ significantly in language, culture, and sports. These differences make each country unique.
The official languages of Haiti are Haitian Creole and French. On December 6, 1492, Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola and discovered a country headed by a cacique, or Taino Indian leader. The country was named Haiti after its primary tribe, the Arawaks.
Haiti's first Spanish settlers were soldiers who came to fight Native Americans. They brought the Catholic Church as well as their language, Spanish. Over time, the natives began to adopt some words into their own language from the colonists, like caballero for gentleman and burro for "donkey".
In 1791, a young Frenchman named Jean-Jacques Dessalines led an army that overthrew the last French colonial ruler in Haiti and established a new government in Port-au-Prince under the French Constitution. This period is known as la Desesperation (the desperate times). There was poverty, disease, and violence throughout the country. In 1804, Napoleon invaded Haiti and captured Jean-Jacques. He took him back to France where he was imprisoned until his death in 1825. During this time, Haiti became one of the first countries in Latin America to abolish slavery. In 1847, after being liberated from French rule, Haitians voted to make French their official language over English. However, since then, only French is officially used in government affairs and education.
Haitian descendants who have lived in the Dominican Republic for several generations tend to speak a broken version of Spanish with a pronounced Haitian accent, even more than Haitian Creole, in the same way that many educated Haitian Americans speak English more than Creole.
This is because the Dominican Republic is a very multicultural country with people of African, Hispanic, and indigenous American descent as well as others. Thus, Haitian immigrants brought their language with them to the Dominican Republic.
According to the latest statistics published by the government of the Dominican Republic, about half of all Dominicans can speak some Haitian Creole. That's approximately 6 million people. The other half consists of Spaniards who, despite not having any historical connection to Haiti, also speak Haitian Creole as a second language. There are nearly 3 million people in this group.
Dominican officials claim that most people only learn Haitian Creole because of its use in television and movies but say there is no evidence of actual migration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. However, some researchers believe that there may be a secret diaspora of Haitians out of the Dominican Republic. They point to the fact that many Dominican names beginning with "Jean" and "Jhon" are actually derived from Haitian Creole rather than Spanish.
The Louisiana Creole blends French with African language vocabulary, whereas the Haitian Creole incorporates more Spanish and Portuguese terms (because, as an island, it ships from many nations). The distinctions between these languages are more than phonetic because of variances in root words. For example, "parler" means "to talk" in French but "to speak" in Spanish.
Both Louisiana and Haiti are members of the Caribbean community and share a common history of colonization by France, Spain, and Belgium. However, they use different languages within their borders. Louisiana is officially a bilingual state, with English and French being the two most spoken languages. In contrast, Haiti is a monolingual country where French is the only official language.
Even though both Louisiana and Haiti are small countries, they have large Cuban-American and Dominican-American populations respectively. These people migrated to America looking for work and have since made a mark on American culture through music, sports, and food.
Louisiana was originally colonized by France, which is why you will find many French terms in its dialect. For example, "accent" means "tone" or "mark" in the linguistic sense. In fact, the word "accent" comes from the Latin word accentus, meaning "placing on top".
Haiti's religion and language are also considerably different from those of the United States. Americans speak English, one of the languages brought by the settlers who ruled the country. The language of Haiti is a unique blend of French, African, and indigenous languages. It has its own alphabet but most people today only know how to read and write in French.
Like many other countries in Latin America, Catholicism is the main religion in Haiti. Although most Haitians are Catholic, many others follow various Protestant sects. In fact, out of every 100 Catholics, 95 go to church regularly but only 20 percent of them do so every week.
In terms of practice, religion in Haiti is very different from that of the United States. For example, there is no religious freedom in Haiti; everyone is expected to attend church on a regular basis. If a person does not have anything useful to say about Jesus or does not want to listen to sermons, this is perfectly acceptable. There are even whole churches with no pastor at all!
During Holy Week, which is based on the story of Christ's death and resurrection, people travel to church-owned areas called "péninsules" to watch processions and hear speeches. These events can be quite dramatic with actors wearing costumes and playing important roles. Then, after the ceremonies, there will be food and drink for everyone to enjoy.
The Dominican Republic, which was once governed by Spain, shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, a former French province. The Caribbean country is a popular tourist destination.
Spanish is the official language in both countries. Haitian Creole is also widely spoken.
In 1844, after the abolition of slavery, free blacks were allowed to live in Dominican cities with permission from the government. These "pardos" (as they are called) were not granted full citizenship rights until 1930 when Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo declared that race had nothing to do with politics. Before this time, many black Dominicans received land grants or other incentives from the government to move there and work the sugar cane fields. These immigrants became an important part of the population of the country and added their own languages to the mix - some speaking English, others French or Portuguese.
Black people have been able to receive education in Dominican schools since the early years of the country's history. In fact, the first university in the Western Hemisphere was founded by a Spaniard in 1860. It is now known as the University of Santo Domingo.
Today, African descendants make up about 95% of the Dominican population. They account for more than half of all marriages registered by civil authorities (52%).