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Papiamentu for Beginners

Papiamentu, or Papiamento, is the primary language spoken on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao (the "ABC islands").It's a creole language with roots in mainly Portuguese and Spanish, and to a lesser extent Dutch, African, and Native Indian languages.

The language started in Curaçao when Curaçao was invaded by the Spanish in the 1520s. The natives learned Spanish from the missionaries, then Holland took over the islands in 1634. The language further developed when African slaves had to communicate with their owners.

"Papia" is a Papiamentu word meaning "to speak". "-mentu" is a suffix meaning approximately "the way of doing something". Papiamentu translated would then be something like "the way of speaking".

Part one of this course is only intended for absolute beginners.

Part One - The Basics

Lesson 1: Pronunciation, Greetings & Phrases


Since Papiamentu comes from Portuguese and Spanish, it will contain many characteristics of these two Iberian languages.

 Letter Sampa IPA Equivalence
 A a  [ a ]  [ a ]  as a in "apple"
 E e  [ e ]  [ e ]  as e in "end"
 I i  [ i ]  [ i ]  as ee in "teeth"
 O o  [ o ]  [ o ]  as o in "ocean"
 U u  [ u ]  [ u ]  as u in "clue"
 Letter Sampa IPA Equivalence
 B b  [ b ]  [ b ]  as b in "bite"
 C c  [ k ]  [ k ]  as c in "cat"
 D d  [ d ]  [ d ]  as d in "dog"
 F f  [ f ]  [ f ]  as f in "feet"
 G g  [ g ]  [ g ]  as g in "gone"
 H h  [ h~x ]  [ h~x ]  as h in "hill"
 J j  [ j ]  [ j ]  as y in "yes"
 K k  [ k ]  [ k ]  as k in "key"
 L l  [ l ]  [ l ]  as l in "lap"
 M m  [ m ]  [ m ]  as m in "moon"
 N n  [ n ]  [ n ]  as n in "noon"
 Ñ ñ  [ J ]  [ ɲ ]  as ny in "canyon"
 P p  [ p ]  [ p ]  as p in "problem"
 Q q  [ q ]  [ q ]  as q in "quip"
 R r  [ r ]  [ r ]  Same as in Spanish (or the dd in "ladder")
 S s  [ s ]  [ s ]  as s in "sand"
 T t  [ t ]  [ t ]  as t in "top"
 V v  [ v ]  [ v ]  as v in "very"
 W w  [ w ]  [ w ]  as w in "wall"
 Y y  [ j ]  [ j ]  as y in "yell"
 Z z  [ z ]  [ z ]  as z in "zoo"

Papiamentu has a rare quality of creoles in that it also uses tones to differentiate between words. These tones are are marked using accent marks over vowels: high (´) and low (`). Some words with these marks:

 Vowels Samples
 á  altá, evitá
 é  étiko, platé
 í  asistí, tíket
 ó  holó, ferfdó
 ú  baúl, sunú
 è  agènda, balèt
 ò  blònt, fòndo
 ù  drùif, bùs

Papiamentu has two different forms of writing.
• The writing used in Aruba is more similar to that of Spanish. It takes it's spelling for words from way they are spelled in their source language. Ex: cas = casa, meaning "house".
• In Bonaire and Curacao, it would be based on one letter for a sound, making spelling more phonologically based. Ex: kas = casa, meaning "house".

Dutch origin words would be written with the Dutch letters. Ex: wak = waken, meaning "to watch" and buki = boek, meaning "book".

Greetings & Phrases

To round out the lesson, we will show you some basic greetings and phrases in Papiamentu.

 Bon bini  Welcome
 Bon dia  Good morning
 Bon tardi  Good afternoon
 Bon nochi  Good evening
 Con ta bai?  How are you?
 Mi ta bon  I'm fine
 Danki  Thank you (from Dutch)
 Por fabor  Please
 Di nada  Your welcome
 Sí  Yes
 No  No
 Ayó  Goodbye
 Te otro biaha  See you later


Exercise A: Read aloud:

1) evitá
2) blònt
3) preto
4) balèt
5) kas
6) tíket
7) bùs
8) agènda
9) outo
10) falis
11) altá
12) skol
13) spano
14) baúl
15) asistí
16) kacho
17) ferfdó
18) mucha homber
19) pushi
20) étiko
21) drùif
22) fòndo
23) mucha muher
24) muher
25) sunú
26) holó
27) buki
28) piska
29) platé
30) homber

Lesson 2: Personal Pronouns, "To Be", Articles

Personal Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. For example: he, herself, it, and this. If we replaced the nouns in the sentence "Please give the book to John" it would read "Please give it to him.". There are different types of pronouns. For now, we will look at the personal pronouns.

 Singular Plural
 1st person  mi, ami  I, me  nos  we, us
 2nd person  bo, abo  you  boso  you (all)
 3rd person  e  he, she, it  nan  they, them

"To Be"

Now that you know the personal pronouns, you need a verb to use them with. The English verb "to be" is "ta" in Papiamentu. Here is a chart showing "ta" with the personal pronouns.

 Singular Plural
 1st person  mi ta  I am  nos ta  we are
 2nd person  bo ta  you are  boso ta  you (all) are
 3rd person  e ta  he/she/it is  nan ta  they are

You should have noticed that "ta" did not change its form. Verbs do not change forms from person to person or number, as in Spanish and other European languages. Instead, they are changed by preverbal markers. We will look more at verbs later.


There are two types of articles in the English language: the definite article (the) and the indefinite article (a, an). We use the definite article when refering to a particular noun: "The book is red.", "The house was built". The indefinite article is used to refer to a non-specific noun: "She drove a car.", "They saw an elephant.".

In Papiamentu, the definite article is "e".

 e homber  the man
 e pushi  the cat
 e mener di skol i e studiante  the teacher and the student

The indefinite article is "un".

 un homber  a man
 un pushi  a cat
 un mener di skol i un studiante  a teacher and a student

These articles are used, irregardless of gender.

 un homber  a man (in Spanish: un hombre)
 un muher  a woman (in Spanish: una mujer)

You should have noticed something else in the above examples: the use of "i" as the conjunction "and". It's pronounced "ee".

Now we can make some build some basic sentences. Check in the vocabulary below for any words you don't know yet.

 Mi ta un homber.  I am a man.
 E ta un yefrou di skol .  She is a teacher.
 Nos ta un klas.  We are a class.
 Bo ta un muher.  You are a woman.
 E ta un pushi.  It is a cat.


 pushi  cat
 preto  black
 falis  suitcase
 homber  man
 muher  woman
 mener di skol  teacher (male)
 yefrou di skol  teacher (female)
 klas  class
 studiante  student
 grupo  group
 mucha muher  girl
 mucha homber  boy
 amigu  friend
 papa  father
 autor  writer
 kantante  singer
 bailadó  dancer (male)


Each lesson will come with some exercises so you can practice the grammar and vocabulary of the lesson.

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) E ta un studiante.
2) E homber ta un bailadó.
3) Bo ta un amigu.
4) E ta un papa.
5) Nos ta un grupo.

Exercise B: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) It is a suitcase.
2) He is a boy and she is a girl.
3) I am a writer.
4) She is a singer.
5) She is a mother.


After you've done the exercises you can check whether your answer is correct using the following solutions:

Solution of Exercise A:
1) She is a student.
2) He is a dancer.
3) You are a friend.
4) He is a father.
5) We are a group.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) E ta un falis.
2) E ta un mucha homber i e ta un mucha muher.
3) Ami ta un autor.
4) E ta un kantante.
5) E ta un mama.

Lesson 3: "To Have", Verb Tenses, Negation, Double Negatives

"To Have"

In the last lesson, we learned "ta", meaning "to be". Now we will show you "tin", which means "to have". Like "ta", it does not change it's form.

 Singular Plural
 1st person  mi tin  I have  nos tin  we have
 2nd person  bo tin  you have  boso tin  you (all) have
 3rd person  e tin  he/she/it has  nan tin  they have

And some examples of it's usage:

 Mi tin un buki.  I have a book.
 Bo tin un mener di skol .  You have a teacher (male).
 E tin un kachó.  He has a dog.
 E tin un pushi.  She has a cat.
 Nos tin un klas.  We have a class.
 Nan tin un kas.  They have a house.

Verb Tenses

As we've seen, in Papiamentu, verbs don't have any inflections such as tense or aspect. These are indicated by preverbal markers.

We learned the verb "ta" meaning "to be". However, it is also used in showing tense when used with other verbs. Using the verb "bai ("to go"), we can say "Mi bai skol" ("I go to school"). But this isn't very clear. Does it mean the person is going to school physically right now, or in general, as in daily? To clarify this, we use "ta" to show that the action is continuous.

We also need to use the present participle. It is the equivalent of adding "-ing" to a verb in English. In Papiamentu, this is done using the suffix "-ndo".

For verbs ending in "a" form, their present participle is created by replacing "a" with "ando":

 duna => dunando tuma => tumando huma => humando

For verbs ending in "e" or "i", replace the final "e" or "i" with the ending "iendo":

 haci => haciendo come => comiendo bini => biniendo

Exceptions are:

 ta => siendo  be => being
 tin => teniendo  have => having
 sa => sabiendo  know => knowing
 drumi => durmiendo  sleep => sleeping
 Verbs Objects Present Present Continuous
 tin = have  pushi = cat  Mi tin un pushi.  I have a cat.  Not done. Never combine "ta" and "tin".
 bai = go  skol = school  Mi bai na skol.  I go to school.  Mi ta baiendo skol.  I am going to school.
 wak = see  kas = house  Mi wak un kas.  I see a house.  Mi ta mirando un kas.  I am seeing a house.
 lesa = read  buki = book  Mi ta lesa un buki.  I read a book.  Mi ta lesando un buki.  I am reading a book.

Note: We used "mirando" instead of "wak". There is no "wakiendo". "mira" means "to look", and "wak" and "mira" can be used interchangably.

We can form the past (completed) and past continuous (completed an ongoing event) using "a" and "tabata", respectively.

 Past Past Continuous
 Mi a tin un pushi.  I had a cat.  Mi tabatin un pushi.  I used to have a cat.
 Mi a bai skol.  I went to school.  Mi tabata bai skol.  I used to go to school.
 Mi a wak un kas.  I saw a house.  Mi tabata wak un kas.  I used to see a house.
 Mi a lesa un buki.  I read a book.  Mi tabata lesa un buki.  I used to read a book.

  • When "tabata is used with "tin", they are joined to make "tabatin"
  • We used "wak" to say "I saw a house".

The last tense we will cover is the future tense. This is done by adding "lo" before or after the noun (or pronoun), before the verb.

 Lo mi tin un pushi.  Mi lo tin un pushi.  I will have a cat.
 Lo mi bai na skol.  Mi lo bai na skol.  I will go to school.
 Lo mi wak un kas.  Mi lo wak un kas.  I will see a house.
 Lo mi lesa un buki.  Mi lo lesa un buki.  I will read a book.


To negate a sentence in Papiamentu, we use the word "no", just like in Spanish and English. It is always placed before the verb.

 Mi no tin placa.  I have no money.
 Mi no ta kansá.  I am not tired.

Double Negatives

To create sentences using double negatives, we can use "no" with another Spanish word "nada", which means "nothing". It is used after the verb.

 Mi no tin nada.  I have nothing.  literally: I don't have nothing.
 Mi no ta wak nada.  I don't see anything.  literally: I don't see nothing.

If we want to say we have "none" of something, we use "no" with "ningun".

 Mi no tin ningun buki.  I have not a single book.  literally: I don't have none book.
 Mi no ta wak ningun hende.  I don't see anybody.  literally: I don't see none person.


 tin  to have
 bai  to go
 wak  to see
 lesa  to read
 sa  to know
 drumi  to sleep
 instruí  to teach
 siña  to learn
 skol  school
 kas  house
 buki  book
 spano  spanish
 kansá  tired
 kachó  dog
 placa  money
 hende  person
 na  at, to


Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Mi lo lesa un buki.
2) E tabata bai na skol.
3) E a bai na klas.
4) E ta un yefrou di skol i e ta un studiante.
5) E lo instruí e.
6) Nos lo siña.
7) E pushi ta drumi.

Exercise B: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) We saw the cat.
2) You (all) will go to school.
3) The man went to the house.
4) He saw the dog and the cat.
5) The girl has a friend.
6) I slept.
7) The dancer is a woman.

Exercise C: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) They did not sleep.
2) You do not know.
3) I do not have a suitcase.
4) I am not a dancer.
5) We do not know the man.
6) The woman is not a singer.
7) The dog will not sleep.


Solution of Exercise A:
1) I will read a book.
2) She used to go to school.
3) He went to class.
4) She is a teacher and he is a student.
5) She will teach him.
6) We will learn.
7) The cat is sleeping.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Nos a wak e pushi.
2) Boso lo bai na skol.
3) E homber a bai na e kas.
4) E a wak e kacho i e pushi.
5) E mucha muher tin un amigu.
6) Mi a drumi.
7) E bailadó ta un muher.

Solution of Exercise C:
1) Nan no ta drumi.
2) Bo no sa.
3) Mi no tin un falis.
4) Mi no ta un bailadó.
5) Nos no sa e homber.
6) E muher no ta un kantante.
7) E kacho lo no drumi.

Lesson 4: Numbers, Nouns, Plurals, Adjectives


We will start this lesson by learning both cardinal and ordinal numbers. The cardinal numbers are what we use for normal counting, while the ordinal numbers are how we say what "place" we are (first, second, etc). Except for "first", the ordinals are created by preceding the cardinal number with "di".

 Number Cardinal Ordinal
 0  zero, nul, nada 
 1  unu  prome(r), di prome(r)  first - 1st
 2  dos  di dos  second - 2nd
 3  tres  di tres  third - 3rd
 4  cuater  di cuater  fourth - 4th
 5  sinku, cincu  di sinku  fifth - 5th
 6  seis  di seis  sixth - 6th
 7  shete  (repeat pattern)
 8  ocho  
 9  nuebe  
 10  dies  
 11  diesun  
 12  diesdos  
 13  diestres  
 14  diescuater  
 15  diessinku  
 16  diesies  
 17  dieshete  
 18  diesocho  
 19  diesnuebe  
 20  binti  
 Number Cardinal Ordinal
 21  binti un  
 22  binti dos  
 23  binti tres  
 24  binti cuater  
 25  binti sinku  
 30  trinta  
 31  trinta un  
 32  trinta dos  
 33  trinta tres  
 40  cuarenta  
 50  cincuenta  
 60  sesenta  
 70  setenta  
 80  ochenta  
 90  nobenta  
 100  cien  
 200  dos cien  
 201  dos cien un  
 1000  mil  
 2000  dos mil  


Now we will talk a little more about nouns. Nouns in Papiamentu do not change their forms according to gender or tense, as in some languages, as you should have noticed already.

 E buki ta grandi.  The book is big.
 E lesa un buki.  She read the book.
 E pushi ta drumiendo.  The cat is sleeping.
 E ha un pushi.  She has a cat.


There are a few ways to make nouns plural, depending on how they use. We have already seen the first method.

 Mi ta un studiante.  I am a student.
 Nan ta studiante.  They are students.

Notice that "students" is plural, but no change was made. That is because the 3rd plural person pronoun ("nan") was used, and that implies plural. In fact, "nan" is the way we can make a plural when it isn't implied. It is added to the end of the noun. This would normally be done when the noun is followed by "ta", which could occur in a question (we will deal with interrogatives in the next lesson).

 Unda bo pushinan ta?  Where are your cats?
 Unda bo tin bo bukinan?  Where do you have your books.

When neither articles "e" or "un" are used, it is safe to assume the noun is plural.

 Mi ta lesa un buki.  I read a book.  Mi ta lesa buki.  I read books.
 Mi tin un pushi.  I have a cat.  Mi tin pushi.  I have cats.

The last way to make a noun plural is to use a number as a modifier.

 Mi lesa dos buki.  I read two books.
 Mi tin tres pushi.  I have three cats.


In Papiamentu, adjectives follow the noun they describe, as in Spanish.

 un buki nobo  a new book
 un homber altu  a tall man
 e kas grandi  the big house

Here is a list of common adjectives:

 afabel  friendly
 altu  tall
 baho  low
 barata  cheap
 bashí  empty
 bieu  old
 bon  good
 bunita  pretty, beautiful, handsome
 bòm  bottom
 chikitu  little, small
 debil  weak
 delegá  thin, skinny
 difísil  difficult
 diki  fat
 distinto  different
 duru  hard
 dushi  soft
 fásil  easy
 favorí  favorite
 felis  happy
 ferfelu  boring
 friu  cold
 fuerte  strong
 grandi  great, big, large
 grave  serious
 haltu  high
 hambrá  hungry
 hoben  young
 hundu  deep
 interesante  interesting
 kansá  tired
 karu  expensive
 kayente  hot
 kortiku  short
 largu  long
 lat  late
 liber  free
 limpi  clean
 mahos  ugly
 malu  sick, ill, bad
 mescos  same
 nobo  new
 okupá  busy
 peligroso  dangerous
 pober  poor
 pret  funny
 rápido  fast
 riku  rich
 salú  healthy
 scur  dark
 sed  thirsty
 seif  safe
 sushi  dirty
 tempran  early
 tras  slow
 tristu  sad
 yen  full


 hiba  to bring, carry
 kushna  to cook
 stima  to love
 kore  to drive
 opsekio  gift
 pera  pear
 hari  laugh
 scucha  listen
 té  tea
 awa  water
 tas  bag
 ariña  meal
 paraplu  umbrella
 habri  to open
 kore  to drive
 outo  car
 muchanan  children
 música  music
 baranka  rock
 apel  apple
 sonreí  smile
 ardbei  strawberry
 kantu  song


Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) E no ta mira mi.
2) E hiba seis opsekio.
3) E ha un buki nobo.
4) E lo bai e skol ferfelu.
5) Nan tin cinku kachó hamber.
6) Bo tin un pera.
7) Nos sonreí i nos hari.

Exercise B: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) The tea is hot.
2) The father carries a heavy bag.
3) The mother cooks a healthy meal.
4) The boy learns an interesting lesson.
5) The girl opens a small umbrella.
6) They drive a fast car.
7) Six children listen to soft music.
8) He is a good dancer.

Exercise C: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) They have ten large rocks.
2) You love apples and strawberries.
3) The water is cold.
4) I saw an old house.
5) They sing songs and drive a car.
6) It is an expensive gift.
7) We read interesting books.
8) I will not go.


Solution of Exercise A:
1) The don't see me.
2) She brings six gifts.
3) She has a new book.
4) He will go to the boring school.
5) They have five hungry dogs.
6) You have a pear.
7) We smile and we laugh.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) E té ta kayente.
2) E papa hiba un tas yen.
3) E mama kushna un ariña salú.
4) E mucha homber lesa un les interesante.
5) E mucha muher habri un paraplü chikitu.
6) Nan kore un auto rápido.
7) Seis muchanan scucha na dushi música.
8) E ta un bailadó bon.

Solution of Exercise C:
1) Nan tin dies baranka grandi.
2) Bo stima apelnan i ardbeinan.
3) E awa ta friu.
4) Mi a wak un bieu kas.
5) Nan kanta kantunan i kore un outo.
6) E ta un opsekio karu.
7) Nos lesa buki interesante.
8) Mi lo no bai.

Lesson 5: Combinations, Prepositions, Serial Verbs, Possession, Interrogatives, Days, Months

Combinations and Simplicity

In Papiamentu, you can combine and shorten words like you would do in English. For example, "I am tired" can also be written "I'm tired".

The pronoun can be combined with the past tense marker. "mi a traha" ("I have worked") becomes "ma traha" ("I've worked").

 English Normal Combined
 I worked  mi a traha  ma traha
 you worked  bo a traha  ba traha
 he, she, it worked  e a traha  ela traha *

* in "e" you would add an "l" for this combination.

This combination rule does not apply to "nos" or "boso".


A preposition is a word which shows relationships between other words in a sentence. The relationships include direction, place, time, cause, manner and amount. Some basic English prepositions are "by", "on", "to", "with". When used with a noun, they form a prepositional phrase: "by the chair", "on the table", "to the store", "with a friend" Prepositional phrases are like idioms, and are best learned through listening to and reading as much as possible.

Prepositions are rather easy in Papiamentu. Since the noun doesn't change form, they are used basically the same as in English.

 E pushi ta desde e stul.  The cat is by the chair.
 E buki ta riba e mesa.  The book is on the table.
 E muhe a bai na e tienda.  She went to the store.
 E a kanta ku un amigu.  He sang with a friend.

Here is a list of some of the most common prepositions.

 abou  below, beneath, down
 ademas di  beside, except
 aden  inside
 anti  upon, against
 ariba  above, over
 banda  near
 bou di  under
 den  in, into
 desde  since, by
 despues  after
 di  from, of, about
 durante  during
 enfrente  across, beyond
 entre  between
 gusta  like
 kla  through
 ku  with
 na  at, to, toward
 pa  before, for
 pafó  out, outside
 patras  behind
 riba  up, on
 sin  without
 te  until, till

Serial Verbs

Papiamentu has what is called serial verbs. This means that verbs can be put in a row without seperation by prepositions.


bin = to come para = to stop bisa = to tell gusta = to like uza = to use
 Mi ta bai bin  I'm leaving and coming back
 Mi ta para bisa nan  I stop and tell them
 Mi ta gusta uza spano  I like to use Spanish


Possession is shown by using the possessive pronouns. In Papiamentu, they are almost identical to the personal pronouns. The only difference is "su" instead of "e" for "his,hers,its".

 my  mi
 your  bo
 his, her, its  su
 our  nos
 your  boso
 their  nan


 I have my book  Mi tin mi buki.
 You have your book  Bo tin bo buki.
 He/She/It has his/her/its book  E tin su buki.
 We have our books  Nos tin nos bukinan.
 You have your books  Boso tin boso bukinan.
 They have their books  Nan tin nan bukinan.

In the above cases, you place the possessive pronoun before the noun. You can also place it after the noun, using "di".

 of mine  di mi
 of yours  di bo
 of his, hers, its  di su
 of ours  di nos
 of yours  di boso
 of theirs  di nan


 She has my book.  E tin mi buki.  E tin buki di mi.
 I have his cat.  Mi tin su pushi.  Mi tin e pushi di su.


We create interrogative statements (questions) by starting them with interrogatives. Here are some of the common ones:

 What?  Kiko?  What do you have?  Kiko bo tin?
 Where?  Unda?  Where do you go?  Unda bo ta bai?
 When?  Cuandu?  When is the class?  Cuandu ta e klas?
 Who?  Kende?  Who are you?  Kende bo ta?
 Which?  Cua?  Which book is yours?  Cua ta buki di bo?
 Why?  Pakiko?  Why do you go?  Pakiko bo ta bai?
 How?  Con?  How are you?  Con ta bai?[lit. How is it going?]
 How much?  Cuanto?  How much is this?  Cuanto esaki ta?
 Kiko bo nomber ta?  What is your name?
 Di Unda bo ta?  Where are you from?
 Unda bo ta biba?  Where do you live?
 Cuant'or tin?  What time is it?
 Cuanto esaki ta costa?  How much does this cost?

To round out the lesson, we will give you the days of the weeks and the months.

Days of the Week

 Days of the Week
 Dialuna  Monday
 Diamars  Tuesday
 Diawebs  Wednesday
 Diarazon  Thursday
 Diabierna  Friday
 Diasabra  Saturday
 Diadomingo  Sunday


 Januari  January
 Februari  February
 Maart  March
 April  April
 Mei  May
 Juni  June
 Juli  July
 Augustus  August
 September  September
 Oktober  October
 November  November
 December  December

Note: The months in Papiamentu are the same as in Dutch


 stul  chair
 mesa  table
 tienda  store
 amigu  friend
 pone  put
 ei  there
 bin bek  return
 palu  tree
 lèsna  desk
 siman  week
 luna  month
 aña  year


Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Unda mi buki ta?
2) Bo buki ta riba e mesa.
3) Pakíko bo a pone ei?
4) Mi a pone bo buki riba e lèsna.
5) Unda e a bai?
6) E a bai na e tienda desde e skol.
7) Ki ora e ta bin bek?
8) Mi no sa.

Exercise B: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) The man put three old books on the chair.
2) Why did he put the books there?
3) He does not have a desk.
4) Which store did the girl go to?
5) My friend does not have a dog.
6) Where does your friend live?
7) He lives in a new house near a tree.
8) I have seen the house.


Solution of Exercise A:
1) Where is my book?
2) Your book is on the table.
3) Why did you put it there?
4) I put your book on the desk.
5) Where did she go?
6) She went to the store by the school.
7) When will she return?
8) I do not know.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) E homber pone tres buki bieu riba e stul.
2) Pakíko e a pone e bukinan einan?
3) E no tin un lèsna.
4) Cua tienda e mucha muher a bai?
5) Mi amigu no tin un kacho.
6) Unda bo amigu ta biba?
7) E ta biba den un kas nobo banda un palu.
8) Mi a wak e kas.

Lesson 6: Conjunctions, Adverbs of Time & Place, Demonstrative Pronouns, Family, Colors, More Verbs


A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, or clauses. In English, the most common ones are "and", "or", "but" and "so". We have mentioned "i" ("and") in a previous lesson. Here are all four of these, with their Papiamentu equivalents and examples:

 i  and  Mi tin pushi i kacho.  I have cats and dogs.
 o  or  Nan lo bai dialuna o djamars.  They will go Monday or Tuesday.
 ma  but  E ta chikitu ma fuerte.  She is small but strong.
 dus  so  Mi tabata cansá dus mi a drumi.  I was tired so I slept.

Here are some other commonly used conjunctions:

 despues  after  Mi a descanso despues mi a kana.  I rested after I walked.
 aunke  although  Mi a drumi aunke mi ta no kansá.  I slept although I am not tired.
 mes  as  Mi tabata mes altu cu e homber.  I am as tall as the man.
 paso  because  Mi a para paso mi ta kansá.  I stopped because I am tired.
 promer cu  before  Mi lo bai promer cu mañan.  I will go before tomorrow.
 si  if  Mi no ta sa si e lo bai.  I do not know if he will go.
 desde  since  Desde siman pasa caba mi a cumpra e buki ei.  Since last weekend, I bought the book there.
 te  until  Mi no lo bai te e bin bèk.  I will not go until she comes back.
 mientras  while  Mi a drumi mientras e a kanta.  I slept while he sang.

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs are words that further define verbs, similar to how adjectives further define nouns. Adverbs of time express how frequently the action in a sentence takes place, or how closely to the present time the action was completed. Most of the time, these will be placed after the verb they define. Here is a list of the most common, with examples.

 awe  today  Mi a bai na e tienda awe.  I went to the store today.
 ayera  yesterday  Mi a bai ayera.  I went yesterday.
 mañan  tomorrow  Mi lo bai mañan.  I will go tomorrow.
 otro siman  next week  Mi ta bai otro siman.  I am going next week.
 otro luna  next month  Mi ta bai otro luna.  I am going next month.
 otro aña  next year  Mi ta bai otro aña.  I am going next year.
 siman pasa  last week  Mi a bai siman pasa.  I went last week.
 luna pasa  last month  Mi a bai luna pasa.  I went last month.
 aña pasa  last year  Mi a bai aña pasa.  I went last year.
 porfin  finally  Porfin mi a bai.  I finally went.
 ya  already  Ya mi ta bai na e tienda.  I already went to the store.
 pronto  soon  Mi ta bai na e tienda pronto.  I am going to the store soon.
 djies ki  soon  Mi ta bai na e tienda djies ki.  I am going to the store soon.
 net  just  Mi ta net bai na e tienda.  I am just going to the store.
 ainda  still  Mi ta ainda na e tienda.  I am still at the store.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place help further define location. The most common in English are "here" and "there", with "yonder" to describe a "there" that is further away.

 aki  here  E buki ta aki.  The book is here.
 ei  there  E buki ta ei.  The book is there.
 aya  yonder  E palu ta aya.  The tree is yonder.
 ata  there is  Ata bo buki.  There is your book.
 ata  there are  Ata bo bukinan.  There are your books.


We've shown you the personal and possessive pronouns. Now we will show you the demonstrative pronouns. These are used to replace words or phrases that must be pointed to. For example, in English, we could say "I put the book on the table". We would then replace the phrase "on the table" in related sentence with the demonstrative pronoun "there" ("The book is there").

The most common of these in English are "this" and "that", with their plural forms "these" and "those". Here are their forms in Papiamentu with examples.

 esaki  this  Esaki ta mi buki.  This is my book.
 esei  that  Esei ta bo buki.  That is your book.
 esakinan  these  Esakinan ta mi bukinan.  These are my books.
 eseinan  those  Eseinan ta bo bukinan.  Those are your books.


A list of the family members.

 tata, papa  father
 mama  mother
 welo, padushi  grandfather
 wela, madushi  grandmother
 omo, tio  uncle
 tanta, tia  aunt
 yiu homber  son
 yiu muher  daughter
 ruman homber  brother
 ruman muhe  sister
 subrino  nephew
 subrina  niece
 nieto  grandson
 nieta  granddaughter


In a previous lesson, we gave you adjectives. Here are more: the colors.

 còrá  red
 orañe, oraño  orange
 geel, gel  yellow
 bèrdè  green
 blou  blue
 maron, bruin  brown
 ros  pink
 lila, biña  purple
 pretu  black
 blancu  white
 shinishi  grey

More Verbs

We will round off this lesson with a list of common verbs. Some you have already seen in previous lessons.

 traha  to work
 hala rosea  to breath
 bestel/pidi  to order
 bishitá  to visit
 primi  to press
 pusha  to push
 splika  to explain
 bisa  to tell
 come  to eat
 corre auto  to drive
 cai  to fall
 pisca  to fish
 bula  to fly
 basila  to flirt
 puntra  to ask
 sinti  to feel
 odia  to hate
 juda  to help
 tende  to hear
 bringa  to fight
 bati man  to applaud
 horta  to steal
 cushiná  to cook
 sunchi  to kiss
 hari  to laugh
 kana  to walk
 lesa  to read
 stima/gusta  to love
 descana  to rest
 hasi  to make, do
 tuma  to take
 habri  to open
 corre bais  to ride a bicycle
 papia  to talk
 biaha  to travel
 corre  to run
 zundra  to rail at
 drumi  to sleep
 dal  to hit
 sera  to close
 corta  to cut
 skirbi  to write
 grita  to scream
 landa  to swim
 corre barki-bela  to sail
 wak  to see
 ta  to be
 sinta  to sit
 bula  to jump
 para  to stand
 baila  to dance
 jama telefon  to call (by phone)
 bebe  to drink
 duna  to embrace
 perde  to lose
 alimentá  to feed


 aros  rice
 salu  salt
 kuminda  food
 wega  game
 biña  wine
 lechi  milk
 kanto  shore
 boto  boat
 muraya  wall
 cena  dinner
 autor  author
 caba  end


Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Tin seis buki bèrdè riba e mesa.
2) E ta come aros blancu ku salu.
3) Si e no bai na e tienda mañan, nos lo no tin kuminda.
4) Nos a bisa e muchanan pa para sino nan lo perde nan weganan.
5) Mi yiu homber lo bai skol otro aña.
6) E lo alimentá e pushi geel pronto.

Exercise B: Translate to Papiamentu:
1) My grandfather drank wine while we drank milk.
2) They embraced the teacher (female) when [use "un brasa ora", not "cuando"] she helped them.
3) I swam to the shore after the boat sailed.
4) Although I hit the wall, it did not fall.
5) He sat on the chair and ate his dinner.
6) Why does the author love cats and books?


Solution of Exercise A:
1) There are six green books on the table.
2) He is eating white rice with salt.
3) If she will not go to the store tomorrow, we will not have food.
4) We told the children to stop or they would lose their games.
5) My son will go to school next year.
6) She will feed the yellow cat soon.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Mi padushi a bebe biña mientras nos a bebe lechi.
2) Nan a duna e yefrou di skol un brasa ora e a yuda nan.
3) Mi a landa bai kanto despues cu e boto a barki-bela.
4) Aunke mi a dal emuraya, e no a cai.
5) E a sinta riba e stul i a come su cena.
6) Pakíko e autor ta stima pushi i buki?

End Of Part One

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