This hurricane season is a particularly important one. The people living in tents need weather announcers to communicate effectively so that they may make necessary arrangements to seek shelter when a hurricane approaches.Weather announcers need to speak to the population in Creole. Needless to say, they need to call hurricanes by its Creole name:siklòn (cyclone).
To Haitians,a hurricane is not an ouragan .Nor is it an ourangatan,although a hurricane can be a ferocious beast. In Haiti, we remember SiklònAzèl,Siklòn Flora, Siklòn David, to name but a few. The name cyclone has been in use since 1789 when it was introduced to describe forceful winds moving in a circular manner. Ouragan is not more scientifically correct than cyclone. It is a French synonym for Atlantic cyclones. In Creole, the term ouragan has no meaning and communicates nothing.
New terms can be substituted for old ones when they help to express better understanding of a phenomenon. Ouragan does not do this. The term simply shows that the speaker is aware of the French word. Creole does offer its own synonyms for cyclone. They are tanpèt and move tan. Ouragan is ear-shocking and tongue- twisting to countless Haitians, and distracts from the news being reported.Multi-lingual weather announcers who can’tremember the right Creole word for hurricane can sing along with Ti Manno and DP Express before going on the air waves: