phonetic phumble

Mike Calvert mcalvert at ENTERPE.COM
Thu Nov 18 00:10:40 UTC 1999

For your amusement and edification, I pass on yet more evidence that the
road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Michael Calvert-fella
Press Enterprise
Bloomsburg, PA

MIAMI (AP) — Federal officials hoping to inform Haitian residents in the
Creole language about subsidized housing have delivered a pamphlet
written in an imitation Jamaican dialect.

It’s a tough read:

“Yuh as a rezedent, ave di rights ahn di rispansabilities to elp mek yuh
HUD-asisted owzing ah behta owme fi yuh ahn yuh fambily,” the pamphlet

What the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was trying to
say was: “You as a resident have the rights and the responsibilities to
help make your HUD-assisted housing a better home for you and your

The pamphlet, titled “Rezedents Rights and Rispansabilities,” came to
the attention of government officials after a citizen questioned its
contents. It had been signed by HUD’s top executive, “Sekretary Andrew
M. Cuomo fella.”

The pamphlet was intended to inform residents in Section 8 HUD housing
of their rights, responsibilities and the resources available from HUD.
Translations were printed in nine languages and Braille.

Haitian Creole, the national language of Haiti, is based on French,
while Jamaicans read and write standard English. The presumed language
of the HUD document is the spoken Jamaican dialect — translated

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