Chapter 2 Morphology and Grammatical Categories

In: A Description of Papiamentu

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Morphology is a key component of Creole studies. Following 19th century traditions regarding the typological classification of languages and based on an assumed morphological type of “older” languages, some analyses have stressed apparent deficiencies in Creole structures, which they classify as “new” languages. In this chapter, we demonstrate Papiamentu displays a variety of morphological mechanisms with the same semantic functions encoded in other natural languages. This multiplicity of mechanisms demonstrates that this Creole is neither deficient nor constitutes a new linguistic system. This chapter focuses on morphological features, some matching those in the lexifier, such as derivational and inflectional forms, or in the substrate, such as reduplication, tonal distinctions, and nominal classifiers. A number of allomorphs are also described, demonstrating that interdialectal variation (not only diatopic variation between Aruban, Curaçaoan, and Bonairean lects) is present in Creole systems. There is also an account of selected lexical categories.