Convergence and the Retention of Marked Consonants in Sango: the Creation and Appropriation of a Pidgin

in Journal of Language Contact
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Abstract

Sango challenges allegations that the sound inventories of pidgins are small and that in language contact sound change often leads to loss or assimilation in phonemic distinctions. Sango has retained almost the whole phonological system of Ngbandi, on which it is based. This is explained, not by substratal influence—the systems of co-territorial Ubangian languages of the Banda and Gbaya groups—but by similar systems of several West African and especially central Bantu languages spoken by the workers and soldiers who were brought to the Ubangi River basin by Belgian colonizers, beginning in 1887 and very soon after by the French, and who, with the indigenes, very quickly created a new language that was soon appropriated by the Ngbandis, thereby preserving at least this part of their own language.

Journal of Language Contact

Evolution of Languages, Contact and Discourse

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