This chapter summarizes some of our findings and discusses some key issues related to previous descriptions of Papiamentu and other Creoles. It draws additional generalizations on the typological features described throughout the book and their possible origin in lexical sources and/or typological universals. Discussion of areas unexplored in previous chapters and future research also constitute part of the conclusions. It examines the important role played by documentation and data-supported analysis in understanding Creoles.
This chapter summarizes issues in the description of Papiamentu and its relation to other languages from a typological perspective. It highlights differences between this interpretation of Papiamentu features and previous work; and incorporates a section on the goals of our research, data collection, and the methodology used in the analysis. Finally, we provide a general guide for readers on how to navigate the content of this book.
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.
This chapter deals with seldom-described prosodic phenomena, in this case, the relation between lexical and sentential prosodic features. It challenges descriptions of Papiamentu as a “pitch-accent” language by showing that it that can have more than one H tone assigned to a word, and that it exhibits lexical H tone in nouns and prepositions. It also provides further evidence that the stress system is, at the same time, quantity sensitive and bounded for some grammatical categories. It ends with a description of metrical properties and their interaction with tone and stress in Papiamentu. This chapter is co-authored by Rivera-Castillo and Lucy Pickering, who have been working on the analysis of Curaçaoan Papiamentu data gathered through fieldwork.
Phonological features that have been seldom studied in Papiamentu are discussed in this chapter. From long distance feature spreading to syllabic organization, this chapter includes a description of segmental and structural phenomena. The first sections (5.1–5.2) describe vowel and consonant systems and syllable structure. Section (5.3) explains the role of nasalization in the language; while Section 5.4 discusses vowel harmony. We propose that nasalization and vowel agreement constitute the prosodic spreading of segmental features.
This chapter describes the semantic categories of number and animacy in the Determiner Phrase (Noun Phrase in earlier analyses), and tense, mood, and aspect in the sentence. We show that Papiamentu has animacy distinctions that also encode “referential” gender marking (Dahl, 2000), not linked to the grammatical gender-based distinctions of noun classes. Number marking and its relation to nominal classifiers constitute the second topic in the description of DP semantics. We propose that there is a resultative-perfective marker and an aspectual marker that act as separate morphs in the encoding of tense, mood, and aspect in the sentence. This chapter includes spoken data analysis as well as documental data to support our interpretation. We restrict our description to aspects of sentential semantics that have been historically controversial in creolistics.
The following sections deal with word order in the sentence and major phrase types. First, I describe general restrictions related to traditional typologies of sentential word order. This is followed by a summary of the adjective, noun, and determiner order in the Determiner Phrase (DP), traditionally called Noun Phrase (NP); then, I follow suit with a description of verbs and complement order, as well as that of TMA markers and other modifiers. Negation and serial constructions constitute the last topic in the chapter. Descriptions of morphological categories are relevant to the description of word order given the correlations proposed by previous research between fixed word order and a restricted number of morphologically overt case marking. Hence, one of the main issues I address in this chapter is if Papiamentu has fixed word order due to its lack of overt case marking.
This chapter introduces the relation between grammatical categories found in this language and the encoding of phrasal categories through inflectional and non-inflectional mechanisms. It provides several examples of sentences including these categories, and explains why Papiamentu fits into the isolating language type regarding some aspects of sentential structure but not regarding others. The first section describes the obligatory use of subjects in most sentence structures, and the absence of expletives in impersonal constructions. It compares Papiamentu with languages that have similar distribution of obligatory subjects—semi-null subject languages—such as German, Yiddish, Afrikaans, and some varieties of Dutch (Rizzi, 1986). Consequently, Papiamentu is a semi-null subject language. A description of subordinate clauses follows in Section 4.2. Passive sentences, which exhibit two alternate structures, one originating in Romance and the other in Dutch, are included in section 4.3. It ends with a brief description of DP/NP structure and VP s.