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This book constitutes a primary data-supported, comprehensive grammar of Papiamentu. It analyzes spontaneous speech data from two varieties spoken in Aruba and Curaçao. The author examines structural features so far unexplored in the areas of phonology, morphology, syntax, and aspects of sentential semantics. Particular attention is given to nominal classifiers, non-pro-drop syntactic constructions, and absolute tense marking, traits that are rarely described in regards to Creole or Romance languages. Researchers interested in formal analyses of Papiamentu, Creole languages, and in language contact will find this book an indispensable tool.

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

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.

In: A Description of Papiamentu

Abstract

This chapter describes Limonese Creole syllable structure, demonstrating that this language represents the result of innovations, rather than constituting exclusively the outcome from processes of borrowing, transfer, or substitution, typically originating in language contact. These conclusions run against some well-established beliefs concerning Creole languages. Given its socio-historical situation, Limonese is under “strong structural pressure” (Thomason & Kaufmann, 1991) from Spanish, so we would expect it to suffer loss of distinctions and the incorporation of new features from the dominant language. Limonese is also in contact with English through schooling and foreigners (“intense contact”); and it should incorporate some of its features through loans. Based on spontaneous speech samples, this chapter presents a phonetic analysis of clusters in syllable initial and final position, and of voiceless consonants in final position. The findings indicate that, except for voicing of final consonants, Spanish has little influence on its syllable structure, and that Limonese differs from English in the properties displayed by its final clusters. We conclude that for speakers under great social pressure, as is the case of Limonese, the native language represents part of their social identity, and innovations distinguish their vernacular from the lexifier (English) and the dominant language (Spanish).

In: When Creole and Spanish Collide