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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Silvia KOUWENBERG

Early morphology in Berbice Dutch and the process of language creation

Abstract/Résumé: The contact situation in which Berbice Dutch arose involved input from three linguistic sources, one European (Dutch), one African (one or several Eastern Ijo varieties), and one Amerindian (Arawak), with the first two contributing the bulk of the basic lexicon, and the second source contributing most of the grammatical and morphological material. In recent work, I have argued that the reinterpretation of Eastern Ijo complex forms and grammatical morphemes suggests that speakers of Eastern Ijo were not the primary agents in creole genesis. Instead, the responsibility for this process needs to be ascribed to the children brought into and/or born into this small plantation society. This paper will provide a more thorough examination of the morphological material contributed by Eastern Ijo, specifically: • the reinterpretation of morphologically complex forms inherited from Eastern Ijo • frozen causative formations in Berbice Dutch, involving stems of both Eastern Ijo and Dutch origins • productive morphology in Berbice Dutch, involving the reinterpretation of Eastern Ijo morphemes What emerges is a complex situation in which adult speakers of different source languages interacted and used their linguistic coping strategies to furnish the material that was reinterpreted by children in the community. However, the process did not stop there, as the children's reinterpretations were fed back into the adult interactions, where final consolidation took place.