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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Jeff SIEGEL

The role of substrate transfer in creole morphological development

Abstract/Résumé: This paper concentrates on the development of creole morphology, here interpreted broadly to include both bound and free grammatical morphemes. It demonstrates the important role of language transfer and reinforcement from the substrate languages, using data mainly from creoles and other contact languages in the Asia-Pacific region. Three types of transfer are described. The first is transfer of grammatical categories which influences what is actually marked by grammatical morphology in the creole. The second is transfer of particular morphological processes (such as reduplication or affixation) or syntactic strategies (such as verb serialisation) to express grammatical categories or relationships. The possibility is examined as to whether some types of processes or strategies are transferred more readily than others, and if so, what the reasons would be. The third type is the transfer of functions. In recent work (Siegel, 2012), two types of functional transfer have been distinguished. In Type 1, a new grammatical marker is created by the transfer of semantic and syntactic properties of a grammatical morpheme of the substrate language(s) to a lexical item of the lexifier. In Type 2, an already existing grammatical morpheme is adopted from the lexifier; however its functions are altered by the transfer of semantic (but not syntactic) properties of a grammatical morpheme in the substrate language(s) that speakers perceive as equivalent. Pfänder (in Jennings and Pfänder, forthcoming) has labelled Type 1 “functionalisation” and Type 2 “refunctionalisation”. The paper illustrates both types of transfer, but shows that Type 1 (functionalisation) is found in creoles more than in other contact varieties. The explanation is that this kind of transfer occurs primarily in contexts of restricted access to or intake from the lexifier language by substrate speakers. Also, by its nature, functionalisation results in analytic rather than synthetic grammatical marking. This accounts for the higher ratio of analytic grammatical marking to synthetic marking found in creoles as compared to other languages, including other language contact varieties (see Siegel, Szmrecsanyi and Kortmann, forthcoming). References Jennings, William and Stefan Pfänder. forthcoming. French Guianese Creole – its emergence from contact. In Stefan Pfänder and Jeff Siegel (eds), Language Contact – The Early Years. Thematic issue of the Journal of Language Contact. Siegel, Jeff. 2012. Two types of transfer in language contact. Journal of Language Contact 5(2), 187-215. Siegel, Jeff, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi and Bernd Kortmann. forthcoming. Measuring analyticity and syntheticity in creoles. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages.