Back to list

Detail of contribution

Auteur: Parth BHATT

Co-Auteur(s): Emmanuel NIKIEMA, University of Toronto, Canada

A new look at Haitian Creole morphophonology

Abstract/Résumé: A new look at Haitian Creole morphophonology This paper analyzes three types of morphophonological alternations in Haitian Creole: verbal derivation (noun-verb and adjective-verb alternation), determiner allomorphy and possessive adjective allomorphy. It is argued that, despite the apparently paradoxical nature of some alternations (which create sequences of two vowels or two consonants and in some contexts reduce a full syllable to a coda consonant) Haitian morphophonology is both principled and phonologically motivated. In short, this paper provides evidence for the position that the observed alternations are transparent and regular rather than morphologically or lexically stipulated. While one could argue that the noun-verb and adjective-verb alternations are simply a reflection of the properties of the lexifier language (French), a similar argument cannot apply to Haitian determiners and possessive adjectives, which —unlike their counterparts in French — are placed after the noun. This paper proposes that previous accounts of Haitian allomorphy have not taken sufficiently into account the phonological structure of Haitian and in particular, the presence of underlying word-final consonants, defective syllables and complex nuclei. Haitian verbal suffixes are analyzed as resulting from the suffixation a syllable consisting of a single vowel without an onset consonant. Apparent counterarguments to this approach (Valdman 1978, Valdman and Iskrova 2003) are accounted for in detail and shown to be compatible with this analysis. Similarly, Haitian determiner allomorphy is analyzed as a principled phenomenon that reveals “phonological binding” of the cliticized forms through propagation of nasality and glide formation. Haitian possessive adjective allomorphyis another case of phonological binding creating complex nuclei. In short, this paper follows recent accounts of morphological processes in French based Creoles (Brousseau 2011) by claiming that Haitian morphophonology shows productive, transparent alternations. References Brousseau, A.-M. (2011) Mesure de la productivité morphologique des créoles, Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 56, 61-86. Valdman, A. (1978) Le créole : structure statut et origine, Paris : Klincksieck. Valdman, A. and I. Iskrova (2003) A new look at nasalization in Haitian creole, In I. Plag (Ed.) The phonology and morphology of creole languages, Tübingen: Niemeyer.