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Portuguese-Lexified Creolesfree

Portuguese-Lexified Creolesfree

  • J. Clancy ClementsJ. Clancy ClementsIndiana University-Bloomington

Summary

The Portuguese colonial enterprise has had myriad and long-lasting consequences, not the least of which involves language. The many Portuguese-lexified creole languages in Africa and Asia are the product of Portugal’s colonial past. The creoles to be discussed that developed in Africa belong to two subgroups: the Upper Guinea Creoles (Cape Verdean, Guiné Bissau Creole, Casamance Creole) and the Gulf of Guinea Creoles (Santome, Angolar, Principense, Fa d’Ambô). Among the Asian Portuguese creoles, three subgroups are distinguishable, based on shared linguistic traits: the northern Indian group (Diu, Daman, Korlai), which retains some verbal morphology from Portuguese and distinguishes the subject/object case and informal-formal forms in the pronominal systems; Sri Lanka Creole, which retains less Portuguese verbal morphology but distinguishes the subject/object case and informal-formal forms in the pronominal system; and the East Asian group (Papiá Kristang, Makista), which retains very little, if any, Portuguese verbal morphology and has no informal-formal or subject/object case distinctions in the pronominal systems. Despite these differences, all creoles share a common lexicon, to a large extent, and, to varying degrees, aspects of Portuguese culture.

Subjects

  • Historical Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

1. Intercultural Communication in the Portuguese Expansion to Africa, the Americas, and Asia

When chroniclers, missionaries, and historians record the deeds of peoples, they describe events, situations, states of the economy, battles, surrenders, and so on, from one or more perspectives, but they rarely if ever note down in which language(s) these events, situations, and battles take place, and how people from various cultural backgrounds communicated. In this article, our focus is on the languages that evolved as the Portuguese colonizers communicated with the peoples whose lands they colonized over five centuries.

By the second half of the 14th century, the Portuguese had already compiled considerable geographical knowledge of the African west coast as far south as the Cape of Good Hope, had information on indigenous kingdoms in North Africa, and had other details about population makeup along the west coast (Marques, 1998, pp. 125–140). The Portuguese expansion to Africa is said to have started with Henry the Navigator, who crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and took Ceuta in 1415, and had four main stages (Chaunu, 1979, pp. 111–112). Stage one, 1415–1434, from the conquest of Ceuta up until the rounding of Cape Bojador, was marked by cautious progress, and by 1420 the Portuguese had permanently occupied the island of Madeira and by 1427 had begun to settle the archipelago of the Azores. During stage two, 1434–1444, the Portuguese moved from Cape Bojador toward the Cape Verde Islands. In stage three, 1444–1475, with a more refined knowledge of sailing on the open sea, the Portuguese ventured farther south, settling Casamance (Ziguinchor) in 1456, Cape Verde in 1462, and São Tomé in 1485–1493. Finally, during stage four, 1475–1498, Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in another voyage, Vasco da Gama found his way up the eastern coast of Africa to Mombasa and over to India. Upon crossing the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese established settlements on the Indian subcontinent: Calicut (1498), the Chaul/Korlai area (around 1505), Goa (1510), Diu (1535), and Daman (1558, but 1580 is also reported; see Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002). At the same time the Portuguese were establishing posts northward along the Indian west coast, they also traveled eastward, building settlements in Sri Lanka (1518), Malacca (1511), Macau (1555) (Clements, 2013, p. 102; Holm, 1989, pp. 262–263), and many other locations. To this, the colonization of Brazil can be added, which the Portuguese began to settle in 1532 (Holm, 1989, p. 262). Thus, in the span of less than 140 years (1420–1555), the Portuguese maritime expansion to the south, east, and west had reached three continents: South America, Africa, and Asia.

Regarding the structures found in the Portuguese-lexified creoles, we can assume that there was initially naturalistic language acquisition in the sense of Klein and Perdue (1992, 1997), whereby speakers of African and Asian languages in contact with Portuguese colonizers initially came up with individual solutions to communication. The communities in contact (the Portuguese and the members of respective Africa and Asian communities) at first did not share a language. In their attempts to communicate, certain sets of expressions (words, phrases, etc.) became conventionalized as a result of successful communications, which is what Thomason and Kaufman (1988, p. 153) called the shared ‘right’ guesses.1 As the contact variety further conventionalized, common markers also began to emerge and were shared over time, some that referred to time-related notions such as past, present, and future, and some that referred to notions related to aspect and Aktionart such as ongoingness, completedness, iteration, and so on. Over time, the varieties stabilized, becoming a community-wide solution to communication. Pidgins are commonly defined as language varieties without native speakers. If a pidgin is nativized (i.e., if it comes to have native speakers), it may (or may not) undergo a series of additional changes, and it is then referred to as a creole language or a creole.

At the most basic level, then, we can assume that in the colonization of Africa and Asia, the Portuguese and the speakers of the respective indigenous languages developed and/or used a variably conventionalized Portuguese pidgin, and that this set of varieties constituted at least one of the main models for the Portuguese-lexified creoles that were to form in Africa and Asia (see Clements, 2005, 2009, pp. 5–26; Kihm & Rougé, 2013, 2016). That many of the creoles to be discussed had already formed by the 1600s is supported by the observation that sound changes that took place in Portuguese later are not found in the creoles unless these were later influenced by the presence of Portuguese (e.g., in the Indo-Portuguese varieties spoken in Daman and Diu; see Cardoso, 2009, pp. 94–96, 2013, p. 92; Clements, 2014; Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002). The deafricatization /ʧ/ > /ʃ/ evident in Portuguese (see Teyssier, 1984, pp. 49–51), for example (chegar ‘arrive’ /ʧega/ > /ʃega/), is generally not found in Portuguese-lexified creoles in Africa and Asia (Jacobs & Quint, 2016).

2. Portuguese-Lexified Creoles

This section offers a succinct survey of the Portuguese-lexified creoles spoken in Africa and Asia. One difference that distinguishes the two sets of creoles is that the African creoles emerged in situations where several to many languages were being spoken, while the Asian creoles emerged in linguistically more homogeneous situations in the sense that there were fewer and more easily identifiable languages in each of the contact situations. Despite this difference, the same principles of selection and adoption would be expected to apply. The co-creators would process input as language learners process input, acquiring the most easily detectable and frequently used content words such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives before acquiring function words such as prepositions or verb auxiliaries and building grammatical subsystems from these forms. The focus in the discussion here is on the forms of the noun phrase, the verbs with auxiliaries, and the pronominal systems in the languages under study. In the noun phrase, we look at whether there is number marking (e.g., livro(-s) ‘book(s)’, casa(-s) ‘house(s)’, mes(-es) ‘month(s)’) and grammatical gender and number agreement (e.g., o-s livro-s ‘the.m-pl book(m)-pl’, a-s casa-s ‘the.f-pl house(f)-pl’). In the verb and auxiliaries, we consider how tense (past, present, future) and aspect (ongoingness, completedness) are marked. For the pronouns, we look at how singular and plural, first, second, and third person pronouns are expressed and whether there is a distinction between subject and object pronouns (e.g., eu ‘I’ vs. me, mim ‘me’). Looking at these subsystems will provide a general idea of how Portuguese-lexified creoles are structured.

2.1 Portuguese-Lexified Creoles in Africa

The Portuguese-lexified creoles spoken in Upper Guinea (Cape Verdean creole from Santiago, Brava, São Vicente; Guinea-Bissau Creole; and Casamance Creole in Ziguinchor; see map 1) have nouns and adjectives unmarked for gender for the most part, but vestiges are still found. For instance, for CVC from Brava, Baptista (2013, p. 14) notes that some animate nouns are marked for gender (e.g., galinha-galu ‘hen-rooster’ [< Pt. galinha, galo], tia-tiu ‘aunt-uncle’ [< Pt. tia, tio]). However, grammatical gender marking is rarely if ever found on inanimate nouns, lost in the creolization process. The creoles exhibit variable overt plural marking with the suffixal plural marker -s, inherited from Portuguese. Overt plural marking in these creoles depends on semantic factors (e.g., animacy of the referent of the noun), syntactic factors (e.g., the presence of a numeral or a quantifier in the noun phrase), and pragmatic factors (e.g., definiteness). The Portuguese-lexified creoles spoken in the Gulf of Guinea (Angolar and Santome spoken on São Tomé, Principense spoken on Príncipe, and Fa D’Ambô spoken on Annobón; see map 1) have not retained Portuguese -s.2 Instead, each has developed an overt plural-marking strategy, using the third person plural pronoun, equivalent to ‘them’ (Angolar ane/ene, Santome inen, Principense ine, and Fa d’Ambô nen), whose use is sensitive, as well, to syntactic (e.g., to co-occurrence with other elements) and pragmatic constraints (e.g., definiteness) (Hagemeijer, 2013; Maurer, 2013a, 2013b; Post, 2013).

With regard to verb-related features, two key changes have altered the way verbs are conjugated between Portuguese and the Portuguese-based creoles in Africa: In the creoles, there are no person/number-marking verbal suffixes retained from Portuguese, nor is the verb class distinction retained, which in Portuguese is marked by thematic vowels (TVs) and corresponding morphology (e.g., the preterit allomorphs -ou and -u in 3sg, as in cant-Ø-ou [sing-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he sang’, beb-e-u [drink-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he drank’, sub-i-u [go.up-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he went up’). This notwithstanding, these creoles did retain some suffixal morphology from Portuguese, shown in Table 1.

Map 1. Africa.

Reprinted with permission from Clements (2022).

Table 1. Inflectional Suffixes in the Portuguese-Based Creoles, Retained from Portuguese

Nominal Suffix

Verbal suffixes

Pl. -s

Pluperfect/ Past -ba

Passive

-du/-ru

Pluperfectpassive

-da

(< -duba

Perfect

-du/

-ru

Simple past

-ou

Gerund

-n(do)

Cpv.-S

+

(w/restrictions)

+

+

+

-

-

-

Cpv.-B

+ (w/ some animate nouns)

+

+

-

+

-

-

Cpv.-SV

+ (variable due to semantic & pragmatic factors)

-

-

-

-

-

-

GBC

+ w/ some animate nouns

+

+

-

-

-

-

Csm.

+

+

(realized as baŋ)

-

-

-

-

-

Ang.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Stm.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Prp.

-

-

+

-

+ (Aux + V-du)

-

-

Fda.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Note. Lang (2013) for CVS-S, Baptista (2013) for Cpv.-B, Swolkien (2013) for Cpv.-SV, Intumbo et al. (2013) for GBC, Biagui and Quint (2013) for Csm., Mauer (2013a) for Ang., Hagemeijer (2013) for Stm., Maurer (2013b) for Prp., and Post (2013) for Fda.

The creoles developed forms and form combinations, both pre- and postposed, to mark different tenses, aspects, and moods. Generally, bare stative verbs in these creoles have present-tense interpretation, as shown in (1), from Lang (2013, p. 8), while bare dynamic verbs receive past-tense interpretation, as with fika in (2), from Baptista (2013, p. 15).

(1)

(2)

In (2), preposed ta is used to mark imperfectivity; in Cpv.-B ta also marks the progressive, and the habitual/iterative in the present and, in combination with -ba, habitual in the past. The examples in (3), from Baptista (2013, p. 15), show the uses of the postposed anterior marker -ba, which yields a past interpretation when appearing with a stative verb ((3a)) and a pluperfect interpretation with a dynamic verb ((3b)), from Baptista (2013, p. 15).3

(3)

A construction common to all the Portuguese-based African creoles in question is the double-object construction, shown in (4), from Maurer (2013b, p. 77), characterized by the order of the indirect object immediately after the verb, followed by the direct object, and no overt marking on either the direct or indirect object.

(4)

Serial verb constructions are commonly found in the Gulf of Guinea creoles. An example is shown in (5), from Hagemeijer (2013, p. 54). In this type of construction, one verb (da ‘give’) takes on a functional interpretation. That is, in (5), da ‘give’ is functionally a benefactive marker, with the interpretation ‘for’.

(5)

Turning now to the pronominal systems, Table 2 displays the subject, object, and disjunctive pronouns in the creoles being discussed in this section. Of note is that no creole expresses the notion of ‘I’ with a form traceable back to the Portuguese 1sg eu ‘I’. Rather, ‘I’ in these creoles is expressed by forms coming from the disjunctive, stressed 1sg pronoun mim ‘me’. Also of note is that some creoles maintain the 2sg informal–formal (T/V) distinction4, and one language, Santome, also displays the T/V distinction in 3sg. The Santome forms sun (< Portuguese senhor ‘sir’) and san (< Portuguese senhora ‘madam’) can be used to formally address an interlocutor directly (2sg formal), as well as referentially, to formally talk about someone (3sg formal, as in ‘that gentleman/lady there’). Moreover, the Atlantic Portuguese-lexified creoles make at least one subject-object case distinction in their respective pronominal systems, and some make the distinction in most persons and numbers (e.g., Cape Verdean varieties). Finally, the 3pl forms are often used as plural markers in the Gulf of Guinea creoles.

By way of wrapping up this section, we have discussed the noun and verb forms as well as pronominal systems of the Portuguese-lexified Atlantic creoles. We have suggested that the forms and structures discussed can be accounted for, at least in part, by appealing to the processes underlying second-language acquisition according to which highly detectable, frequently used content words are learned first and content words are learned before function words. Among the function words, such as pronouns, we would expect that the forms incorporated into varieties that became creoles would initially have a sound form that would make them more detectable in discourse. The pronominal forms shown in Table 2 all contain at least one consonant and often consist of a consonant-vowel structure, although over time these have reduced in some cases. For example, the 3PL form es ‘they’ in CVC varieties has a reduced form -s. As already pointed out, it is noteworthy that the Portuguese unstressed object pronouns -o ‘him’ and -a ‘her’ are not retained in any of the creoles in question. This follows from the observation that in creole formation, the co-creators of the new varieties incorporated forms they could easily detect and parse in communicative interactions. Unstressed pronominal forms consisting of only one vowel would not be easily detectable, and thus not easily parsable, in discourse.

Returning to the question briefly noted about the possible origins of the Portuguese pidgin that could have served as a point of departure for the Portuguese-lexified creoles in Africa, it may have formed in Portugal before their colonial expansion, as argued by Kihm and Rougé (2013, 2016), in Santiago, or it may have originated in the interaction between the Portuguese and the Africans in Africa (Clements, 1992, 1993a, 1993b; Jacobs, 2010). It could also be that both hypotheses are correct. What does seem to be the case, however, is that these creoles developed in situations where naturalistic language acquisition occurred among speakers of multiple languages, as described earlier.

Table 2. Subject, Object, and Disjunctive Pronouns in the Portuguese-Based African Creoles

1sg

2 sg

T/V distinction

3sg

1pl

2pl

3pl

Subj./Obj. case distinction

Cpv.-S

n-, -m/

(a)mi

bu/-(b)u/(a)bo,

nhu/

nha, (a)nho/(a)nha

2sg

e(l), -l, (a)el

nu,

-nu/

(a)nos

nhos,

(a)nhos

es,

-s/(a)es

1–3 sg

1,3pl

Cpv.-B

n, -m/ (a)mi

bu/-(b)u/(a)bo,

(a)nho/(a)nha

2sg

e(l)/-l/(a)el

nu/-nu/(a)nos

nhos/

(a)nhos

es/

-s/(a)es

1–3sg

1,3pl

Cpv.-SV

n/

-m/mi

bo/-b/bo/bosê/bosê

2sg

2pl

el/-l/el

no/

-nos/nos

bzot/bzot,

bosês/

bosês

es/-s/es

1–3sg

1,3pl

GBC

ami/ ŋ/mi

abo/bu/u/bo

-

el/i/l/el

anos/no/

nu/nos

abo/bo/bos/bos

elis/e/

elis/elis

2,3sg

1–3pl

Csm.

n/

-m/mi

bu/-bu/bo/a-bo

-

i/-l/yel

no/-nos/-nu/nos/

a-nos

bo/-bos/bos/

a-bos

e/-elus/

-lus/

yelus

1–3sg

1–3pl

Ang.

m~n/m/am

bô/ô

-

ê/ê~e~le/êlê

no/no/no

êthê~thê/

thê/thê

ane~ene/ane~

ene~ne/

ane~ene

3sg

Stm.

n/mu/

ami~am

bô~ô/bô~bõ/

bô, sun. san

2sg

3sg

ê/ê~e/

êlê,

sun/san

non/non/

non

(i)nansê/(i)nansê/

(i)nansê

(i)nen/

(i)nen/

inen

1sg

3sg

.

Prp.

in~un~n~m/

mi~n/

ami

txi/txi/atxi

-

ê/li~e/

êli

no~non/

no~non/

no~non

owo/owo/

owo

ine~ina/ine~ina/ine~ina

1sg

3sg

Fda.

amu~

am’~

m’/

mu~m’

bo/bo/bo

-

eli~e~i/

li~l/eli

no~nõ/

no~nõ/

no

namisedyi~namse/

namisedyi~namse/

namisedyi

ineni~

ineñ~

ine/ ineni~

ineñ~

ine/

ineni~

ineñ

1sg

3sg

Note. Lang (2013) for CVS-S, Baptista (2013) for Cpv.-B, Swolkien (2013) for Cpv.-SV, Intumbo et al. (2013) for GBC, Biagui and Quint (2013) for Csm., Mauer (2013a) for Ang., Hagemeijer (2013) for Stm., Maurer (2013b) for Prp., and Post (2013) for Fda. sg

2.2 Portuguese-Lexified Creoles in Asia

The colonization of parts of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Macau by the Portuguese took place in the fourth stage of its colonial expansion (see map 2). In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, crossed the Arabian Sea to the tip of the Indian subcontinent, reaching Calicut in the summer of 1498. The Portuguese fortified trading posts were established with relative rapidity in Asia, and by 1550, the Portuguese had settled a large part of the Indian west coast (Calicut, Goa, Daman, and Diu, among others), as well as Sri Lanka (e.g., Batticaloa). The city of Daman—which put up the most resistance—fell in 1559, and by 1581 it was recognized as a Portuguese city. The Portuguese also moved quickly to the east, founding settlements in Malaysia (Malacca), throughout Indonesia, and in China (Macau) well before the end of the 16th century.

Before surveying the salient features of the Portuguese-lexified creoles in Asia, a brief discussion of the connections between these creoles is useful. Clements (2000) hypothesized that there was an Asian Portuguese pidgin that served as the basis for all the Asian Portuguese-based creoles. With the exception of Diu Indo-Portuguese (which exhibits many acrolectal features), all Asian creoles in question share a reflex of the 16th-century phrase que laia ‘what way/manner’ for the question word ‘how’: Daman kilay (also kom), Korlai kilɛ, Sri Lankan Creole kilaay, Papiá Kristang klai, Makista klai. Clements (2000) postulated that such a variety of Portuguese could have spread from Calicut in the south of India north to the northern provinces (Goa, Chaul-Korlai, Mumbai area, Daman, Diu), and at the same time east to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. There is lexical evidence of southern Indian influence in the northern varieties of Indo-Portuguese. In Diu, Daman, and Korlai Indo-Portuguese varieties, for instance, the lexical item ap (< Malayalam appaṃ ‘(rice) flatbread’) is present (Cardoso, 2009; Clements, 1996; Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002), and the Korlai lexical item khədya ‘tiger’ is most likely derived from Malayalam kaʈuʋa.5 Baxter (2013, p. 122) also mentioned that Malayalam lexical features, as well as grammatical features shared with Indo-Portuguese creoles, are found in Papiá Kristang. Moreover, there is also evidence that Makista in Macau is at least partially derived from Papiá Kristang, spoken in Malacca (Baxter, 2009; Pinharanda, 2010, and references therein). Thus, it seems that whatever variety of Portuguese (pidgin/creole) was used or formed in the areas of South India, it traveled with speakers eastward.

In this section on the Portuguese-lexified creoles spoken in Asia, the same focus is adopted: on nominal and verbal forms and on the pronominal systems that form part of the morphosyntax of the languages surveyed, all of which are still spoken, though Makista has ever fewer native speakers (Pinharanda, 2010), some of whom live in diasporic communities.

Map 2. Asia.

Reprinted with permission from Clements (2022).

As one might expect, nouns and adjectives in the Portuguese-lexified creoles in South Asia do not retain suffixal marking of grammatical gender, with the exception of some animate word pairs (e.g., Korlai irmã-irmãw ‘sister-brother’ [< Pt. irmã-irmão]). Vestiges of plural -s are found in written Sri Lanka Creole Portuguese, in a restricted number of human-referent nouns in Kristang (Baxter, 2013) and in acrolectal Makista.6 Otherwise, it is not found in these creoles. In Diu and Daman Indo-Portuguese, the universal quantifier tud (< Pt. tudo ‘all’), although still used in the sense ‘all’, has also undergone grammaticalization and is often used to mark the plural (Cardoso, 2013; Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002). Papiá Kristang uses reduplication to mark plural (e.g., kaza kaza [lit. house house] ‘houses’ if there is not a numeral or a quantifier. The same applies to non-acrolectal Makista. Regarding pronouns, DiuDaman, and Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese distinguish gender in the 3sg: el ‘he’ vs ɛl ‘she’ in Diu and Daman IPg. (Cardoso, 2013, p. 93; Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002; Maurer & Bollée, 2016) and eli ‘he’ vs ɛla ‘she’ in Sri Lanka IPg. (Smith, 2013, p. 114). This last one also contrasts gender in the plural (elis 3m.pl vs ɛlas 3f.pl).7

With regard to verb form-related features, there is one key change at the paradigmatic level between Portuguese and the Asian Portuguese creoles: these creoles have no person/number-marking verbal suffixes retained from Portuguese. However, in Diu, Daman, and Korlai IPt., the distinction among verb classes is maintained, marked by TVs and corresponding morphology (e.g., the preterit allomorphs ‑ou and ‑u in 3sg, as in cant-Ø-ou [sing-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he sang’, beb-e-u [drink-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he drank’, sub-i-u [go.up-tv-3sg.pret] ‘s/he went up’) (Clements & Luís, 2014; Luís, 2011).

The creoles also retain vestiges of the gerund suffix -ndo and the past participle suffix -do. Table 3 shows this. Of course, all these creoles have developed forms and/or form combinations to mark different tenses, aspects, and moods. Like African creoles, some bare stative verbs in Asian creoles have a default present-tense interpretation, as illustrated by the Korlai examples in (6a–b), from Clements (2007, p. 154). Note, however, that bare verbs in Papiá Kristang can have a present-tense or past-tense interpretation, as shown in (6c), from Baxter (2013, p. 125).

Table 3. Nominal and Verbal Morphology Retained in Asian Portuguese-Based Creoles

De-verbal -du/

-ru

Pluperf/ past -ba

Passive

-du/-ru

Pluperfect passive

-da (< -duba

Perfect

-du/

-ru

Simple past

-o

Gerund

-n(do)

Pl. -s

DIU

+

-

+

-

+

+

+

-

DAM

+

-

+

-

+

+

+

-

KOR

+

-

+

-

+

+

+

-

SLP

+

-

-

-

(+)

-

-

(+)

PKr.

+

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

MAK

-

-

-

-

-

-

+

(recent)

-

Note. Cardoso (2009, 2013) for DIU, Clements and Koontz-Garboden (2002) for DAM, Clements (1996, 2013) for KOR, Smith (2013) for SLP, Baxter (1988, 2013) for PKr., Ferreira (1996), Pinharanda (2010), and Baxter (2009) for MAK.

(6)

However, unlike the African creoles, in the Asian creoles bare dynamic verbs do not have a default indicative past-tense interpretation but rather an imperative interpretation or, in the case of Papiá Kristang and Makista, no categorical tense interpretation at all (see discussion to follow). In (7a), the Korlai bare verb kata is imperative, and the corresponding indicative present-tense sentence is either marked, obligatorily, for ongoingness ((7b)) or for habituality ((7c)).

(7)

In Papiá Kristang and Makista, the bare verb form of a dynamic verb can have present-tense or past-tense interpretation, dependent on contextual factors. Baxter (2013, pp. 124–125) gave an illustrative example of this, shown in (8a), in which the bare verb form can have a habitual reading in the present or the past. The aspect markers (imperfective ta and perfective ja) are used to mark a progressive or iterative reading in the case of ta ((8b,c)) or a perfective reading in the case of ja ((8d)).

(8)

For Makista, Ferreira (1996, p. 242) cited examples like those in (9), for which I have provided a morpheme-by-morpheme gloss and a translation of his Portuguese renderings into English. (9a), with a bare form of the verb, has a generic (habitual) present-tense reading, whereas the sentence in (9b) has a progressive present-tense reading.

(9)

Pinharanda (2010, p. 70) noted that present- and past-tense expression in Makista are unmarked more often than overtly marked, and that ta and ja behave more like aspectual markers than tense markers, as is the case with Papiá Kristang.

In the South Asian Portuguese creoles, past tense is overtly and obligatorily marked. Thus, northern Indo-Portuguese creoles mark simple past with the suffix -o for the verb class -a and -w for the verb classes -e and -i. Examples of the -a type are given in (10), from Diu (Cardoso, 2013, p. 95), Daman (Clements’s field notes), and Korlai (constructed example). The verb class morphology is retained directly from Portuguese and is not sensitive to any morphophonological processes. That is, in the formation and development of these creoles, Portuguese verb classes (-a, -e, -i) are maintained.

(10)

Noteworthy is that in the Portuguese-based Asian creoles being discussed here, there is no double-object construction as found in the African creoles. If a verb has two objects, the indirect object is overtly marked, as illustrated by the Papiá Kristang example in (11), taken from Baxter (2013, p. 126).

(11)

Finally, in these creoles, serial verb constructions are found but are usually constructions also found in the substrate/adstrate languages (see Baxter, 2013, p. 126; Clements, 2007, pp. 165–166).

Turning now to the pronominal systems, Table 4 displays the subject, object, and disjunctive pronouns in the creoles being discussed in this section. Of note is that Daman and Korlai IPt. maintain a T/V distinction in 2SG, in contrast with Diu IPt., which has selected the formal address forms, discarding those of informal address. Diu IPt. represents an acrolectal variety, also spoken by many in Small Daman which also has only the formal address forms. In the more basilectal variety of Daman IPt., by contrast, the T/V distinction is still maintained, as it is in Korlai (Clements & Koontz-Garboden, 2002). In Sri Lanka Creole Portuguese, there is no T/V distinction in the 2SG but rather in the 3SG, as is the case in the adstrate languages of the areas. In all South Asian Portuguese creoles, subject/object case marking is found in all persons and numbers. In Papiá Kristang and Makista, by contrast, the pronouns do not show a case distinction.

Table 4. Subject, Object, and Disjunctive Pronouns in the Portuguese-Based Asian Creoles

1sg

2sg

T/V distinction

3sg

1pl

2pl

3pl

Subj./Obj. case distinction

DIU

yo/ami~pəmi

use/a use

~pə use

___

el/a el~pə el, ɛl/

a ɛl~

pə ɛl

nɔs/

a nɔs~

pə nɔs

usez/

a usez~

pə usez

e(l)z/

a e(l)z~

pə e(l)z

1–3sg

1–3pl

DAM

yo/ami~pa(r)mi

ɔs/pɔrɔs, use/puse

2SG

(basilect)

il/pirel~ayil

ɛl/pirɛl~ayɛl

nɔs/pənɔs~anɔs

usez/pusez~awsez

ilot~ez/pilɔt~

ayi(l)z

1–3sg

1–3pl

KOR

yo/

par(m)i

wɔ/pɔrɔ, use/puse

2SG

el/pel

nɔ/pɔnɔ

udzo/pudzo

eló/peló

1–3sg

1–3pl

SLP

eeʋ/

parim~parmi

boos/

boos-pa

3SG,

3PL

eli/eli-pa, ɛla/ɛla-pa/osiir/osiir-pa

noos/

noos-pa

botus/

botus-pa

elis/elis-pa, ɛla/ɛla-pa/etus/etus-pa

1–3sg

1–3pl

PKr.

yo

bos

----

eli

nus

bolotu

olotu

----

MAK

iou#yo/

(mim)

vos

----

ele

nos~

nosotro

vos~

vosotro

elotro

----

Note. Cardoso (2013) for DIU, Clements and Koontz-Garboden (2002) for DAM, Clements (1996, 2013) for KOR, Smith (2013) for SLP, Baxter (1988, 2013) for PKr., Ferreira (1996), Pinharanda (2010, and personal communication), Baxter (personal communication) for MAK)

3. Concluding Remarks

This article entertained the possibility that a Portuguese pidgin from Portugal may have served as a point o f departure for the Portuguese-lexified creoles in Africa, as Kihm and Rougé (2013, 2016) suggested. It could also have been possible that a Portuguese pidgin originated in the interaction between the Portuguese and the Africans in Africa (Clements, 1992, 1993a, 1993b). It could also be that both hypotheses complement each other. Be that as it may, it seems feasible to assume that the creoles developed during the process of naturalistic subsequent-language acquisition in situations in which native speakers of multiple languages were in contact and that the creoles belong to two subgroups: the Upper Guinea Creoles (Cape Verdean, Guiné Bissau Creole, Casamance Creole) and the Gulf of Guinea Creoles (Santome, Angolar, Principense, Fa d’Ambô). For their part, the Asian Portuguese-lexified creoles discussed formed in two- or three-language contact situations, either from an Asian Portuguese pidgin (Clements, 2000), or simply from the interactions between Portuguese speakers and speakers of the different indigenous languages in the Portuguese-established fortifications and settlements (Clements, 1992, 1993a, 1993b). Among the Asian Portuguese creoles, three subgroups are identified: the South Asian group (Diu, Daman, Korlai), which retains some verbal morphology, Diu and Daman retain gender-based three-pronoun distinctions from Portuguese, and all mark the subject/object case and T/V distinctions in the pronoun systems; Sri Lanka Creole, which retains less Portuguese verbal morphology but distinguishes the subject/object case and gender-based pronouns in the singular and plural as well as T/V distinctions in the pronominal system; and the East Asian group (Papiá Kristang, Makista), which retains very little if any Portuguese verbal morphology and has no T/V or subject/object case distinctions in the pronominal systems.

In this overview of the main Portuguese-lexified creoles in the world, the focus has been on a limited number of morphosyntactic features (noun and verb forms and pronominal systems) from a comparative perspective. This article has limited itself to discussing possible formation scenarios of these Portuguese varieties, but it has not addressed further developments in these varieties, as Siegel (2008) did for several Pacific contact languages. These limitations notwithstanding, the comparison and discussion provided have, it is hoped, given a glimpse into how the Portuguese-lexified creoles discussed here have evolved in the various parts of the world where they are still spoken.

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Notes

  • 1. Some argue that this pidginization process already started with contact between Africans and Portuguese in Portugal (Kihm & Rougé, 2013, 2016; Rougé, 1984), and that an incipient pidgin would have traveled with the Portuguese in their colonization of Africa. Others, such as Jacobs (2010) argue in favor of a Portuguese-lexified pidgin forming in Santiago, Cape Verde. In my view, either scenario is possible. It is also possible that both are true and that they complement each other.

  • 2. In naturalistic subsequent-language acquisition, one would not necessarily expect the Portuguese plural suffix to be retained, especially since plurality can be marked by other means or understood from context. The retention of plural -s in these creoles may have to do with the stronger presence of Portuguese during the colonial era in Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau relative to their presence in the Gulf of Guinea colonies over the centuries. The sensitivity of overt plural -s marking in these creole to animacy and definiteness may also reflect a universal tendency, discussed in Hopper and Thompson (1980), whereby the more animate and/or definite a noun phrase is, the more likely it is to be overtly marked. One also cannot rule out the potential role the relevant African languages may play in the retention of the plural marker. It is a topic that deserves more attention but for now will have to remain for future research,

  • 3. The term anterior is a time-referential term used to express anteriority of a dynamic situation or a state relative to that denoted by the default interpretation of the verb to which it attaches. In (3a), stative verbs such as konxe ‘know’ have a default present-tense interpretation in CVC. The suffix -ba functions here as a past marker. Activity verbs such as kuzinha ‘cook’ in (3b) have a default past-tense interpretation in CVC and the suffix -ba functions as a pluperfect marker. In both of these cases, -ba functions to express a time anterior to the default time reference of the verb to which it attaches.

  • 4. The distinction between addressing a conversation partner informally or formally is found in many Romance languages. A common manner of referring to it makes reference to the French informal (tu) and formal (vous) forms, or T/V. Henceforth, the abbreviation T/V will be used to refer to informal/formal distinction in pronouns.

  • 5. Malayalam, spoken in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is one of the four languages spoken in south India of the Dravidian family. The other three are Tamil (spoken in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka), Telegu (spoken in Andra Pradesh), and Kannada (spoken in Karnataka).

  • 6. The term acrolect is typically used in conjunction with the terms basilect and mesolect to refer to a creole language that has either retained or taken on certain features of the lexifier language. Those creoles that have the fewest features from their lexifier are referred to as basilects, and those in between basilects and acrolects are referred to as mesolects.

  • 7. See also Table 4. For a perspective about how these distinctions fit within a wider Romance comparative context, see Loporcaro (2018, p. 63).