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Parite III. Acquisition L2 et développement des créoles

Creole learner varieties in the past and in the present: implications for Creole development

Bettina Migge et Margot van den Berg
p. 253-281

Résumés

La contribution des processus d’acquisition d’une langue seconde (L2) à l’émergence des créoles est largement reconnue. Cependant, l’impact de la langue seconde ne pourrait se limiter à la genèse du créole. Au Suriname les nouveaux arrivés étaient plus nombreux que les locuteurs natifs du créole pendant tout le 18e siècle. À ce jour, les effets éventuels de la disproportion entre les locuteurs natifs et les non-natifs sur le créole, pendant sa genèse et ultérieurement, sont à peine connus. Dans cet article nous avons combiné des données historiques et contemporaines afin d’étudier l’impact de l’acquisition et de l’utilisation de la L2 sur l’évolution des créoles. Nous examinons plusieurs aspects linguistiques de discours contemporains dans le créole de locuteurs natifs et non-natifs afin d'éclairer les différences sous-jacentes du système de la langue première et seconde. Celles-ci sont ensuite comparées à leurs équivalents provenant de sources antérieures. Cette comparaison nous a permis de conclure que certains sous-systèmes du créole ont davantage été influencés par l’acquisition de la langue seconde que d’autres.

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Notes de l’auteur

We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor of this volume, Sandra Benazzo, for their insightful comments and criticism on earlier versions of this paper. All remaining errors are the responsibility of the authors.

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

1Discussions about the role of second language (L2) learning strategies have a long history in the literature on the genesis and development of creoles. Since the beginning of the 21st century there is renewed interest in the study of the shared processes involved in both L2 learning and creole genesis (Winford 2003; Lefebvre et al. 2006; Siegel 2008).

2L2 acquisitionists working with Clive Perdue and Wolfgang Klein in particular provide a valuable framework for comparing proto-typical L2 practices and developing creoles. According to these scholars, outcomes of second language learning, so-called learner varieties, are systems, characterized by a particular lexical repertoire and by a particular interaction of organizational principles that principally differ from native varieties in their underlying organizational principles (Klein & Perdue 1997; Dimroth & Starren 2003; Hendriks 2005).

3In pidgin and creole (P/C) studies, the nature of learner varieties and their role in shaping creole grammars have hardly been explicitly studied because there is a longstanding bias towards discovering the grammatical system of creoles, and because locally-born children are traditionally assumed to be the main agents of creole genesis. Following Bickerton (1981), it is widely assumed that the structural elaboration differentiating a complex creole from its simple pidgin ancestor results from nativization, namely the acquisition of native speakers by a language. While foreign-born adults (non-native speakers) contribute innovative features to the developing language, locally-born children play a crucial role, via first language acquisition, in stabilizing and elaborating the linguistic system (see for example DeGraff 1999 among others).

4This classic view of creole development has in recent years been further developed by researchers working on expanded Pacific Pidgins and Hawai’ian (cf. Roberts 2000; Siegel 2008). For instance, Siegel (2008) posits a three-generational rather than a two-generational model, and argues that substrate calquing and second language use, rather than first language acquisition, played an important role in the development of creoles. He posits the following model: that the first generation who was dominant in their ancestral language introduced new morphosyntactic features to the pidgin through substrate calquing. The second generation, who were bilingual in an ancestral language and in the emerging contact language and who also made frequent use of the pidgin, assigned new functions to such features mostly based on models found in their ancestral languages. Finally, the third generation who were mostly monolingual in the contact variety further systematized and firmly established their use.

  • 1  Note that Smith (2009) and Veenstra (2006) propose a more abrupt scenario that is more in line wit (...)

5In the case of the Surinamese Creoles, the picture is more complex and a similar clear-cut three generational development model finds little support (cf. Arends 1989; Essegbey & Bruyn to appear; Migge & Winford 2009; Kramer 2009; van den Berg 2007).1 However, Siegel’s emphasis on the role of substrate influence via transfer in the development of creoles is clearly of interest for the Surinamese context. Demographic data suggest that Sranan was being learned and practiced mostly as an L2 by newly arriving enslaved Africans, free Europeans and later indentured labourers for a considerable amount of time after its initial emergence. Even in late 18th century Surinam, over a century after initial colonization, only 30% of the black population was locally-born (Arends 1995: 269). The Maroon Creoles nativized more quickly, but they, particularly Ndyuka and to a lesser degree the other Eastern Maroon varieties, have also been and continue to be practiced as L2 varieties (cf. Léglise 2007 for the modern context). To date it is still unclear what effect this numerical dominance of non-native over native speakers has had on the development of these creoles.

  • 2  Historical texts for the Maroon Creoles are much less substantial, but due to close similarities b (...)

6In this paper we will take up this issue, drawing on historical as well as contemporary data. In contrast to other creoles, a remarkable corpus of 18th century language materials in and on Sranan is available that provides us with a unique window on 18th century Sranan language practices.2 The contemporary data come from recordings and discussion with native and non-native speakers of the Creoles of Surinam in French Guiana. In order to explore the similarities and differences in the underlying L1 and L2 systems, we first examine three linguistic features, namely negation, and imperfective and past time marking, in the contemporary varieties and then compare them with their Early Sranan equivalents. The aim of this study is to improve our understanding of the role and relative impact of strategies of second language learning and use on the development of creole grammar.

7The paper is organized as follows. Part One provides some background on the data and outlines the research methodology in more detail. In Parts Two to Four we compare the distribution of the three linguistic features in our contemporary and historical corpora. Part Five summarizes the findings and discusses the implications for theories of creole development.

2. Data & Methodology

2.1. The contemporary language data

8The French overseas department of French Guiana (Guyane Française) is highly multilingual. Current estimates put the number to about 30 languages belonging to several families of languages (cf. Léglise & Migge 2006). Besides French, the official language, they include Amerindian languages from the Cariban (Kali’na, Wayana), Tupi-Guarani (Emerillon, Wayampi), and Arawak (Lokono, Palikur) family of languages, various European languages such as Brazilian Portuguese, (Surinamese) Dutch and Spanish, English-lexified creoles (Aluku, Ndyuka, Pamaka, Saamaka, Sranan Tongo, Guyanese Creole), French-lexified creoles (the Creoles of French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe & Haitian Creole), and Asian languages like Hmong and varieties of Chinese. In the last 30 years, French Guiana has received considerable numbers of migrants from the Guiana region (Guyana, Surinam, Brazil) and from outside of the region (Haiti, China), and processes of urbanization have given rise to a fair amount of internal migration.

9Speakers of Surinamese Creoles are at the centre of such migration movements. They currently constitute about 40% of the overall population and make up an even higher proportion in the western part of the department. The three related Eastern Maroon Creoles (EMC) – Aluku, Ndyuka and Pamaka – are spoken natively by more than 30% of the population (Léglise 2007). Native speakers of Sranan Tongo are restricted to the few Arawak villages and a few Kali’na villages.

10The Creoles of Surinam are also widely used as a lingua franca in western French Guiana where they are locally referred to by the generalizing terms Takitaki or Businenge Tongo which may refer to all the Creoles of Surinam or just to a subset such as the three related EMCs (cf. Léglise & Migge 2006). A school survey showed that more than 65% of 6th grade children in the west declare speaking Ndyuka or Takitaki as an L2 (Léglise 2007).

11The data for this study come from a wide range of interactions involving persons of European, Guianese, Haitian, Chinese, Brasilian and Amerindian (Kali’na) origin. Some of the interactions had an interview character while others were service encounters or informal chats (cf. Migge & Leglise in prep.). People’s competence in the language, learning trajectories and usage patterns also differ. One person was essentially at the one-word stage while most others had progressed to an intermediate or high level of competence. Some people learned ‘Takitaki’ in their youth while others only learned it later in adult life. Finally, some used ‘Takitaki’ only for a limited number of work-related interactions while others used it regularly for a wide range of interaction types, including with peers, partners and in-laws, and in some formal interactions.

2.2. Historical sources

  • 3  The Suriname Creole Archive (SUCA) is a joint project of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Univ (...)

12The texts that were consulted for the present study were retrieved from the Sranan Section of the Surinam Creole Archive.3 They include a) religious texts such as bible translations and hymns (Schumann 1781); b) judicial documents such as transcripts of interrogations and witness reports (Court Records); c) official documents such as a peace treaty; d) travel reports; e) documents that were created for the purpose of language instruction such as dictionaries and language manuals by a Moravian missionary (C. L. Schumann) as well as secular persons (J.D. Herlein, P. van Dyk, J. Nepveu and G. C. Weygandt). Because of this variety of text types, variation within and among the texts may correspond to different dimensions, ranging from diachronic to social, stylistic and geographical. Furthermore, variation within and among the texts may be linked to the different speech events represented in these texts, ranging from recorded and recalled to imagined and invented. While recorded texts are the most reliable (van den Berg & Arends 2004), texts belonging to other text types need to be assessed carefully in terms of representativeness and validity. Detailed assessments can be found in the works of Smith (1987), Arends (1989, 1995), Bruyn (1995) and van den Berg (2007) among others. The sources are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 The texts in the Sranan section of SUCA that were used in this study

text

year

document type

page

SR tokens

token total

Court Records

1707-1767

dl ; we

-

500

-

Herlein

1718

w ; dl

3

200

400

Nepveu

1762

pt

12

1.900

1.900

Van Dyk

c1765

w ; dl ; pl

108

14.000

28.000

Nepveu

1770

w ; dl

8

 700

1.800

Schumann

1783

dl ; dc

205

20.000

40.000

Stedman

1790

we

-

300

-

Weygandt

1798

w ; dl ; pl

144

15.000

30.000

total

480

52.600

102.100

(w= word list; dl= dialogue; pl= play; dc= dictionary; we= Sranan words and expressions in text in another language; pt= peace treaty)

2.3. Methodology

13We have selected three morphosyntactic features for comparison between contemporary native and non-native creole speech and Early Sranan: Negation, Imperfective aspect and Past time reference. We focus on these aspects of the verb phrase because they have figured prominently in the literature on L2 learning.

14First, we examine these features in contemporary native and non-native creole speech in order to reveal the similarities and differences in the underlying L1 and L2 systems. Subsequently, their Early Sranan equivalents are studied. We posit that similarities between L1 practices and Early Sranan (but not L2 practices) suggest that a feature emerged rapidly and that its emergence was mostly likely not characterized by a protracted period of variation preceding stabilization. By contrast, we take similarities between L2 practices and Early Sranan (but not L1 practices) to be indicative of a slow process of development of the investigated feature; its emergence involved one or more stages, and/or several different models were in competition prior to the feature’s stabilization. Similarities between L1, L2 and Early Sranan suggest that the investigated feature may have emerged via converging developmental paths in L1 and L2 acquisition. Differences between L1, L2 and Early Sranan call for other explanations, such as contact-induced changes modelled on languages not encountered in the other setting. For example, Dutch and German may have exerted some influence on (the representation of) Early Sranan, but only (Surinamese) Dutch influences L1 and L2 practices in French Guyana, indirectly through Sranan and directly because some L1 speakers did all or part of their education in Surinam.

3. Negation

15Negation markers are among the few closed class items that are typically found in the Basic Variety (BV), an early but relatively stable state in the process of spontaneous (adult) second language acquisition (Klein & Perdue 1997). They tend to precede the part of the utterance over which they have scope and occur at the topic-focus boundary (Klein & Perdue 1997: 318). Because the placement of negation (and other scope particles) depends to a certain extent on the topic-focus structure of the utterance, and on the position of the elements over which they have scope, its position ‘indicates which part of the utterance is to be affected by the particle, and its scope can be described as ‘adjacent and to the right’” (Dimroth & Watorek 2000: 309).

16The expression of negation evolves via the use of holophrastic (or anaphoric) negation in the pre-BV (stage 1), to a focus operator and later topic-focus linker in the BV (stage 2) to forms that correspond more closely to the syntax and morphology of negation in the target language (stage 3). But already in the pre-BV, negation is integrated in the utterance structure, as it is either a comment on a topic X or it has in its focus an element X. Once lexical categories and thematic arguments are acknowledged by the learner, the item that expresses negation, the negation operator, begins to act as a focus sensitive operator, being placed in pre-focus (typically pre-verbal) position. When focus is no longer the main drive behind the placement of negation in pre-verbal position, a syntactic motivation is assumed for the placement of negation in this position (see Dimroth et al. 2003).

3. 1. Negation in contemporary L1 varieties

17In the L1 varieties of the EMCs and Sranan clausal negation is expressed by a negation operator or negative particle, or á(n) in the EMCs and no in Sranan, that directly precedes the verb and its auxiliaries (1). However, our EM L1 data involve variation between EMC and Sranan forms. This is most prominent among young urbanized Maroons who are at pains to project an urban identity (cf. Migge 2007).

  • 4  See abbreviations p. 277.

(1)

a.

Mi

án

biibi.

(PM 17)4

1s

neg

believe

‘I don’t believe it.’

b.

No,

yu

no

musu

aksi

a

man

tu. (SN 8b)

No,

2s

neg

must

ask

det

man

true

‘No, you’re right, you surely shouldn’t ask him.’

18Constituent negation is expressed by ná wan ‘not one’ preceding a constituent that is headed by a noun (2a). When it occurs in combination with clausal negation in the EMCs, the negated constituent does not occur in clause initial position (2b) unless it is clefted.

(2)

a.

wan

sani

a

abi

a

ini

en

osu

fu

den

teke

beli

en. (ND1)

neg

one

things

3s

have

loc

in

3s

house

for

they

take

bury

3s

‘He has nothing in his house to bury him with.’

b.

I

á

poy

bay

wan

enkii

sani.

(ND1)

2s

neg

can

buy

neg

one

single

thing

‘You cannot buy a single thing.’

19In Sranan, the use of no wan ‘not one’ is less restricted; the negated constituent can occur in clause initial position without fronting or clefting (3).

(3)

Ma

no

wan

sukutaki,

no

wan

korkoribromki,

noti

no

but

neg

one

search-talk

neg

one

flatter-flower

nothing

neg

ben

yepi. (from Eersel 2008)

past

help

‘But not a single request, no flattery, nothing helped.’

20The negative constituent adds emphasis (cf. Huttar & Huttar 1994: 253). Compare for instance the sentences in (4): (4a) with constituent negation has an emphatic reading while (4b) without it does not. In (4a), everybody without exclusion is referred to while in (4b) it is implied that only some, usually the majority, are included.

(4)

a.

wan

sama

o

wani.

(PM 27)

no

one

person

neg

fut

want

‘Nobody doesn’t want (to do this).’

b.

Sama

án

lobi

fa

i

anga

en

e

libi. (PM 17)

person

neg

love

how

2s

with

3s

impf

live

‘People don’t like the way you and him live.’

21The negative pronoun noti ‘nothing’ and negative adverb noiti ‘never’ also require clausal negation if they follow the verb (5).

(5)

a.

da

a

o

lei

noiti

moo. (PM 20)

then

3s

neg

fut

drive

never

again

‘Then he won’t transport food for us any more.’

b.

mi

án

be

sabi

noti. (PM 4)

1s

neg

past

know

nothing

‘I didn’t know anything (about it).’

22If they occur in clause initial position, clausal negation is omitted (6).

(6)

Noiti

de

wani

a

kon

fu

pasa

na

wan

taa

ana sonde den ana(PM4)

never

3p

want

3p

come

for

pass

loc

one

other

hand

without

3p

han

‘They (government) never want any (monetary) help to go to Maroons without first it going through them.’

3.2. Negation in contemporary L2 varieties

23The expression of negation in the L2 varieties of the Surinamese Creoles is similar to that found in the L1 varieties. In the L2 varieties (7), as in the practices of urbanized younger EMs, the EMC and the Sranan clausal negators are used interchangeably.

(7)

a.

Nownow

mi

e

go

na

a

munde

[…]

bika

mi

án

nownow

1s

neg

impf

go

loc

det

Monday

because

1s

neg

be

de

ya

tok. (HM)

past

cop

here

d

‘Now, I’m not going on Monday because I wasn’t here, ok.’

b.

No

mi

no

o

teki

a

kans

ye ! (HM)

no

1s

neg

fut

take

det

chance

d

‘No, I will not take the chance!’

24L2 varieties also make use of constituent negation (8a). In contrast to L1 varieties, however, constituent negation does not appear to be very common in L2 varieties. Furthermore, in L2 varieties non-fronted negative constituents in clause initial position may co-occur with clausal negation (8b-c), as in Sranan (3) above, but unlike the L1 EMCs. In fact, there is only one example in the L2 corpus in which a negative constituent occurs without a clausal negation marker (8d).

25Clausal negation is also combined with inherently negative quantifiers such as neks (< Dutch niks ‘nothing’) and no(o)iti (<Dutch nooit ‘never’)in L2 varieties (9). Such constructions are much more frequent in all L2 varieties than those involving ná wan/no wan.

(9)

a.

mi

no

abi

neks

fu

taki. (PN)

1s

neg

have

nothing

for

say

‘I don’t have anything to say.’

b.

nooiti

mi

e

denki

fu

ogi. (KG)

never

1s

neg

impf

think

for

bad

‘I never intend to do bad things.’

26In contrast to L1 varieties, negative quantifiers may occur without clausal negation in both clause-initial and clause-final position in L2 varieties (10).

(10)

a.

gi

mi

a

sani,

noit

mi

luku

a

sani. (SL)

give

me

det

thing

never

1s

look

det

thing

‘Give me that the thing, I have never looked at the thing.’

b.

ma

na

fu

dati

mi

taki

neks.

but

FOC

for

that

1s

say

nothing

‘That’s why I said nothing.’

27The comparison shows that L2 varieties differ from L1 varieties in the relative frequency of use of negative constituents and quantifiers and the rules governing their co-occurrence with clausal negation. The placement of negative constituents and quantifiers in L2 varieties mainly serves the function of focus marking which is reminiscent of the behavior of negation markers in the BV as reported by Dimroth & Watorek (2000) and Dimroth et al. (2003).

3.3. Negation in historical sources

  • 5  The negation operator is occasionally represented as na in Schumann’s (1783) dictionary and Van Dy (...)

28Basic negative clauses do not differ much across the various sources of Early Sranan; the negation operator no is placed in between the subject and the verb, preceding markers of tense, mood and aspect, and auxiliaries (11a).5 In copula-less clauses, no precedes the nominal predicate (11b).

(11)

a.

effi

mi

no

ben

takki

gi

ju,

ju

no

ben

sa

sabi. (Sch 1783: 15)

if

1s

neg

past

talk

give

2s

2s

neg

past

fut

know

‘If I didn’t tell you, you would not have known.’

b.

jou

no

meester

vor

mi.

(CR 1707)

2s

neg

master

of

1s

‘You are not my master.’

29Combinations of clausal negation and negative quantifiers such as notti ‘nothing’ (< Engl. nothing) and nimmere ‘never’ (< Dutch nimmer ‘never’) are encountered in most of the sources, see for example (12).

(12)

a.

mi

no

habi

notti

va

takki.

(Sch 1783: 125)

1s

neg

have

nothing

to

say

‘I have nothing to say.’

b.

Mino

 jerri

zo

wan

zant

 nimmere

(VD c1765: 79)

1s-neg

hear

so

a

thing

never

‘I have never heard such a thing.’

30However, when the negative quantifier occurs in clause-initial position, the clausal negation is dropped, as in (13).

(13)

nebretem

mi ben du datti, od. mi no  ben du datti nebretem(Sch 1783: 121)

never

1s past do that   /  1sg neg past do that never

‘Never did I do that; I never did that.’

  • 6  The only instances in which clausal negation co-occurs with no wan in the sources is when the nega (...)

31The negative construction no wanneg one/a’ differs from notti ‘nothing’and nimmre/nebretem ‘never’ in that it cannot co-occur with clausal negation in basic negative sentences. Instead we find constructions such as (14a-b).6 Furthermore, we find examples such as (14c), where the preposition na splits up the negative construction no wan, while the meaning of the entire construction appears unaffected by this change.

(14)

a.

mi

no

de

go

wanpeh,

od.

No

wan

peh

mi

de

go

1s

neg

impf

go

one/a-place

/

neg

one/a

place

1s

impf

go

‘I am going nowhere.’ (Sch 1783: 134)

b.

dem

no

sa

doe

joe

wan

santie

(CR 1760)

3p

neg

fut

do

2s

a

thing

‘They will not harm you.’

c.

 no

wan

peh,

no

na

wan

peh

(Sch 1783: 133)

neg

one

place

neg

loc

one

place

‘nowhere’

32These findings suggest that no wan was not a lexicalized negative quantifier that modified nouns in Early Sranan, even though pronominal no wan ‘no one; nobody’ is encountered from the mid-18th century onwards. They further suggest a more syntactic rather than a more focus-sensitive motivation underlying the use of the clausal negation. The clausal negator seems to overrule the use of the constituent negator, and the negator no no longer appears adjacent to the item it has in focus.

3.4. Negation in L1, L2 and the historical sources

33Our discussion of the expression of negation revealed some remarkable similarities between L1 EMC and Early Sranan varieties. In both sets of varieties a negated constituent in non-clause-initial position combines with preverbal clausal negation. In clause-initial position, it only combines with clausal negation when it is under focus. This contrasts with modern Sranan and contemporary L2 varieties where clause-initial negated constituents may always combine with clausal negation. We hypothesize that this difference between L1 EMC/Early Sranan and modern Sranan/L2 varieties is due to the latter having being heavily influenced by other languages for a prolonged period of time, and therefore involving a greater degree of variation. Finally, modern L2 varieties differ from L1 EMC and L1 Sranan in that they do not make frequent use of constituent negation; preverbal negation is the preferred strategy. This is also true for Early Sranan. This may be because of convergence: in the L1 linguistic system, preverbal negation is the unmarked strategy to express negation, while constituent negation is the marked strategy, bringing an item into focus in an explicit manner. In L2 learning the preverbal position is the pre-focus position, where the negator occurs when it begins to act as a focus-sensitive operator (Dimroth & Watorek 2000; Dimroth et al. 2003). Because the syntactic and focus-sensitive positions overlap, and constituent negation is relatively marked, the preverbal position is the preferred position for the negator. Thus, we conclude that the domain of negation must have stabilized early onwards.

4. Tense and aspect

34Tense and aspect are studied extensively in L1 and L2 acquisition research, uncovering a strong relationship between inherent lexical aspect of verbs and the acquisition of tense-aspect morphology (Andersen & Shirai 1996; Sugaya & Shirai 2007; Bardovi-Harlig 2000). The Aspect hypothesis summarizes this relationship, predicting that at the early stages of acquisition, learners predominantly use past tense and perfective aspect forms with punctual and telic verbs and progressive aspect forms with activity verbs (Sugaya & Shirai 2007; Andersen & Shirai 1996). Li & Shirai (2000: 50) summarize the predicted order of development of tense-aspect morphology across different types of verbs as follows:

Table 2. The development of tense-aspect morphology

State

Activity

Accomplishment

Achievement

(Perfective) Past

4

3

2

1

Progressive

 ?

1

2

3

Imperfective

1

2

3

4

Note: Numbers represent order of acquisition, from the earliest (1) to the latest (4).

35In what follows, the expression of tense and aspect in L1, L2 varieties and Early Sranan is studied from this developmental perspective.

4.1.1. Imperfective aspect in the contemporary L1 varieties

  • 7  Seuren (1981) was perhaps the first to trace the imperfective aspect marker (d)e to the copula/exi (...)

36Most Surinamese Creole L1 varieties express imperfective aspect with the element e (Winford & Migge 2007: 85-91).7E can occur with a wide range of verbs such as state verbs (STATE), activity verbs (ACT), accomplishment-denoting verbs (ACC) and achievement-denoting verbs (ACH) expressing a progressive (pro), habitual (hab), continuous (con) as well as inchoative (inc) occurrence of the state or event denoted by the main verb.

(15)

a.

CON+ACT

On

pe!

Da

a

mi

anga

i

e

nyan

a

q

place

then

foc

1s

with

2s

impf

eat

det

pina

fu

saanan.

suffering

POSS

Surinam

‘What! You and I suffer/get the bad part of Surinam.’

b.

PRO+ACT

A

tii

e

kali

i.

det

elder

impf

call

2s

‘The elder is calling you.’

c.

HAB+ACT

Mi

e

go

a

ini

sama

taki.

1s

neg

impf

go

loc

in

person

talk

‘I don’t typically interfere with people’s discussions.’

d.

INC+ACC

Den

e

poli

den

pikin.

3P

impf

spoil

det

child

‘They are spoiling the children.’

e.

CON+STATE

Tii A.

e

de

fi

en

so

mooi(n).

Elder A.

impf

cop

for

3s

so

nice

‘Elder A is doing well.’

f.

PRO+ACH

I

e

feni

mma

B.

teki.

2s

impf

find

elder

B

take

‘You managed to secure elder B for yourself.’

37E may also express (imminent) future with motion verbs.

(16)

[A asks B if she wants something to eat; B declines saying that she intends to leave, i.e. will be leaving soon:]

B:

Mi

e

gwe.

1s

impf

leave

‘I’ll leave to go upriver tomorrow.’

4.1.2. Imperfective aspect in L2 varieties

38E is also found in similar contexts in L2 varieties (17).

(17)

a.

INC+ACC

A

uwiiri

seefi

e

fatu

tok.

(RA)

det

hair

self

impf

fat

right

‘The hair itself is getting thicker, right.’

b.

PRO+ACT

I

e

yoku.

(Krl)

2s

impf

joke

‘You are joking.’

c.

HAB+ACT

Di

den

e

kari

bita

uwiiri. (Krl)

which

3p

impf

call

bitter

leave

‘Which they refer to as bitter leave.’

d.

CON+STATE

da

mi

go

aksi

wan

man

sa

e

sabi. (Kr)

then

1s

go

ask

one

man

who

impf

know

‘Then I go and ask a man who is knowledgeable.’

e.

PRO+ACH

I

e

bay

wan

machine. (Krl)

2s

impf

buy

one

machine

‘You are buying a machine.’

39In L2 varieties, e may also receive an immediate future interpretation.

(18)

La Poste

seefi

mi

e

boon ! (Ww)

post.office

self

1s

impf

burn

‘Even the post office I will burn down!’

40The main difference between L1 and L2 practices is that e appears to be optional in L2 varieties. Most L2 speakers use e in more than 60% of the cases and few use only or predominantly Ø (Migge & Léglise in prep.). At this stage, it appears that absence of e is more common if the verb is preceded by the Sranan negative marker no.

(19)

a.

a

nno

Ø

sabi

pe

mi

e

tan. (PiM)

3s

neg

impf

know

where

1s

impf

stay

‘He doesn’t know where I live.’

b.

solanga

a

no

Ø

puru

stoff,

a

bun

moro

bun

fu

tapu

en.

so.long

3s

neg

impf

pull

puss

3s

good

more

good

for

cover

3s.

‘As long as it does not have puss, it is better to cover it.’

41In terms of the Aktionsart of the verb, absence of e appears with a wide range of verb types – absence is frequent with activity verbs, but they are also most frequent in the data.

42In L2 varieties, unlike L1 varieties, e may be used to convey future with motion (21a) and non-motion verbs (21b-c).

(21)

a.

Bernie

Speer

kon,

a

taki

a

no

e

kon

moro. (ST)

Bernie

Speer

came

3s

talk

3s

neg

impf

come

more

‘Bernie Speer came here and she said that she is not going to come again.’

b.

u

e

si

tonton

R.

fosi

u

Ø

gwe ! (PiN)

we

neg

impf

see

uncle

R

first

1p

impf/fut

leave

‘We won’t see uncle R. before we’ll leave.’

c.

[talking about life and death]

Na

vakansi

u

e

teki,

u

e

abi

fu

dede. (Ku)

foc

holiday

1p

impf

take

1p

impf

have

for

die

‘It’s holidays that we are taking [right now, but] we’re going to die.’

4.1.3. Imperfective in early sources

  • 8  A semelfactive is a type of verb that is used in reference to an event that happens only once.

43In Early Sranan, imperfective aspect meanings are expressed by (spelling variants of) de, auxiliaries such as tan ‘to stay’ or begin ‘to begin; to start’, or they are not expressed at all (zero, Ø). For limitations of space, we restrict our discussion to de. As in L1 varieties, it occurs with a wide variety of verbs in the sources, expressing a progressive, habitual, continuous as well as inchoative occurrence of the state or event denoted by the main verb. Some examples of de with state verbs, activity verbs, accomplishment verbs, achievement verbs as well as semelfactives are presented in (22).8

  • 9  While the reduplication may give the impression of non-semelfactivity, meki koffokoffo can be used (...)

44While the examples in (22) show that de is an established imperfective aspect marker by the end of the 18th century, other examples reveal that its use is optional rather than categorical throughout the 18th century. All sources contain instances of unmarked verbs, while the discourse context suggests that de would have been appropriate if it had been obligatory. For example, we find in Nepveu (1770):

(23)

a.

a

de

wakka

langa

him

(N 1770: 277)

3s

impf

walk

with

3s

‘He is having an affair with her.’

b.

a

fourfouro

langa

him

(N 1770: 277)

3s

steal

with

3s

‘He is having an extramarital affair with her.’

45Aspect is marked in example (23a), while it is not marked in (23b). Example (23a) is a paraphrase of the sentence ‘he/she has a relationship with him/her’; (23b) conveys the same meaning, but qualifies the relationship as an extramarital one. Towards the end of the 18th century de is used increasingly to mark imperfective aspect. For example, more instances of de are found in Weygandt’s language primer, which is an extended revision of Van Dyk’s (c1765) language primer, than in the original Van Dyk. A detailed comparison of these sources (van den Berg in prep.) reveals that Weygandt corrected some uses of de in Van Dyk. He alsoinserted de where unmarked verbs occur in Van Dyk, compare (24a) with (24b).

(24)

a.

Joe

jam

morre

metti

liki

briddi

(VD 1765: 27)

2s

eat

more

meat

like

bread

b.

Joe

de

n’jam

moro

metie

lekie

brédee

(Wey 1798 : 95)

2s

impf

eat

more

meat

like

bread

‘You are eating more meat than bread.’

46In conclusion, we summarize that de emerged as an imperfective aspect marker from the mid-18th century onwards, but it appears to be an optional, rather than a categorical item. Further research is needed to determine what precisely governs the use of de in Early Sranan.

4.2. Expression of past time reference

47The Surinamese Creoles have a relative tense system in which the tense locus may be either the moment of utterance (speech time) or some other reference point.

4.2.1 Contemporary L1

48In the contemporary Surinamese Creoles past time reference is either expressed by the particles ben (Sranan) and be (EMC) which precede the verbal head (25a) or by the unmarked verb (25b) optionally modified by temporal adverbials. Constructions using the unmarked verb occur once reference time has been established (cf. Huttar & Huttar 1994: 491-492).

(25)

a.

Di

wi

anga

bakaa

be

e

wooko

a

be

tan

so.

when

we

with

Europeans

past

impf

work

it

past

stay

so

‘When we were working with the Europeans, it was like that.’

b.

I

yee

baala

Si

kosi

Se.

(PM4 NSF)

you

hear

Mr

name

curse

name

‘Did you hear (that) Mr Si cursed Se?’

49Verbs that have more of a state-type interpretation such as sabi ‘to know’ and tan ‘to stay’ generally require be to locate the state in the past because their default interpretation is present time reference. When ben/be precede an activity-denoting verb in a past context, ben/be locate the activity as having taken place prior to the point of reference in the past, i.e. ‘a past before past’ or background information (cf. Winford 2000: 401 for Sranan). If ben/be are combined with o, sa or wani, they express a hypothetical or counterfactuality meaning (cf. Winford 2000: 409).

4.2.2. Past time reference in L2 varieties

50The situation seems to be relatively similar in L2 varieties where predicates are marked for past time by the marker be or ben. However, once the time frame has been set, such marking is no longer necessary, particularly with activity-denoting verbs.

(26)

A:

Saide

i

be

kon

a

Guyane? (FM)

Why

2S

PAST

come

LOC

Franch Guiana

'Why did you come to French Guiana?'

B:

bika

mi

án

be

wani

meki

suudati,

da

mi

be

sabi

because

1S

NEG

PAST

want

make

soldier

then

1S

PAST

know

wan

association

na

Soolan

neen

mi

Ø

kon

fi

wooko

na

a

one

association

LOC

St. Laurent

then

1S

come

for

work

LOC

DET

association,

neen

den

Ø

tya

mi

kon

a

suudati

a

Cayenne.

Association

then

3P

carry

1S

come

LOC

soldier

LOC

Cayenne

‘Because I didn’t want to go to the army. So I knew an association in St.

Laurent, thus I came to work there. They made me go to the army in Cayenne.’

51There are a number of instances in the L2 data where the past marker appears to be overused in that the timeframe was established, but speakers still continued to use be instead of the unmarked verb form.

52The L2 corpus also includes some examples where be is used as a ‘past before past’ or background marker (28a-b) and others where it marks hypothetical or counterfactuality in conditional clauses (28c), as in L1 varieties.

4.2.3. Early Sranan

53Relative past is expressed by variants of ben in the early Sranan sources. Prototypically, ben locates a certain situation as occurring prior to the time reference point established in the discourse, that is the moment of speech or some reference point in the past. In the dialogue represented in (29) the reference point is the period of departure from France. Thus, ben indicates that the talking took place prior to the leaving.

(29)

[A]

Hoe

zan

den

ben

takki

da.tem

joe

kommote

na

frans konderi.

q

thing

3p

past

say

when

2s

come.out

loc

France country

‘What did they say when you were leaving France?’

[B]

Den

ben

takki

van

noeffe

zomma

disi

ben

go

trouw

3p

past

say

of

many

person

rel

past

go

marry

‘They spoke of many people who were getting married.’ (VD c1765: 36)

54The earliest attestation of ben is Herlein’s (1718) text, see (30a) below. Nepveu (1770) corrects this sentence, leaving out ben among other alternations (30b). Indeed, sendi ‘to send’ is a non-stative verb; when unmarked it usually expresses ‘past time reference’, if the point of reference is speech time. Example (30c) is a dialogue from Weygandt’s manual that is similar to the Herlein dialogue.

  • 10 Benakeseis a contracted serial verb construction, sen(i) aksi, which roughly translates as ‘to send (...)

55Although the point of reference is not made explicit in the examples in (30), based on the discourse context it can be argued that it is not the time of speaking, but sometime in the past. Thus, Nepveu’s correction may not necessarily be an improvement; he may have mistaken the reference point as speech time under the influence of his native tongue.

56Similar to a secondary (modal) use of ben in contemporary L1 Sranan (Winford 2000; Wilner 1994), Early Sranan ben can convey a sense of hypotheticality or suggestion, to ‘soften’ the effect of a piece of advice, an invitation or a request, as in the example below. It is taken from the opening lines of a dialogue between two ladies, one visiting the other.

(31)

Mi

ben

wan

kom

na

misi

na

disi

zabatim.

(VD c1765: 32)

1s

past

want

come

loc

lady

loc

this

evening

‘I would like to visit the lady this evening.’

4.3. Conclusion

57There are several interesting similarities and differences between the use of the imperfective aspect marker in the three data sets. Unlike the predictions presented in Table 1, our data do not exhibit a strong relationship between inherent lexical aspect of verbs and the occurrence of tense-aspect morphology. Our findings show that in both contemporary L2 varieties and Early Sranan the imperfective marker can occur with all possible types of verbs, expressing all possible kinds of aspectual meanings. The main difference is that unlike the contemporary L1 varieties it is optional in the contemporary L2 varieties and Early Sranan. It is not fully understood at present what precisely governs its distribution in these varieties. Two explanations suggest themselves. First, it may be possible that the distribution of the imperfective marker is determined by factors such as the presence of the negation operator and by discourse or pragmatic factors. This would explain why the imperfective marker is not obligatory: its occurrence is not syntactically motivated but rather driven by the speaker’s desire to underscore the status of the state/event in the discourse and/or by whether or not temporal information is easily recoverable from the context (cf Benazzo 2009: 15). Second, the variability in the presence of TMA markers may also be indicative of the fact that the use and functions of the imperfective marker were/are not yet fully conventionalised in early Sranan and contemporary L2 varieties. Essentially, they would be representing earlier developmental stages and the L1 varieties would represent later stages. For instance, Slobin (2004) concludes on the basis of a comparison of the development of the future marker in Tok Pisin and TMA markers in Nicaraguan sign language that developed from several varieties of Home Signs, that this kind of variability is typical of emerging linguistic systems developed by L2 speakers. He credits their obligatory use to the agency of children acquiring the system as an L1. This has strong parallels with our case suggesting that the obligatory use of the Imperfective marker in L1 Eastern Maroon varieties was due to nativization. Further research is needed to clarify this.

58The use of the relative past tense marker in the contemporary L1, L2 and Early Sranan varieties is very similar, although there is some indication of overuse in contemporary L2 varieties and Early Sranan. This is not atypical of L2 practices (cf. also Siegel 2008).

5. Conclusions and implications

59The findings presented in this paper show some remarkable similarities and differences between contemporary L1 and L2 varieties and Early Sranan. The three investigated areas of grammar are very similar in the three types of data. Each subsystem involves the same variants and their distribution is also broadly similar in the three types of data. This suggests that there is diachronic and synchronic continuity between these three varieties: The language(s) has/have not been subject to drastic change. Continuity between them is particularly clear in the area of negation where we find close resemblance in the distribution of negative operators and negative constituents between (some) L1 (varieties), L2 varieties and varieties represented in the early texts. This suggests to us that some areas of grammar did not pass through several developmental stages, appear to have been little affected by L2 practices and consequently nativized quickly.

60However, other subsystems of grammar such as imperfective marking and the use of the past time marker were subject to variation in the early sources. E alternated with zero and in the case of the past marker there was some tendency of using ben as an obligatory rather than as a relative past marker. These patterns of variation resemble those found in L2 varieties in general and those in contemporary L2 varieties of the Surinamese Creoles in particular, but differ from contemporary L1 patterns. This suggests at least two things in relation to the impact of L2 practices on creole development. First, L2 practices affected some areas of grammar in the early varieties, possibly those areas whose makeup differed in the native languages of the early users and creators of the languages, but were subsequently levelled probably as a result of increased nativization. Second, some areas of grammar stabilized relatively slowly, supporting the view that creole grammars emerged gradually via several stages rather than abruptly (Arends 1989).

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Annexe

Early Sranan Tongo Sources

– Court Records 1667-1767. Nationaal Archief, The Hague. Inventaris van de archieven van de Raad van Politie (1669-1680) en de Raad van Politie en Justitie (1680-1683) en het Oud-Archief van het Hof van Politie en Criminele Justitie in Suriname (access code 1.05.10.02, inventory numbers 781-948); Overgekomen brieven en papieren uit het archief van de Sociëteit van Suriname, 1683-1715 (access code 1.05.04.01, inventory numbers 212-240), 1751-1767 (access code 1.05.04.06, inventory numbers 286-335).

– Schumann, Christian Ludwig (1781) Die Geschichte unsers Herrn und Heilandes Jesus Christi, aus den vier Evangelisten zusammengezogen. Utrecht; MS 617.

– Schumann, Christian Ludwig (1783) Neger-Englishes Wörter-Buch. Moravian archives, Utrecht/Paramaribo; MS 648.

– Herlein, J. D. (1718) Beschrijvinge van de volksplantinge Zuriname : vertonende de opkomst dier zelver Colonie, etc. mitsgaders een vertoog van de Boschgrond, etc. Verrijkt met een landkaart (daar de legginge der Plantagien worden aangewezen) en kopere platen. Leeuwarden : Injema(2e druk). UB, Amsterdam. UBM: 1803 G 11.

– Nepveu, Louis (1762). Sranan version of the Saramaka Peace Treaty. Nationaal Archief, The Hague. Inventaris van de archieven van de Raad van Politie (1669-1680) en de Raad van Politie en Justitie (1680-1683) en het Oud-Archief van het Hof van Politie en Criminele Justitie in Suriname (access code 1.05.10.02, inventory number 66, ff. 177 vo – 183 vo.

– Van Dyk, P. (c1765) Nieuwe en nooit bevoorens geziene onderwyzinge in het Bastert Engels, of Neeger Engels, Zoo als hetzelve in de Hollandsze colonien gebruikt word. Amsterdam: De Erven de Weduwe Jacobus van Egmont. Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden: 1148 H 32.

– Nepveu, Jean or Jan (1770) Annotatien op de Surinaamsche Beschrijvinge van Ao 1718. MS. Municipal Archives, Amsterdam.

– Weygandt, G. C. (1798) Gemeenzaame leerwyze, om het Basterd of Neger-Engelsch op een gemakkelyke wyze te leeren verstaan en spreeken. Paramaribo: W.W. Beeldsnijder. UB, Leiden; 799 E 18.

Abreviations

ACC

accomplishment-denoting verb

ACH

achievement-denoting verb

ACT

activity-denoting verb

BV

Basic Variety

CON

continuative aspect

COP

copula

D

discourse marker

DET

definite determiner

FOC

focus marker

FUT

future marker

GIVE

the serial verb ‘give’

HAB

habitual aspect

IDEO

ideophone

IMPF

imperfective marker

INC

inchoative aspect

LOC

general locational preposition

NEG

negation marker

P

plural

PAST

past time marker

POSS

possessive marker

PRE

presentative marker

PRO

progressive aspect

Q

general question morpheme

REL

relative marker

S

singular

SAY

the serial verb ‘say’

STATE

state-denoting verb

1

first person pronoun

2

second person pronoun

3

third person pronoun

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Notes

1  Note that Smith (2009) and Veenstra (2006) propose a more abrupt scenario that is more in line with a three generational development model.

2  Historical texts for the Maroon Creoles are much less substantial, but due to close similarities between these languages, the Early Sranan corpus can also provide important insights into the development of the Maroon Creoles.

3  The Suriname Creole Archive (SUCA) is a joint project of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Amsterdam and the Max Planck Institute Nijmegen supported by NWO (http://suca.ruhosting.nl, under construction).

4  See abbreviations p. 277.

5  The negation operator is occasionally represented as na in Schumann’s (1783) dictionary and Van Dyk’s (c.1765) language manual. Although these occurrences may just be unintentional spelling errors by the authors, or the type setter in the case of Van Dyk, they remind us of the EMC negation operator . Since both Schumann and Van Dyk include many features that can be associated with the vernacular of the population of African descent, in particular of the enslaved people on the plantations (van den Berg 2007), it may very well be the case that no and na were negation operator variants in some of the plantation varieties of Early Sranan.

6  The only instances in which clausal negation co-occurs with no wan in the sources is when the negated constituent is emphasized by means of placing intonational stress on wan. In Schumann’s (1783) dictionary intonational stress is orthographically marked. In other sources, it can be inferred from the context that wan is stressed.

7  Seuren (1981) was perhaps the first to trace the imperfective aspect marker (d)e to the copula/existential verb de which ultimately derives from the English locative adverb there (Smith 1987). It is being debated whether this process took place in Suriname (Arends 1989; Migge 2002) or elsewhere (Smith 2001), as it could have been imported by enslaved Africans prior to their arrival in Suriname. In Saamaka imperfective aspect is expressed by ta which derives from English stand (tan in the older sources).

8  A semelfactive is a type of verb that is used in reference to an event that happens only once.

9  While the reduplication may give the impression of non-semelfactivity, meki koffokoffo can be used as a semelfactive (‘to give a cough’) as well as a non-semelfactive (‘to be coughing’).

10 Benakeseis a contracted serial verb construction, sen(i) aksi, which roughly translates as ‘to send to ask’. The fi rst verb sen(d)iis misprinted as ben. For a more detailed discussion, see van den Berg (2007) and Arends (1995). The word wenis unknown.

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Table des illustrations

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Légende Cf. note 10
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Bettina Migge et Margot van den Berg, « Creole learner varieties in the past and in the present: implications for Creole development », Acquisition et interaction en langue étrangère [En ligne], Aile... Lia 1 | 2009, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2012, consulté le 16 octobre 2017. URL : http://aile.revues.org/4524

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Auteurs

Margot van den Berg

Radboud University Nijmegen, m.v.d.berg@let.ru.nl

Bettina Migge

University College Dublin, bettinamigge@ucd.ie

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