Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session




From the introduction: "Williams (1971) has pointed out some specific resemblances between Krio and the Kwa languages of West Africa with regard to [the above] constructions. The obvious conclusion that one is tempted to draw is an answer to a question about origins, namely, Krio must have aquired this set of syntactic features from the influence of Kwa languages. Whether that is the correct evaluation of the resemblance between Krio and Kwa, however, must be determined by the answers to some other questions, such as the following:

  • How widespread are identical or similar constructions in other [pidgins and creoles]?
  • How widespread are identical or similar constructions in other, 'ordinary,' languages?
  • How exactly do the Krio constructions correspond to those in a given Kwa language or group of Kwa languages?

"Obviously I can't answer all these questions well in this paper. What I want to do is present some relevant data from some creoles spoken across the Atlantic from the Krio area, namely in the country of Surinam (former Dutch Guiana). I hope thereby to lay part of the groundwork for more serious consideration of the questions just raised. Data from creoles and other languages in other parts of the world will also be brought into the discussion, so that we may start to determine the origins of these syntactic patterns -- African or creole or universal."

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