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The Upper Guinea origins of Papiamentu

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This paper deals with the linguistic and historical relationships between Papiamentu and Upper Guinea Creole as spoken on the Santiago island of Cape Verde and in Guinea-Bissau and Casamance. In the linguistic section, the hypothesis that Papiamentu is a relexified offshoot of an early Upper Guinea Creole variety is lent support by focusing on the structural correspondences of the function words in five grammatical categories (pronouns, question words, prepositions, conjunctions and reciprocity and reflexivity). In addition, salient data from several early (18th and 19th century) Papiamentu texts is presented. The historical section provides a framework that accounts for the linguistic transfer from Upper Guinea to Curaçao in the second half of the 17th century.
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Keywords: 17th century slave trade; Gorée; Papiamentu; Sephardim; Upper Guinea Creole; first Dutch West India Company; function words; relexification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 10 November 2009

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