Surviving the Middle Passage: The West Africa-Surinam by Pieter C. Muysken, Norval Smith, Robert Borges

By Pieter C. Muysken, Norval Smith, Robert Borges

The relation among the Surinam Creoles and the languages of West Africa, the place slaves who created the creoles originated, has been hotly debated. This e-book argues that the shut courting will be considered by way of a Trans Atlantic Sprachbund. It brings in new ancient and linguistic facts for a really shut courting among the creoles, the Gbe languages, and Kikongo, the place bilingual practices resulted in new language forms.

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Summary We can conclude that the situation of Surinam is special, amongst the Caribbean colonies, and that its creole languages offer us a unique linguistic test-bed for a number of reasons: – The historical demographic evidence suggests that several African regions were involved as slave-catchment areas in the formative period, which did not result in any particular “substrate” language being involved in the creolization of Sranan or Saramaccan. – What seems to have been the case is that from about 1675 till about 1720 the imported slaves tended more and more to belong to two languagegroups, the closely related Eastern Gbe languages, and Kikongo.

Warren (1667) states that there were already forty to fifty sugar plantations in the mid 1660's, only 15 years after the foundation of the colony. The rapidity of the creation of a sugar-based economy is explained by the fact that Surinam was a secondary colony, 24 Norval Smith principally colonized from Barbados, which had been colonized by the English a generation beforehand in 1627. Arends utilizes the early introduction of a sugar-based economy in Surinam to explain why perhaps “the restructuring of English began relatively early but also that it was perhaps more drastic than in other colonies, which went through longer establishment phases”.

Substrate or adstrate? During the revision of this chapter, my co-editor, Pieter Muysken, drew my attention to the fact that as well as post-creolization linguistic influence from colonial languages (Dutch with regard to Surinam, and English with regard to Jamaican Creole) being regarded as adstrates instead of superstrates (cf. Smith 2009a), that also Kikongo and Gbe influences in the Surinam Creole languages might be regarded as adstratal rather than substratal. The idea of very rapid creolization (Smith 2006) would tend to support this idea (cf.

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