- Relative clauses in Suriname creoles and Gbe languages
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- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Two creoles of Suriname, Ndyuka and Saramaccan, are compared with each other and with Western Gbe, Eastern Gbe, and other languages of West Africa with respect to relative clause formation. Relativization strategies are described for the syntactic positions subject, direct object, and indirect object, and the semantic roles benefactive, locative, temporal, comitative, instrumental, comparative, and possessor. Omission of relative markers (rel), headless relatives, and other uses of rel are also compared.
This comparison shows significant differences between the Suriname creoles, principally the presence of number marking on rels in Saramaccan vs. its absence in Ndyuka, and the wider distribution of relative markers derived from interrogative forms in Ndyuka than in Saramaccan. Some of these differences parallel differences between the Western and Eastern Gbe languages examined, strongly indicating a greater Western Gbe influence on relativization in Saramaccan vs. a greater influence of Eastern Gbe in Ndyuka. A brief examination of the non-Gbe Kwa language Akan and the non-Kwa language Kabiye, both of potential relevance to Suriname creoles in terms of extralinguistic history, shows that neither of these resemble the Suriname creoles with regard to relativization nearly as much as the Gbe languages do.
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