Chapter 5. On the properties of Saramaccan fu
The form fu (variant u) fulfills several functions. It is a preposition, a mood marker, and a complementizer. Finally, in some contexts, fu appears to function as a case marker. This chapter provides a detailed inventory of all the functions of fu and a detailed description of its properties for each of its functions. It discusses the origin of its properties. First, we consider the grammaticalization scenario proposed in the literature. We argue that this scenario is not an optimal one. Second, we consider a relabeling scenario along the lines of Lefebvre (1998). Indeed, while the form of the Saramaccan lexical entry is derived from English, the bulk of its semantic and syntactic properties are derived from those of corresponding substrate language lexical entries. In this case, however, two substrate lexical entries (nú, preposition and complementizer, and ní, mood marker and complementizer) appear to have been relabeled on the basis of a single superstrate form for, yielding the creole lexical entry fu cumulating all the functions of the two substrate entries. Some details distinguish the creole lexical entry from the two substrate ones. It will be shown that the make up of fu has also involved extension.