Measuring substrate influence

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Word order characteristics of the Ibero-Asian creoles are examined in order to determine the extent of influence of the lexifier and substrate(s) and to correlate this with the strength and extent of lexifier presence in the history of each creole. The design and application of a numerical metric is discussed. The creole most influenced by its substrate is Sri Lanka Portuguese and the least influenced is the creole of Macau. Overall, the degree of substrate influence displays strong negative correlation with the strength of the lexifier presence. Each creole has thus been subject to a “tug-of-war” between lexifier and substrate. Arguably, early Ibero-Asian creoles adopted word order similar to their lexifier and, in weakened lexifier presence allowed former substrates to exert adstrate influence on them.


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